Kenya Agricultural Research Institute was formed to provide a brighter future for all the population of Kenya. The importance of agriculture in the country´s economy is crucial. There have been many problems in the past (some persist until these days) with the security of having enough food to satisfy the needs of a growing country in terms of population. Kenyans are mostly farmers and the commercialization of the goods that come from the ground is key to maintain the circle of consumption healthy and moving.
One of the main objectives of the KARI is to create a production chain that is both, profitable and a boost for production in a nation-wide spectrum.
Innovation is one of the main tools that the government of Kenya through different organisms is applying to improve productivity and generate a virtuous circle involving producers, consumers, and farmers.
Although it is a mainly small-farmers market, the technological innovations are being distributed through diverse programs that intend to have the broadest reach possible.
Productivity is one of the biggest question marks leading the future of the agricultural sector due to the many risks and challenges it faces.
According to recent studies, if innovations have a positive effect and the productivity echoes them, the country could be producing up to ten times the present production.
Among the many challenges that the agricultural sector suffers is the lack of positive response from the farmers themselves who are not fully supporting the newer technologies being offered to them.
The importance of farmers contribution is not to be overlooked, since all programs directed to them have to be applied to achieve better results in the short and long terms.
Multiple natural hazards as well as obsolete technology have a negative effect on the harvested goods.
If the land is not performing the way that farmers and government need, the country is in risk of not assuring enough food for all the population.
This is nothing short from catastrophic and could have an adverse repercussion in the future of the whole country´s population.
Some of the challenges that Kenya faces are not only theirs but apply to the rest of the world like global warming and the increasing drought that can damage up to 80% of the crops in a harvest. The importance of changing customs and current mind sets to adapt to a new era.
In Kenya, global warming might have even more extremely devastating results like the transformation of semi-arid into arid zones. This transformation could endanger seriously the future of the population of Kenya.
When a soil is no longer capable of producing, it becomes lost not only for the farmers, but for all the country that benefits from the food it produces. The decrease in rainfall is a fact and KARI has a project underway to combat its devastating effects by replacing it with irrigation.
It is not an easy task to perform, but along with educating farmers about crop rotation and soil preservation, it could make a huge difference in the long term to maintain the fertility of soil and even gain new terrain to plant different breeds by turning arid soil into semi-arid through artificial irrigation.
Also, KARI is involved in broadening the variety of plants being planted as well as the quality of the seeds.
The engineering behind the correct seeds is crucial to obtain bigger yields and more productive crops.
In fact, some of the biggest efforts of the Kenyan government are directly linked to providing better quality seeds that have been selected for being more resistant to certain adversities such as droughts or common pests.
For example, the improvements made on maize seeds could open the door to having bigger crops with more certain results.
Also, the improvement of the sweet potato circuit of production and consumption, including two processing companies, could lead to a more prosper future for the population that adopts this as part of their regular diet.