The Kirkhouse Trust is a small charity registered in Scotland. It was founded in 2000 by Professor Sir Ed Southern and has been endowed by gift aid donations from Oxford Gene Technology Ltd, a company based in Oxford, UK also founded by Ed Southern. The Kirkhouse Trust does not fund-raise from other sources. The Trust's administrative office is in Long Hanborough, North Oxfordshire, UK.
The Trust aspires to improve the food security and livelihood of the rural poor in sub-Saharan Africa and India.
They work with local breeders to develop improved legume crops using conventional breeding, enhanced by modern molecular techniques. Within the breeding programmes, they establish laboratories and train scientists to enable them to use molecular markers in their breeding work. The Trust's ultimate objectives are:
to support the production of new varieties of locally important legume crops which mitigate losses from various constraints. For example, resistance to the parasitic weed Striga gesneroides has been successfully introduced into several varieties of cowpea which are being distributed to farmers in Burkina Faso and Nigeria.
to strengthen and promote research skills in areas of the world where local support for science is under-funded.