Three Illinois State University students traveled to Kenya this summer with the purpose of studying the viability of exporting soy or soy-based products from the United States.

The team consisted of two graduate students from the Department of Technology studying project management, Martin Wiser and Emma Gilmore, and one undergraduate student from the Department of Agriculture, Curtis Washburn, studying agricultural economics. The students were accompanied by Adam Burke, an instructional assistant professor in the Department of Technology.

The group was in Kenya from May 31-June 3, in a project partially funded by the Illinois Soybean Association.

While in Kenya, Illinois State’s team mainly focused on the potential use for soy for animal feed, particularly within the aquaculture sector. In Kenya, aquaculture has been used as a government stimulus to increase money and food throughout the country. Wiser, Gilmore, Washburn, and Burke had the opportunity to interview the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Fisheries Development, Dr. Micheni Ntiba, who reports directly to President Kenyatta.

While in Kenya, the group traveled to Chuka to see some tilapia ponds. This helped the group understand how the ponds have been established using government funds, and the benefits that this stimulus has to the people. There has been a considerable shortage of feed for this stimulus plan, which is the exact area of study that Illinois State’s team focused on.

Through this sponsored trip, Illinois State’s team will be able to make recommendations to the Illinois Soybean Association of potential ways to export soy products to Kenya that could benefit the country of Kenya by providing a stable supply of feed, not only to aquaculture, but for poultry and cattle as well. This will help the Illinois Soybean Association through the increase yield in revenue, and could also help Illinois State University through continued funding for travel to developed or developing countries for similar work in the future.