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Integrating the Conservation of Plant Genetic Resources into National Climate Change Adaptation Planning in Kenya

Agriculture is the mainstay of Kenya’s economy and the growth of the sector is crucial to the country’s overall economic and social development. Unfortunately climate change and variability threaten to worsen the performance of the important agricultural sector in Kenya, thereby increasing food insecurity especially among the very poor. Climate change for Kenya means, inter alia, increased variability and intensity of droughts and floods, more invasive species, and generally higher temperatures. All of these factors will render domestic agriculture less effective at meeting the nutrition needs of the nation. The agriculture sector is currently attempting reform aimed at converting agriculture into a vibrant commercially oriented enterprise. The planning and execution of this reform will have tremendous impact on the future state of PGRFA.

Maintaining a rich diversity of crops along with wild crop relatives will be a critical component of climate change adaptation in the coming years. Yet, the diversity of plant genetic resources is on the decline in Kenya. Traditional crop varieties have been increasingly replaced with elite strains. This trend has been accelerated by climate change, population pressures, and changes in land use, over-exploitation, and appropriate agricultural development policies. A concerted conservation effort of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture is underway in Kenya; but it needs both strengthening and integration with a broader cross-section of government and stakeholders.  ......Read More