There is need to identify effective and efficient ways of increasing the use of evidence based research in agricultural decision making to improve agricultural productivity and service delivery. This is according to Principal Secretary in-charge of Agriculture Research, Prof. Hamadi Boga.
“Research will play a vital role in the achievement of the four pillars of development spearheaded by President Uhuru Kenyatta, especially the pillar on food security and nutrition,” elucidated Prof. Boga.
The PS was speaking, March 14, 2018 at JKUAT, when he attended the 5th HORTINLEA annual forum that brings together researchers, small holder farmers, industry players, policy, and decision makers in agriculture, particularly the African Indigenous Vegetables value chain.
Prof. Boga acknowledged that although there have been extensive deliberations on agricultural research there has been a dearth of evidence-based research in decision making, citing the recent maize shortage that plagued the country.
He encouraged academia especially the researchers to engage the government and share their ideas and innovations to help the government make informed decisions thus improving the livelihoods of the citizens and enhance the economic growth of the country.
“I intend to establish an agricultural research agenda to enhance a research culture in the country that will inform agricultural policies. With the help of academia, it is my hope that we can attract the youth to pick up farming as a viable economic venture hence improving their socio-economic status,” said the Principal Secretary.
Welcoming the PS to JKUAT, Vice Chancellor, Prof. Mabel Imbuga, assured Prof. Boga of the University’s support and collaboration with the ministry particularly in the fight against food and nutrition insecurity in the country. She informed the PS that research is key towards efforts aimed at changing the attitude of Kenyans, and alluded to the uptake of African Indigenous Vegetables and edible insects that provide an alternative solutions to food and nutrition security.
The Coordinator of HORTINLEA Project, Prof. Wolfgang Boklemann informed the meeting that the overall goal of HORTINLEA is to significantly improve the livelihood and nutrition status of the rural and urban poor through sustainable capacity building in research.
“This initiative is an engine for economic growth, contributing to biodiversity of agricultural production system, offering entrepreneurial opportunities for the youth and women of the region,” opined Prof Boklemann.
The week-long stakeholder forum comes to an end on Friday, March 16, 2018.