The ASAL-APRP implementation committee reviews Project progress and impact

Reported by John Ayemba and Rachael Kisilu (KALRO-Katumani)

Reviewed by Rahab Muinga, Knowledge and Information (KALRO-HQ)

The Arid and Semi-arid lands Agricultural Productivity Research Project (ASAL-APRP) is a 5-year Project (2012-2017) funded by the Government of Kenya and the European Union (EU) under the Kenya Rural Development Programme (KRDP). ASAL-APRP succeeded the Kenya Arid and Semi-Arid Lands Research Programme (KASAL) which was implemented by Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (KALRO) from 2007-2011. It built on the achievements of KASAL and also developed new technologies, information and knowledge suitable for the ASAL areas. The project has four Result Areas (capacity building, food and nutrition, livestock productivity and up-scaling/out-scaling).

The Project Implementation Committee (PIC), an intermediary organ between KALRO and EU, reviewed project activities from 28 to 30 November 2016 at KALRO-Katumani.

The Team was introduced to PIs and briefed on project activities progress and way forward by Rachael Kisilu, the Katumani project coordinator.

Dr Joseph Mureithi, the KALRO Deputy Director (Livestock) and the Team leader explained that the mission of the delegation was to review impact on the ground to explore more areas of collaboration[video (Biegon)] and determine possibilities for continued funding.

The Team comprised of Koech Oscar from the University of Nairobi’s Department of Agriculture, Khalif Abbey and Qalicha Wario from the Kenya Camel Association, Mary Karanja, Blaise Okinyi  and Charles Muchemi from the Ministry of Agriculture, Rose Mutuku from Smart Logistics, and Felister Makini and George Keya from KALRO. They were also accompanied by Jackline Langat and Nancy Wele-Shabaan) from the Project Secretariat. The Team was joined in Katumani by Noah Wawire - the Acting Director, Agricultural Mechanisation Research Institute, Phillip Leley - KALRO-Katumani Centre Director  among others.

The Team visited the Utithini Women Orphan Child Care Group, the farmers’ groups in Ikaasu of Kathonzweni sub-County in Makueni contracted by the Smart Logistics field and the Mbuvo Cassava Commercial Village after the meeting in Katumani. Later, the Team visited the sorghum, cassava, green gram and beans trial sites at Kiboko before winding up with the Kiara Cassava Processing Industry in Machakos.

Unlike in previous visits to Utithini by various KALRO teams, the gallant ladies had a chance to invite the orphans that it takes care of, because they were on holiday. The Team had a rare opportunity of sharing the delicious amaranth-based meals prepared for the children by the ladies. The Team enjoyed the products and had to skip the planned lunch stopover at Machakos. The meal scenario was repeated with sorghum and beans at Ikaasu without the orphans. The final stop at Mbuvo was equally exciting with the articulate Chairman of the Mbuvo Cassava Commercial Village enumerating the huge steps that the group has made from the initial cassava-cuttings and a hammer mill revived by the group through ASAL-APRP, alongside other partners. The group has ventured into various activities including flour milling, bread making, public transport and rental house business. The group is quickly being transformed into a company, complete with directors, dividends and company shares.

At the early maturing green gram trial site at KALRO Kiboko, the Team was informed by Rael Karimi that KALRO is working with seed companies to ensure that seed is available in the 2007 growing season.