Biotechnology Input Promotion

Biotechnology Inputs Promotion

Recent positive and promising advancements in science, specifically agricultural biotechnology gives a ray of hope to the farming community especially the smallholder resource poor households. Various biotechnology applications have been developed by both public and private sector institutions with the aim of alleviating some of the constraints facing agriculture in Kenya and sub-Saharan Africa at large.

In recognizing the need for Biotechnology applications to leave the laboratories and go to the farmers’ fields where they are to be purposefully applied, ABSF initiated a nation-wide Biotechnology Inputs Promotions Programme (BIPP). This programme enables active interaction between research-extension-farmer activities, including a large scale on farm trial approach for developed agricultural biotechnologies relevant to their immediate needs. The program aims:

  • To create awareness on the existence and benefits of the various agricultural biotechnology applications among the target farmers through establishment of biotechnology field schools.
  • To conduct relevant desk-based appraisals/assessments of the appropriateness of the various agricultural biotechnology applications for the different target beneficiaries.
  • To build the capacity of target beneficiaries in the various agricultural biotechnology applications.
  • To facilitate participatory variety selection by setting up multi-variety based seeing-is-believing demonstration plots among the target communities.
  • To facilitate formation and development of efficient and reliable community based agricultural biotechnology inputs multiplication and distribution systems.
  • To provide input and output marketing information for efficient and reliable sourcing of inputs and marketing of the produce.

Improved access to superior agricultural inputs and technologies is expected to boost food production, enhance food security, reduce poverty and conserve the environment by putting an end to the destructive economic activities practiced by many desperate communities seeking means of survival.
The BIPP programme is split into a number of medium term projects of two to three years each. In some cases and where technically feasible, more than one agricultural biotechnology applications will be promoted under one project. A bundle of crops with similar agro-ecological requirements and farmer interests e.g. some tropical fruits may be promoted jointly to save on resources and enhance efficiency in outreach. This multi-crop approach will however, not apply to crops whose agro-ecological requirements are significantly different such as bananas and rice.

The BIPP programme is, and will continue making good use of the rich data base of information on the agricultural opportunities and needs that prevail in the various rural areas of the country to efficiently target the most relevant sections of the wider society.

ABSF has already launched the BIPP programme with tissue culture bananas in Western Kenya where it is highly demanded. This is a dual purpose crop expected to boost both food security and income generation among the beneficiaries. The BIPP programme will be keen to deliver Bt. cotton and Maize to farmers once their approval for commercialization is granted.