BETTER SCIENCE, BETTER LIVES
The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI),
headquartered in Africa and working in poor countries
worldwide to provide better lives through livestock,
held its Institute Planning Meeting from 4 to 7 Oct 2016.
This is the fourth of a series of blog articles reporting on
plans for ILRI research programs, including ILRI’s
work in west and southern Africa and south, east and southeast Asia.
The Biosciences eastern and central Africa-ILRI Hub (BecA-ILRI Hub) is a shared research platform that is a centre of excellence for biosciences in Africa. The Hub provides African scientists working to reduce major agricultural problems on the continent with advanced bioscience technologies, platforms, services and capacity building.
The two main objectives of the BecA-ILRI Hub are to (1) increase agricultural productivity and improve food and nutritional safety and security, largely through use of new technologies, and (2) educate and train the next generation of African agricultural research leaders and scientists.
Regarding exciting science, in this session we heard that Brachiaria, the ‘wonder’ grass of Africa that has transformed South American pastures, is finally coming home to make a difference to African animal husbandry.
Sita Ghimire, a scientist with the BecA-ILRI Hub,
is passionate about climate-smart Brachiaria grass.
New cultivars of this grass are being developed
with small-scale farmers in participatory ways.
With the Kenya Agricultural Livestock Research
Organization, the Rwanda Agriculture Board,
and groups of small-scale farmers
in those two countries, Ghimire’s team,
working in a ‘climate-smart’ project,
has identified five Brachiaria cultivars
well-adapted to drought and low-fertility soils.
About 5,000 farmers in Kenya and Rwanda
were provided with Brachiaria seeds and
training in how to cultivate this ‘wonder grass’.
Some 5,000 farmers are participating in
this BecA-ILRI Hub Brachiaria project
from northwestern Kenya alone,
indicating involvement of more than
16,000 farmers in the project.
The technology generated by this project
is being up scaled in Kenya and Mali
though the USAID-funded
Feed the Future Program.
—ILRI’s Ben Hack reporting on #ipm2016
View the whole presentation here. For more information, contact the BecA-ILRI Hub director Appolinaire Djikeng, a.djikeng [at] cgiar.org.