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Enhancing Access and Exchange of Agricultural Information in Kenya: the case of Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) Rachel Rege, Patrick Maina, Richard Kedemi & Peninnah Mwangi.

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Enhancing Access and Exchange of Agricultural Information in Kenya: the case of Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI)Rachel Rege, Patrick Maina, Richard Kedemi & Peninnah Mwangi

2nd Conference of the International Association of Agricultural Information Specialists (IAALD) Africa Chapter,

M-Plaza Hotel

15 – 17 July 2009

presentation outline
Presentation Outline
  • Background
    • Kenya, KARI, KAINet
  • Enhancing access and exchange agricultural information in Kenya
    • Achievement and progress
    • Lessons learned
  • Conclusion and recommendations
background kenya
Background - Kenya
  • Agriculture is the mainstay of Kenyan economy:
    • Sector contributes 26% of the GDP directly, 27% through linkages to agro-based industries
    • Employs 80% of the total labour force
    • Generates 60% of foreign exchange.
    • Provides 75% of the raw industrial materials and controls 40% of government earnings
    • Feeds a population of 40m
    • Demand for appropriate agricultural information is daunting!!
background kenya1
Background – Kenya…..
  • Agriculture sector has twelve line ministries
  • The sector has more than 100 research, extension and intermediary institutions (diverse information generators and users)
  • A lot of agricultural information is generated
  • There is demand for appropriate agricultural information
  • Public science and technology information is not easily or widely accessible
background kari
Background - KARI
  • Was established in 1978 through a parliament Act.
  • Preceding KARI was the research dept in Ministry of Agriculture
  • Although agricultural research began in the country in 1909, in the colonial East Africa Territory it began before 1900.
background kari1
Background – KARI…..
  • The main agricultural research institute with 42 centres throughout the country, with research mandates on:
    • Livestock health and production,
    • Range management,
    • Food crops,
    • Horticulture and industrial crops,
    • Land and water management
    • Adaptive research and socioeconomics
background kari2
Background – KARI…..
  • The institute generates agricultural information in all the thematic areas
  • Information generated is not easily accessible
  • The centres are dispersed throughout the country, lacks connectivity between all centres
background kari3
Background – KARI…..
  • Given its mandate, capacity and position in Kenya, KARI collaborates with several partners.
  • It is the national and regional focal point for most agricultural activities FARA and ASARECA regional initiatives; CGIAR, EU, AGRA, USAID…..
  • It was through this collaborative framework that KARI partnered with ASARECA, FAO, DFID, CABI and national partners (KEFRI, MoA and JKUAT) to implement KAINet to facilitate information access and exchange within Kenya.
background kainet
Background - KAINet
  • A national network
  • Focusing on:
    • Formulation of policy and strategy frameworks: guides operations
    • Content development (std, AGRIS tools and processes) for coherence
    • Capacity building (HR, physical, financial)
    • Technical platform development
    • Advocacy and awareness creations
    • Partnerships
background kainet1
Background – KAINet…..

KAINet embraces:

  • Teamwork
  • Commitment and sacrifice
  • Positive competition
  • Technology application
  • Resilience
enhancing access and exchange
Enhancing access and exchange
  • KARI coordinates KAINet and has adopted the principles to strengthen its network of 42 centres
  • Draft ICM strategy: KARI management has endorsed its implementation
  • Institutional repository established within two centres (KARI HQ and KARI-NARL) content available online for access
enhancing access and exchange1
Enhancing access and exchange…..
  • Capacities built for the ICT teams (10 staff): high staff morale
  • Advocacy and awareness creation ongoing
  • Partnership strengthened between centres and partner institutions (<13,000 records available on KAINet)
lessons learned
Lessons learned
  • Recognition of existing capacities and structures in the agriculture sector for goodwill and endorsement
  • Recognition of diversity
  • Partnership building critical between partners – determines commitment, trust and level of involvement
  • Value of institutional/centre alliances for comparative advantage, resources sharing and sustainability
  • Application of ICT for enhance management, sharing and exchange AI
  • Needs assessments: clarity of needs and challenges
  • Need for ICM Strategies for increased availability and access to agricultural information for economic development
  • Committed approach to content management
  • Application of ICT in AIM
  • Network principles adoption: (research, academia, ministries: national node)
  • Partnership formation and management


“Information is one of the world’s most important resources, it exists in every organisational enterprise throughout the world. The degree of success by organisations and the people who work for them depend on how well information resources are managed.”

  • MoA
  • KARI
  • CABI
  • FAO