9 November 2018

Kenya: Experts Urge Investment in Research to Inform Agricultural Policies

Nairobi — Agricultural development and science experts in the continent are urging the National and County Governments to invest more in evidence-based research to inform policies in agricultural processes.

African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (Ke-AWARD) Chairperson Nora Ndege noted that this will strengthen research in agricultural sciences and contribute towards poverty eradication through informed polices on food and nutrition security.

She was speaking as she announced the launch of a platform for systematic evidence-based research that could be incorporated into the country's plans to ensure that food and nutrition security efforts bear fruit.

"We thus aim to address research deficits by strengthening mutually beneficial linkages between value chain actors while removing structural and policy barriers through systematic evidence-based research repository at Ke-AWARD," she said during unveiling of the AWARD Kenya offices at the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation Headquarters in Nairobi.

The key objective of Ke-AWARD is to empower communities particularly women through agricultural research and development and school learners through advocacy and promotion of Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) related subjects in schools.

She said her organisation which has 465 fellows from 16 African countries aims to partner with relevant stakeholders to create a repository of evidence on agricultural best practices and reach the rural women to apply these innovations.

Ndege pointed out that 1,158 individuals have benefited from their initiatives.

Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation Deputy Director General Felistus Makini on her part noted that food and nutrition security challenges require proper structured processes to ensure that all stakeholders are incorporated to enhance these processes.

"We need to carefully scrutinize the gender dynamics that incorporates building capacities of both males and females to ensure communities are empowered on food security strategies. Women should aim to be competitive and build their skills to ensure they are elevated into decision making processes. Let's be keen to invest in research that is impact to our communities by ensuring we understand priorities of the various counties," stated Makini.

Nakuru County Executive Committee Member for Agriculture Immaculate Maina urged women scientists to effectively work with counties on innovative technologies in agriculture as agriculture has been completely devolved into the counties.

She noted the importance of women scientists to align their projects with the various County Integrated Development Plans (CIDP) to ensure they are budgeted for whilst reiterating the importance of researchers to understand the budget making processes to ensure they align their projects effectively in the counties.

Maina further urged women scientists to engage in public participation processes in their counties to enhance projects uptake.

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