Kari plans research centre in Turkana to boost farming farming
Posted Sunday, August 12 2012 at 16:23
The Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (Kari) is set to open a centre in Turkana as it seeks to boost farming in the drought-stricken area.
The centre will focus on new technologies that will spur commercial farming of crops and fish, Kari director Ephraim Mukisira said.
“We are working with partners like the Kenya Forestry Research Institute to establish this centre,” says Mr Mukisira.
“By mid this month we will have facilities and officers in place to enable its take off.”
Turkana has good weather conditions for farming as it enables crops to mature faster so long as there is water, Kari officials said.
The Kari Turkana centre comes at a time when Japan has set aside money to empower women in marginalised areas through a new project called Accelerating Rural Women Access to Agricultural Markets and Trade.
Japan has partnered with the World Bank and the Grassroots Organisations Operating Together in Sisterhood (Groots) to roll out the project in Kitui and Molo and with plans to extend it to other parts of Kenya.
“This project seeks to organise women from marginalised parts of Kenya to work collectively in agriculture to enhance their business opportunities,” says Esther Mwaura, Groots Kenya national co-ordinator.
“It hopes to give women a share in agribusiness by encouraging them to own assets, access to microfinance institutions and educationg them on how to negotiate for good prices,” Ms Mwaura said.
With a grant of $3 million (Sh255 million), the project is to initially reach out to 3,400 farmers .
“Kenyan farmers are very hard working but they are let down by lack of technologies such as irrigation,” says Mary Kamau, the director of agriculture in charge of extension.
“ Kenya has success stories such as being a center of excellence in daily farming in East Africa.”
New farming technologies and discovery of oil in Turkana is expected to lift many residents from poverty and open up the region for more investments.