GoK enabling research and innovation in agriculture sector

GoK enabling research and innovation in agriculture sector

Read the full update by CAS Ministry of agriculture Annie Nyagah during the launch of the HiPCARK 2020 conference

Earlier today,I officially opened the High Panel Conference on Agricultural Research in Kenya(HiPCARK 2020) forum at Karlo Headquarters.
The agenda of this forum is to explore and suggest policy directions on how research will support the transformation, relevance and growth of the agricultural sector in the country.

To ensure that agriculture continues to play its critical role in socio-economic development, there is need for research to provide insights and innovative technologies for overcoming challenges inherent along the agricultural value chains in order to increase productivity in the context of a changing climate.

The Agricultural Sector Transformation and Growth Strategy 2019-2029 (ASTGS),recognizes that to achieve 100% food and nutrition security, the country needs a commercially vibrant, modern and equitable agricultural sector that supports economic development

The ASTGS flagships endevours to tackle 3 main challenges to ensure the right research, innovation and data is available to guide decision-making:
1.low investment in research and big data and advanced analytics (AA)
2.poor access to useable and shareable data;
3.insufficient demand for quality analysis to support evidence-based decisioning.

To ensure that agriculture continues to play its critical role in socio-economic development, i noted that there was need for research to provide insights and innovative technologies for overcoming challenges along the value chains and increase productivity.

I concluded by aluding to the progress made in modernizing agriculture. I challenged ourselves to do agriculture in a different way, from how we develop policy at the national level, to how we allocate resources in our farming households. Not only will we adopt new ideas under the mandate we have been given, we will be bold in achieving them!

The government has almost finalized the formulation of the National Agriculture Research System Policy  to spur production in the sector towards the realization of  nutrition and food security in the country.

The new Policy framework which awaits national validation  before enactment was  anchored on the Agricultural Sector Transformation and Growth Strategy (ASTGS) 2019-2029 which was tailored to inject fresh impetus  into the government’s efforts to make the country  food secured  under the Big Four Agenda.

Director of Research and innovation, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock Dr. Oscar Magenya in a precursor interview ahead of the  Second-High Panel Conference on Agriculture Research in Kenya (HiPCARK) said the new strategy consists of nine flagship areas that are key in addressing the bottlenecks constraining efforts to realize the food security pillar.

He said the two days conference to be held next week  aims to create an enabling environment for research and innovation under the ASTGS flagship 8 initiative which seeks to streamline the sharing of data among key players in sector to ensure agriculture continued to play a critical role in the social development of the country.

” There is need for research to provide insights and innovative technologies for overcoming challenges  along the value chains and increase productivity in view of the threats posed by the current Covid 19 pandemic, climate change, desert  and locust invasion” he said.

Dr. Magenya  said the National Commission  for Science, Technology and Innovation (NACOSTI) identified research as one of the key priority in re engineering the agricultural sector for better performance and returns.

The Conference whose theme ” contribution of research and innovation in the mitigating the impact of natural disasters in Kenya’s agriculture  and food system” give stakeholders opportunity to brainstorm on the trends, opportunities, solutions and challenges to research for agriculture development in changing climatic regimes.

The forum is also expected to  provide a platform to interdisciplinary exchange of ideas and bridging gaps among various stakeholders in agriculture research, business community , political actors , policy makers and academia with a view to thaw out teething problems in the sector.

The high panel conference (HiPCARK) was mooted in 2018 with the annual Berlin conference as key motivation that seeks to bring leading personalities in the sector under one roof to inspire discussions on demand driven agriculture research  and come up with sound policies and interventions to emerging challenges to food security.

Credits Wangari Ndirangu

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