Speaking in Nairobi during CIAT’s 45th anniversary celebrations, the Director General Ruben Echeverria observed that policy, infrastructure, and markets are very important in helping fight food insecurity in the world whilst underscoring the role of governments in facilitating research efforts in Africa.
However, the CIAT boss emphasized that successful research is a product of patience and long term investment. “The impacts that you see today are a result of investments in research done 10-20 years ago,” he said.
He reiterated that with proper research it will be possible to alleviate problems that face agricultural production. “We want to continue doing research in the long run focusing on beans, soils, forages, and climate change” said Ruben.
The celebrations were attended by some of the world’s renowned scientists pooled from different parts of Africa, who discussed key issues under the themes of stimulating efforts to attain an African green revolution, sustaining G-8 support to promote investments in the sector with a view to combating poverty, linking farmers to markets, and improving public-private sector collaboration in agricultural development
CIAT was established in 1967 and has had tremendous impact through collaborative research with international and national research institutions in 28 African countries in the areas of beans and integrated soil fertility management.
Assistant Minister of Agriculture Gideon Ndambuki who presided over the function at a Nairobi hotel used the opportunity to allay fears that Kenya’s maize reserves maybe affected downwards even with reports of a strange disease that has wiped corn fields in the Rift Valley.
Ndambuki maintained the country was safe in the context of food security with farmers expecting to harvest upto 30 million bags of maize. “‘We also have reserve maize and beans in our stores. The government is working on a plan that will see storage facilities opened in all the counties especially areas where aflatoxin was found,’ he averred while calling on research institutions in the field of agriculture to help the governments in Africa to achieve their vision of a green revolution on the continent.
“The government is also supplying 30 units of drying equipment to help farmers dry their seeds so that issues of aflatoxin are dealt with once and for all,” said Ndambuki who revealed that the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) has started a warehouse receipt system where farmers are expected to deliver their harvest and where NCPB will continue and do the fumigation, drying and bagging.
Ndambuki added that Kenya is just 2 percent to achieving the Maputo Declaration which stipulates that nations invest at least 10 percent of their national revenue to agriculture.
Ndambuki who represented Agriculture Minister Sally Kosgei hailed CIAT’s efforts to help Kenya and Africa at large towards realizing food security goals through collaborative research which he noted has had great impact in improving food production.