The History And Functions Of Kenya Agricultural Research Institute
The year was 1977 and the East African Community had collapsed. The KARI (Kenya Agricultural Research Institute) was founded by the government as a semi-autonomous institution.
For that, there was an amendment done to the Science and Technology Act Cap 250.
Read on to understand what the reach, the values of creation and the idea behind the most important agricultural organization in the country are.
Once the new institute was created, the government decided it was going to take over the activities of the EAAFRO (East African Agricultural and Forestry Research Organization), the EAAVRO (East African Veterinary Research Organization) and also the Ministries of Livestock Development as well as Agriculture.
After this first moment of growth came a second one in which the KARI took over the KEVEVAPI (Kenyan Veterinary Vaccines Production Institute) and the KETRI (Kenya Trypanosomiasis (also known as Chagas disease) Research Institute.
In 1986, the Government of Kenya acknowledged the challenge that meeting long-term food production represented for the country.
These constraints that prevented the country from this important goal were written in Sessional Paper Number 1 under the name of “Economic management for renewed growth”.
The addition of all the research centers under the command of the KARI was part of the strategy to empower and strengthen it in some kind of an institutional framework that would give it the power and the liberty to manage, consolidate and reorganize effectively all matters related to agriculture and its research within the country.
The Core Values
The first and most important core value for the KARI is the creativity because it seeks to develop the possibilities of Kenya through innovation, in a proactive and effective manner.
Secondly, the ability of achieving a continuum composed by research and development with a strong and complete value-chain to encompass it.
The creation of the KARI itself reflects on the third value that is the commitment to generate an impact.
This is truly a game-changer in terms of effectiveness since the Institute tries to make a transcendental change at a farm level, this means in each of the particular homes and little business.
The fourth value is aimed towards the speed in the response. When the product that is being dealt with has an expiration date such as farming goods, the speed in which this organism reacts to clients, partners, policy makers, collaborators, the producers within the farming community and the staff is crucial to the success of strategies.
Fifth in the order of core values is the effort to bring further technology development to rural areas and increase productivity while making people´s life easier.
The idea with which this core value is written aims to a client-driven development that helps people´s reaction, adoption and appropriateness of the newer technologies.
The sixth value is aimed to team work, cooperation and strategic partnerships that will make the research for development much easier, effective and better.
This links to the seventh value in which the cost-effectiveness is covered. The importance of being efficient when distributing and utilizing the available resources as well as the physical and human ones will define the reach of the institute in the long term.
Eight is another crucial item for success and has to do with human interaction with money and tangible goods.
The importance of both, accountability and transparency when the resources are being used and activities implemented can mean the success or failure of the entire program.
This has a direct impact on ninth value that underlines the word professionalism for all workers involved in the team.
Each individual effort of professionalism and accountability will mean a step closer to success and long-term sustainability.
Strategic Goals & Research Programmes
For KARI, setting strategic goals is crucial to lead the whole region to a new plateau in terms of sustainability, effectiveness and agriculture development.
- The most important goal in terms of development is to integrate crop value chains in order to foster a better commercialization of the agricultural goods and enterprises. The money income from the correct commercialization makes the production chain move and generates agricultural development.
- Second in line is fostering the commercialization of integrated livestock value chains from agricultural enterprises.
- The third strategic goal is completely oriented to sustainability and long-term development to increase the agricultural production of the country. Through an integral management of natural resources needed for agricultural production, long-term sustainability is assured.
- The KARI is in charge to make all the needed institutional arrangements that will lead to an enhanced and concerted action for development. Also, the Institute is in charge of the uptake of technologies and innovations for the entire agricultural sector of Kenya. Embracing technology is crucial for development.
- Finally, the commitment to building the capacity and the competences necessary for an integral agriculture research and development are KARI´s goal too.
- First, the base of feeding, which are carbohydrates that can largely be found on cereals, tuber crops, roots, pulses and legumes. These form the first research program at KARI.
- Second, the industrial as well as horticultural crop research on vegetables, fiber crops, fruits, herbs, flowers and spices. These can be thought of the food flavor as well as vitamins, minerals and protein human life needs.
- Third, the other part of agro that is related with animal derivate production including thorough research on dairy, small ruminants, beef, pigs, poultry, pastures, range and fodder crops. Traditionally, the derivate goods of animal production are overlooked, but for Kari, it is one of the most important research programs along with the animal health fighting livestock diseases.
- The biometrics and socioeconomics for the crop, natural resources and livestock are crucial to maintain sustainability in time. KARI employs an impact assessment, also a priority setting and research in terms of market and policy to assure the chain is not broken.
- The management of land and water is also part of the research programs at KARI and involves water and land management (including soil fertility) through surveys and conservation; a survey on vegetation; and irrigation and drainage of agroforestry. Also, the Institute carries biotechnology research applied to crops and livestock improvement. This research includes the development of vaccines and diagnostic kits needed for livestock.
- Finally, KARI is also in charge of the KASAL (Kenya Arid and Semi-Arid Lands Program) which focuses on the development of site-specific agricultural technology for livestock keepers and farmers of the arid and semi-arid lands of Kenya.