ICRAF-Kenya hosts CGIAR site integration workshop
A two-day stakeholders’ consultation on CGIAR site integration in Kenya recognized the strides achieved so far and called for greater collaboration among CGIAR centres and stakeholders in the country.
The consultation, held on 10-11 March 2016 at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) campus in Nairobi, was hosted by Jonathan Muriuki, the ICRAF-Kenya Country Coordinator.
Nearly 50 participants drawn from government ministries, national agricultural research institutes, universities, NGOs, the donor community, private sector and farmers’ associations, and CGIAR centres deliberated on key areas of integration and collaboration mechanisms for mutual benefit.
An official statement by the Principal Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Agriculture, department of Livestock, Andrew Tuimur was read by the Director of Livestock, James Tendwa. The PS acknowledged that Kenya has greatly benefited from the continued efforts of CGIAR to transform ecosystems through adopting collective approaches to address issues related to agriculture and natural resource management.
Kenya benefitting from CGIAR activities
“Kenya has, and continues to reap numerous benefits from research being conducted by CGIAR centres in collaboration with the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) and its predecessors, local universities, other public agencies, the private sector and farmers. It is through such partnerships that critical evidence for informing policy-making for enhanced agricultural productivity has been achieved,” stated Tuimur.
KALRO Director General, Eliud Kireger, appreciated the long standing relationship between the CGIAR system and KALRO, previously KARI. He mentioned “KARI’s collaboration with CIMMYT on maize and wheat research; ICARDA on wheat and small ruminants; IITA on banana, cassava and maize; ICRISAT on drought tolerant crops (sorghum, pigeon peas, millet) and groundnuts; IRRI on rice; Africa Rice Centre; CIAT on beans, soybeans and NRM; CIP on potato and sweet potato; ICRAF on building small holder communities’ resilience and food and nutrition security, and ILRI on vaccine development” .
Speaking on behalf of the CGIAR consortium, ICRAF Director General Tony Simons termed the meeting as timely and noted the need for the CGIAR to realign her operations based on the changing needs and emerging opportunities. He explained that by working together, organizations can reduce costs, enhance service delivery and reach more beneficiaries.
Under the 2nd phase of CGIAR research agenda driven by the 2016 – 2030 strategy and results framework, site integration bringing together CGIAR centres and programmes in a country will initially be undertaken in 20 countries, including Kenya. This activity is geared towards strengthening coordination and collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders.
Simons also lauded the close ties that have been maintained between CGIAR and Kenya saying “Kenya not only hosts the global headquarters of two CGIAR centres but also offices of eight others. This makes her the country with highest concentration of CGIAR scientists and calls for elaborate optimization of skills and resources.”
Mainstreaming research in development
Conversations at the workshop centred on priority areas for the government–CGIAR collaboration, integrating efforts already in progress, developing frameworks to align CGIAR priorities and the Kenyan development blueprint, and establishing mechanisms for operationalizing the integration process.
In his remarks, Dr. Moses Rugutt, Director General of the National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation (NACOSTI) observed the pivotal role played by research in national development and reaffirmed his commitment to supporting the CGIAR site integration.
CGIAR impact in Kenya
Speaking on behalf of CGIAR centres working in Kenya, Stephen Mugo, CIMMYT–Africa Regional Representative, said significant milestones had been achieved through agricultural research in Kenya, including improved infrastructure for research and development, innovations in the livestock sector, human capacity development, value addition and markets, policy formulation and improved crop management practices, among others. He named several of these.
“So far, CGIAR innovations have benefited the livestock sector where 100,000 smallholder dairy farmers are now using fodder trees as feed supplements, supported by over 2000 volunteer farmer trainers. We have also produced a vaccine against East Coast Fever, with more than one million animals already vaccinated. We have established a Rural Resource Centre (RRC) in Machakos to equip farmers with necessary agroforestry skills. And our partnership with KALRO has enabled us to establish a manufacturing facility for Aflasafe (a product that reduces aflatoxin contamination in cereals) at KALRO Katumani research station,” stated Mugo.
“Aligning government and CGIAR efforts could greatly reduce the cost of research and extension in Kenya,” stated Fredah Wanzala, Head of Horticulture Department at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.
A total of 20 countries have been selected to serve as pilot sites for the implementation of the CGIAR site integration. In Africa, similar processes have been undertaken in Nigeria, Tanzania and Ethiopia, among other countries.
By Danyell Odhiambo, ICRAF-Kenya
CGIAR is the only worldwide partnership addressing agricultural research for development, whose work contributes to the global effort to tackle poverty, hunger and major nutrition imbalances, and environmental degradation.
It is carried out by 15 Centers, that are members of the CGIAR Consortium, in close collaboration with hundreds of partners, including national and regional research institutes, civil society organizations, academia, development organizations and the private sector.
For more information, visit http://www.cgiar.org/