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“It is all about linking theory to practice” – new AgriFoSe2030 visiting researcher aims to make her research matter for policy

Published: 21 November 2016
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Jane Mutheu Mutune is a lecturer at University of Nairobi at the Wangari Maathai Institute for Peace and Environmental Studies but is now taking a break to come to Sweden for a few months.

Tell us briefly who you are? What is your background? What are your research areas?

In fact, I have completed all my studies at the University of Nairobi. I have a Doctorate Degree in Environmental Governance and Management and a Master of Science Degree in Agricultural Economics and Bachelor of Science Degree in Agriculture. My areas of research interest include rural livelihoods, forest governance, food security and policies, climate change and agriculture. Importantly I am passionate about environmental issues because our environment is the base of all agricultural, economic and social undertakings.

Jane Mutheu and a farmer during data collection in Mau forest Complex, Eburu forest.

How will you engage in the AgriFoSe2030 programme?

My key mandate in AgriFoSe2030 is to reproduce syntheses in a format that can be used to support policy and improve practices. I will be doing literature reviews, in the area of gender- and generational aspects of sustainable intensification in Kenya.

What are your expectations of the AgriFoSe2030 programme? What do you think makes the programme important, and why and to whom does it matter?

Today the ongoing climate challenge, political instability, deforestation, poor governance and large-scale land acquisition in Africa are all contributing to long-term food insecurity that affects millions across the continent. Thus my expectation is to link theory with practice i.e. undertake research that will result in operationalization of food security-based policies. I expect to conduct research that will ultimately contribute to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals 1 (no poverty) and 2 (zero hunger). I wish to identify some of the social, economic and environmental factors contributing to the never-ending issue of food insecurity particularly among women and youth.

The AgriFoSe2030 programme is important because research informs policies that in return inform laws. We will struggle to achieve food security without supportive legislative frameworks for instance on issues of land tenure for women and youth. Supportive policies and laws improve confidence and security for agricultural producers. To this end, I think AgriFoSe2030 is very timely particularly since we so recently signed Agenda2030.

Jane Mutheu with community members during rehabilitation of the Sururu Forest in Eastern au Forest Reserve, Kenya.

Tell us one thing that you are passionate about related to food security and sustainable agriculture?

 I’m really passionate about the socio-ecological production landscapes (SEPL). The SEPL refer to areas with dynamic mosaics of habitat and land use where harmonious interaction between people and nature maintains biodiversity while providing human beings with goods and services needed for their livelihood and well being. The SEPL systems in Africa constitute of agroforestry practices, which sustainably improves land productivity leading to improved livelihoods and environmental benefits. 

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