Knowledge for a sustainable world

BSc, MSc, MPH, PhD

Dr Joshua Wesana has a background in Nutrition and holds a PhD in Food Science and Nutrition from Ghent University, Belgium. His PhD focused on nutrition sensitive approaches and specifically took on a stakeholder-based view of utilizing agri-food value chains for nutrition benefits, with a focus on assessment and reduction of food and nutritional losses. This research used the cross-cutting operations management theory of Lean and applied it in the agri-food (dairy) sector to improve efficiency and eliminate waste and loss. Before his PhD, Joshua pursued two Master degrees in – Human Nutrition at Ghent University (Belgium) and Public Health Epidemiology at Karolinska Institute (Sweden). During this time, his research mainly focused on adoption and consumption of biofortified foods. This work contributed greatly to on-going collation of scientific evidence by the WHO to develop guidelines to use biofortification as a public health strategy.   

During and after his PhD, he also worked as a manager/deputy-coordinator of various agri-food based research and capacity building programs and projects in Uganda and Kenya. Notably, since 2015, he was program manager for a long-term institutional collaboration between Mountains of the Moon University (Uganda) and Ghent University (Belgium), overseeing two projects targeting improved food security by promoting interventions in the fish and dairy value chains. He has also developed and managed individual action research projects in Uganda and Kenya on; food losses among farmers, agronomic iodine biofortification, insects-based complementary foods, fish farmer business development and aquaculture education development.

Joshua’s interdisciplinary research interest continues to be on food systems and the impact on food and nutrition security, particularly in developing countries. He therefore joined Natural Resources Institute in June 2020 as a Senior Fellow in Fish and Food Systems (Nutritional Outcomes), initially working, in collaboration with WorldFish and other partners on the CGIAR Research Program on Fish, to amplify the role fish plays in sub-Saharan African food systems and mitigate food and nutrition insecurity among the most vulnerable populations.

  • Keen to advance nutritional knowledge that can lead to policy change to benefit people mostly in locations with the greatest nutrient deficiencies.
  • Interested in nutrition-sensitive approaches that mainly lead to improved nutritional outcomes.
  • Research taking on a sustainable food systems perspective, particularly along fish value chains, while considering other dimensions like food environments, consumer behaviour and external drivers. Assessment of Post-Harvest losses along fish value chains, including nutritional losses and how these can be mitigated for better nutritional outcomes. Also building evidence on product development, access and consumption of nutrient-rich foods such as fish products among vulnerable, poor and rural sub-populations including women and children.
  1. VLIR-UOS Institutional University Cooperation with Mountains of the Moon University (2013-2022) - 8 million Euros. Action research to promote food security in Aquaculture & Dairy  value chains (Phase 1 & 2) 
  1. TEAM VLIR-UOS project with Gulu University (2016-2020) - 272.795 Euros. Agronomic biofortification to improve iodine intake in Northern Uganda: a stakeholder based intervention   
  1. South Initiative VLIR-OUS project with Mountains of the Moon University (2017-2018) - 74.923 Euros. Strengthening business practices of small scale fish farmers in Rwenzori Region, Uganda
  1. TEAM VLIR-UOS project with Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (2017-2019) – 299.874 Euros. Building a strategic framework for aquaculture education in Kenya
  1. South Initiative VLIR-OUS project with Mountains of the Moon University (2018-2019) - 69.996 Euros. Reinforcing family farmer capacity to improve crop storage and reduce food losses in Rwenzori region
  1. Special research project Grant – Ghent University (2015-2019) - 111.000 Euros. Reinforcement of agriculture-nutrition linkages in value chains as a means for enhanced socio-economic development of the dairy sector in Uganda
  1. TEAM VLIR-UOS project with Kenyatta University (2019-2022) - 279.926 Euros. Insects for Nutrition and Health: Development and Evaluation of Insect-based Complementary Foods for Children in west Kenya
  • STFC Food Network, UK – Champion for Africa from 2020
  • European Association of Agricultural Economics – Member, 2016-2019
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