Professor Ruth Oniang’o is an outstanding African woman. She is a leading academic expert in Food Security and Nutrition with a record of influencing government policies and training numerous young professionals in this field. As a leading academic she founded and edited the African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development (AJFAND). It is the premier peer-reviewed journal on agricultural development in Africa.
She is a strong believer the forefront of debate when it comes to matters of agricultural research, food and nutrition security and in restoring Africa’s dignity by ensuring a Green Revolution for Africa.
She is a committed activist, the founder and first Executive Director of Rural Outreach Program (ROP), a not- for- profit community development organization with the goal was of harnessing the intellectual resource of the university, connect it with the various capacities within communities to try and improve rural poor people’s livelihoods. She has literally transformed the lives of many rural poor families in the Butere-Mumias district of western Kenya and the environs
As a leading politician in Parliament, she found herself in a better position to address policy issues related to food security and poverty. For example, she supported a Bill to professionalize Nutritionists and Dieticians, brought in a Bill to address drought and famine and supported the exploitation of modern technologies including biotechnology by African scientists and policy makers.
Throughout her life, she has championed the cause of the youth, the poor and the women in her country and throughout Africa.
From 1978-1990 Professor Ruth Khasaya Oniang’o, PhD was a distinguished academic at Jomo Kenyatta University in Nairobi, Kenya becoming Professor of Food Science and Nutrition, becoming the first Nutrition professor in Kenya and probably the first woman Nutrition professor in the whole of sub-Saharan Africa. She has influenced the development of Nutrition training, research, development and discourse in much of Africa and has participated in consultations and on committees at the international level whose decisions have shaped global food security and nutrition. Her grasp of African food and Nutrition issues often enabled her to be Africa’s voice at many international fora such as the World Nutrition Conference in 1992 and the World Food Summit in 1996.
On leave of absence from the university, from 2003 – 2007, she was a member of Kenya’s 9th parliament having been nominated by the official opposition Party KANU (Kenya African National Union). As a member of parliament, she found herself in a better position to address policy issues related to food security and poverty. For example, she supported a Bill to professionalize Nutritionists and Dieticians, brought in a Bill to address drought and famine and supported the exploitation of modern technologies including biotechnology by African scientists and policy makers. She is keen to see a green revolution for Africa while she is still alive and as a Board member of IFDC, she helped to spearhead the implementation of the Abuja Fertilizer summit of June 2006 resolutions by African countries and regional research organizations. She was also been appointed to presidential commissions in her country on the review of laws affecting women and children (1995), financing of university education (1995), poverty eradication (1999-2002) and Egerton University Council (1993-2002). the forefront of debate when it comes to matters of agricultural research, food and nutrition security.
She continues to edit the African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development (AJFAND) which she founded some six years ago. It is the premier peer-reviewed Journal on agriculture in Africa. It provides an avenue for publishing scholarly works by Africans and of interest to Africa in the areas of food, agriculture, nutrition and development and to serve as a capacity building effort for the young academics from across the globe.