KENYA – The Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) has urged seed companies to commercialize developed new crop varieties in a bid to enhance agricultural productivity and resilience against climate change and pests.

The announcement was made during the organization’s Second Strategic Plan 2023/24 – 2027/28 official launch on April 17 at KALRO Headquarters.

Eliud Kireger, the Director-General of KALRO, urged private sector participation in commercializing innovative agricultural technologies developed by KALRO.

Kireger specifically invited the Seed Traders Association of Kenya to explore KALRO’s new offerings, including a range of rice varieties poised for commercialization.

Our mission at KALRO is to innovate and develop superior crop varieties, while the private sector plays a crucial role in multiplying and delivering these to farmers,” explained Kireger.

KALRO’s second Strategic Plan is focused on bolstering crop and livestock productivity, advancing sustainable agricultural practices, and harnessing biotechnology for comprehensive agricultural development.

The plan also prioritizes knowledge dissemination, training centres, and county-level innovation networks for crop and livestock development.

In his remarks, Dr. Paul Ronoh, Principal Secretary for Agriculture commended KALRO for its pivotal role in agricultural research, highlighting its significance not only within Kenya but across Africa.

Dr. Ronoh emphasized the importance of developing high-quality seeds adaptable to diverse climatic conditions and capable of mitigating the impact of pests and diseases on crop yields.

“As we progress, we are seeking optimal seed varieties and robust food production systems. We rely on KALRO to lead in producing superior seeds across all agricultural value chains, ensuring resilience and sustainability in our food production,” remarked Dr. Ronoh.

Key initiatives outlined in the plan include conducting market research, defining research priorities, and enhancing human resources and infrastructure.

The plan requires KES 55 billion  (US$ 408M) for implementation, with funding expected from various sources, including government grants, development partnerships, and private-sector collaborations.

During the event, KALRO unveiled its recent achievements such as the development and release of 109 crop varieties, commercialization of 47 strains, distribution of 69 million clean planting materials, and production of over 9,470 metric tons of certified seeds.

The research giant has also developed 250 crop protection technologies and empowered farmers with climate-smart practices.

Moving forward, KALRO remains committed to driving agricultural innovation, fostering partnerships, and equipping Kenya’s agricultural sector with cutting-edge technologies to enhance productivity, sustainability, and resilience.

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