Circular Bioeconomy for the Kenyan Dairy Sector

Project summary

The idea of circular bioeconomy (CBE) is gaining broad interest as global environmental challenges become monumental and demand a shift from linear production-consumption models to circular models. CBE is particularly relevant for lower-middle income countries (LMICs) because the increasing demand for bio-feedstock creates opportunities to diversify agricultural-based economies while delivering on several SDGs.

There is a rich academic literature on CBE in industrialised countries, but little research has been done in LMICs. This project fills this knowledge gap by studying the application of the circular economy (CE) principles, i.e., prevention, reuse, recycling, recovery and disposal, in the growing and modernizing dairy industry in Kenya. We analyse the causal properties of dairies, and the systems they are part of, in order to explore the possibilities for applying CE principles to dairy sidestreams such as whey and discarded milk.

The project objectives are: i) to produce an integrated and comprehensive understanding of CBE potential and dynamics in LMICs with a focus on milk-processing; ii) to create a foundation of bioeconomic knowledge on which Kenyan dairy-industry stakeholders can act in applying biocircular principles to facilitate sustainable growth pathways; iii) to increase the capacity to conduct research on CBE in LMICs. We take a transdisciplinary approach, drawing on the social, natural and technical sciences and integrating practitioner perspectives. The novelty consists of an integrated and comprehensive analysis of food processors’ conditions for experimenting with and developing new sidestream valorisation solutions.

The project will contribute to the knowledge, technologies, business models, and regulations needed to develop a dairy CBE in Kenya. This should stimulate innovation, attract investments, and create new partnerships to enhance dairy sidestream valorisation and address SDGs.

Go back to all projects