Capacity building in agriculture is done using informal methods which in most cases depend on the community. A participatory study was initiated by Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology to train farmers on value addition and utilization of orange fleshed sweet potatoes among small scale farmers. This was an outreach initiative to bring the farming community closer to the University. The teaching and training was to empower the community and most specially the vulnerable groups; i.e., children less than five years, expectant mothers, the elderly and the HIV/AIDs infected and affected. Five sub-locations in Lurambi division of Kakamega County were selected for the study. The objective of the study was to harness common foods available in the study area. The local leaders were identified and trained on production, harvesting, storage, processing and value addition of the Orange Fleshed Sweet potatoes, Fish and the Local green Leafy Indigenous Vegetables. The local leaders in turn mobilized their respective community members for the practical demonstrations on value addition. The study sampled one hundred (100) small scale farmers and administered questionnaires through interviewed schedule to assess their understanding of the foods in the study. The results from the study showed that (53%) of the sampled farmers had farm sizes below 0.5 ha. of which (64%) planted other types of sweet potatoes but not necessary the orange fleshed sweet potatoes. About (72%) lacked information on orange fleshed sweet potatoes. The study also showed that 85% of the farmers did not consume fish. The farmer’s level of education was of concern in that (60%) were of primary level. The success of this project was judged by the University’s ability to influence and benefit the communities living in surrounding environment by using its inherent wealth of scholars, research outputs, and outreach extension services which is offered through well coordinated programmes.
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RUFORUM Working document series