CIAT launches its annual review meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, next week, with a keynote address from Dr. Namanga Ngongi, President of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).
The event, held for the first time on African soil – will see senior scientists from CIAT’s headquarters in Colombia, and regional office in Southeast Asia, join their colleagues in Africa to discuss progress made in their efforts of developing and promoting sustainable, or “eco-efficient” agriculture targeted at improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers.
CIAT’s work in Africa mainly revolves around two thematic areas that touch the lives of millions of farmers in 28 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The work focuses on technologies that improve bean varieties in including work on soil fertility enhancement, with several revolutionary outputs to show. These include:
- Development and release of climbing bean varieties in Eastern Africa that yield up to three times the bush beans.
- Ensuring farmers access seed through the use of small seed packs, benefiting over 7 million households in the continent.
- Developing bean varieties rich in protein, zinc and iron, which serve as “poor man’s meat”.
- Doubling the productivity of soy bean from 1.5 to 3 tons per hectare, rich in proteins and omega-3 fatty acids.
- Producing approximately 2000 tons of soy beans in 2011-2012, which would inject Kshs. 60 million (USD 750,000) into the economy of Western Kenya farmers through sales to manufacturer SOSSI Tasty Soya Pieces , by Promasidor (Kenya) Ltd of Nairobi.
- Streamlining the use of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in banana production, which has shown to increase banana yields by up to 400% in Rwanda.
- Increasing maize grain yields by 20% when using a combination of mineral fertilizers, improved seed and organic manure compared to yields obtained by only using NPK fertilizers in Siaya County, Western Kenya which is approximately 5 tons per hectare.
- Generating technologies that use bacteria to double maize and soybean yields when combined with mineral fertilizers and fungi to control diseases and nematodes in crops.
In addition to showcasing these brilliant results, the two-day event will feature presentations on the highlights from each of CIAT’s research programs, including the Center’s key crops (beans, rice, cassava, tropical forages and tropical fruits) together with its pioneering work in soil science, gender, climate change and capacity strengthening.
CIAT’s Director-General Ruben Echeverría said: “We are delighted to be in Africa for this pioneering regional meeting. It paves the way for such conventions in future.
“In addition, having our regional partners such as AGRA and some of our Donors like the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) in attendance not only emphasizes the strength of our regional ties, but also the importance of a shared vision that can make Africa an agricultural hub to realize its green revolution like that of Asia.”