New facilities inaugurated in Kenya to aid agriculture in East Africa

Felix Koskei, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture, unveils the plaque of the Doubled Haploid Facility in Kiboko, Makueni County. Looking on is Bodduppali Prasanna, director of CIMMYT’s Global Maize Program (Left), Thomas Lumpkin, director general of CIMMYT and Ruth Kyatha from the Makueni County Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture.  Photo: Florence Sipalla

Felix Koskei, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture, unveils the plaque of the Doubled Haploid Facility in Kiboko, Makueni County. Looking on is Bodduppali Prasanna, director of CIMMYT’s Global Maize Program (Left), Thomas Lumpkin, director general of CIMMYT and Ruth Kyatha from the Makueni County Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture. Photo: Wandera Ojanji

CIMMYT, in partnership with the Kenyan Agricultural Research Institute (KARI), established two major maize facilities in Kenya last week. The Maize Doubled-Haploid Facility for Africa at KARI-Kiboko aims to accelerate the development of stress-resilient and nutritionally-improved maize varieties while the Maize Lethal Necrosis Screening Facility at KARI-Naivasha will focus on tackling deadly maize lethal necrosis (MLN).

Gender in maize research

Gender specialist Vongai Kandiwa discussing gender work at CIMMYT and the importance of agricultural scientists taking up gender issues which have tremendous impact on the way people practice agriculture.

New doubled haploid facility will strengthen maize breeding in Africa

CIMMYT’s Global Maize Program will establish and operate a maize doubled haploid (DH) facility in Kiboko, Kenya. With financial support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, this centralized DH facility will be able to produce at least 100,000 DH lines per year by 2016, thus strengthening maize breeding programs in Africa and improving breeding efficiency. The DH technology will reduce the cost and time for breeding work as it enables rapid development of homozygous maize lines and fast-tracking development and release of elite maize varieties. The facility will be built at the Kiboko Experimental Station on 20 hectares of land provided by the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI). The Maize DHAfrica Project will both establish the facility and refine the DH technology in collaboration with the University of Hohenheim, Germany.

Impressive adoption of metal silos in western Kenya

metal silos1“When Richard Pamo, the then Caritas Development Coordinator [Homa Bay] introduced the metal silo technology to me in 2008, I felt I had received the solution to my perennial problems of storing my grains, particularly maize that was prone to weevil attack,” said Bishop Philip Anyolo of the Catholic Diocese of Homa Bay, Kenya, to a visiting team from the Effective Grain Storage for Sustainable Livelihoods of African Farmers Project (EGSP-II). “I instantly ordered two silos, of 1- and 1.8-ton capacity. And I have never been disappointed. I was so satisfied with the ability of the metal silos to protect my maize against weevils that I acquired another 720-kg capacity metal silo for my mother in 2009.”