On going activities
a) Delivering Genetic Gain in wheat (DGGW) project
KALRO has established vital linkages with local and international partners through DGGW project to find solutions to prevailing wheat rust problems. The Centre hosts the international wheat rust phenotyping facility, one of its kind, where hundreds of thousands of global wheats have been tested for rust resistance and suitable types deployed in the variety development pipelines both locally and in global programs.
The engagement makes KALRO Njoro Centre a vital node in the international wheat variety improvement effort, with the shuttle breeding model between KALRO Njoro and CIMMYT Mexico, being a celebrated example.
The DGGW project at KALRO Njoro also supports disease survey, rust sample collection, and pathotyping. Information generated therein is used to advise farmers on proper management of the rust diseases and choice of the right variety to grow. In addition, surveys and monitoring of potential alternate hosts in the wheat growing areas is ongoing under DGGW in order to inform present and future variety development and deployment.
Figure: Shuttle breeding model
b) Pesticides efficacy research
This activity is geared at identifying suitable pesticide products for control of wheat pests and diseases and recommending those for commercial use.
c) Fall Army Worm
Considering the threat posed by this pest to various crops, research is geared at identifying suitable management using synthetic insecticides, specifically profiling the chemistries and modes of action of those available in the market. In the same vein, research is on-going to assess different maize varieties for tolerance to FAW infestation under severe pressure.
d) Centre of Excellence in conservation agriculture
KALRO Njoro is in the process of building up a one stop training and resource centre for conservation of agriculture. This is a collaborative effort with African conservation Tillage Network (ACT) with the objective of upscaling adoption of conservation agriculture practices as a best bet option for sustainably increasing agricultural production in Kenya. KALRO Njoro has acquired a precision no-till seeder and ripper which can be hired out to Conservation Agriculture practitioners.
e) The Kenya Cereals Enhancement Programme (KCEP)
This is a collaborative Programme funded by the European Commission (EC) and being implemented by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The Programme focuses on the three leading rain-fed cereals (maize, sorghum and millet), crops that contribute immensely to the food security and incomes. The goal of this program is to contribute to the reduction of rural poverty and food insecurity of smallholders, by developing their economic potential in increasing production of cereal staples (maize, sorghum, millet) and associated pulses, and generating incomes among producers in medium to high potential areas. It is anticipated that this will be achieved through transformation of current input-low output production systems by addressing main farmers’ constraints and supporting sustainable crop intensification and diversification.