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Horticultural and Industrial Crops Research
The programme conducts priority research in horticultural Crops (flowers, fruits, vegetables and potatoes) and Industrial crops (pyretrum, cotton and oil crops). The horticultural sub-sector in Kenya plays a major role in meeting domestic needs for food, the generation of income and foreign exchange and creation of employment. An estimated 1.8 million people are employed in the sub-sector. Since small-scale growers constitute 80% of the horticultural producers, this sub-sector plays an important role in the alleviation of poverty by providing higher incomes to small-scale farmers who constitute 75% of Kenya's farming population. It is noteworthy that only 4% of the horticultural produce is exported while the bulk is consumed in country thus contributing to a balanced diet for the growing population.
Appropriate/superior horticultural crop production technologies and knowledge to sustainably enhance incomes of rural people developed, validated and usage catalysed.
Development and validation of profitable horticultural and Industrial crop production technologies and their usage catalysed.
- Horticultural and Industrial crop varieties with desirable characteristics bred, validated and adoption catalysed.
- Agronomic/crop management technologies for profitable horticultural and Industrial crops developed, validated and adoption catalysed.
- Appropriate and profitable crop protection technologies for the management of biotic factors in horticultural and Industrial crops (diseases, pests and weeds) developed, tested and validated and adoption catalysed.
- Suitable and profitable post harvest technologies for horticultural and Industrial crops developed, tested and validated and adoption catalysed.
- Marketing information on horticultural crops compiled, assessed, disseminated and used to enhance profitability of the enterprises.
- Networking between KARI centres involved in horticultural and Industrial crops research activities initiated, promoted and fostered.
- Collaborative networks with ASARECA, IARCs, NGOs, extension service and private sector strengthened and monitored.
New policies under WTO and changes in Kenya's status regarding its main partner countries concerning horticultural exports will affect the sector and there is need for KARI to collaborate with the stakeholders for better policies and conditions for Kenyan horticultural farmers, particularly the smallholders. KARI will take special interest in the process of production and post harvest handling of horticulture crops to assist the farmers to meet the stringent product quality requirements in the export markets. Breeding and introduction of improved varieties with resistance/tolerance to a number of economically important diseases and pests remain a challenge for the horticultural sector including potato production. IPM will be further pursued and strategic partnerships with IARCs and the private sector maintained and intensified. Collaboration with KARI's biotechnology programme, the IARCs and other international research organisations on biotechnology will be intensified, especially in horticultural crop breeding. Horticultural scientists will endeavour to develop profitable, efficient and low input horticultural technologies in order to enhance the rate of return to production investments. Linkages will be fostered and collaboration strengthened with other stakeholders to scale up improved small-scale irrigation technologies for the sub-sector. Business opportunities for KARI in terms of service delivery at cost will be increasingly utilised to establish sustainable funding sources for the Institute's research programmes.