The Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) has announced that plans to host over 2000 farming professionals from across the world for an International Scientific Conference and Exhibition on Agriculture Technologies have been finalized.
The KALRO Director General (DG), Dr. Eliud Kiplimo Kireger described the event as a world-class trade platform designed to open up opportunities in agricultural research, support services and trade.
Kireger said farming professionals will be equipped with skills and knowledge required to manage modern agricultural operations with value addition.
A Key highlight of The Expo dubbed the “1st KALRO Scientific Conference and Exhibition” will be to explore ways of minimizing growing post harvest loses in the country, which threaten food security.
The conference is set against a background of perennial post harvest losses that indicate that Kenya loses approximately a third of its produce yearly through post-harvest losses.
The conference seeks to equip farmers with technical expertise on pre-and-post harvest and value addition technologies for improved local and global competitiveness at a time when an estimated 1.9 million tons of food is being lost annually according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.
Of the total food wasted, maize, Kenya’s staple food was the most affected with the country losing an average of Sh.29.6 billion worth of the crop annually. Green bananas were the second crop as farmers lost Sh.24billion worth of the produce last year.
Other produce that went to waste due to poor storage and handling, lack of transport, and fungi attack, according to data contained in the 2018 Economic Survey released in April, includes Irish potatoes (Sh.19.7billion), milk (Sh.12.4billion), beans (Sh.11.5billion), ripe yellow bananas (Sh.5.6billion), sweet potatoes (Sh.3.5billion), tomatoes (Sh.2.4billion), pineapples (Sh.2.4billion), sorghum (Sh.1.9billion), and millet (Sh.1.6billion).
The event billed as one of the biggest agricultural events in the country and scheduled to run from June 24th to 28th is expected to bring on board over 100 companies from 30 countries. It will be hosted at the organization’s (KALRO) Headquarter Complex in Loresho.
“According to the United Nations Economics and Social Council, Science and Technology will ensure food security in Africa by 2030 as new and existing technologies will raise crop and livestock productivity and improve soil fertility thereby enhancing farmers’ lives.
The conference themed, “Technologies and Innovations for Agricultural Transformation, Improved Food/Nutrition Security and Livelihoods,” will provide a forum for sharing breakthroughs and achievements in agricultural research products and service, allow stakeholders to share innovative approaches and strategies for technology transfer for enhancing agribusiness and livelihoods, enhance partnerships and strengthen linkages among stakeholders such as farmers, researchers, exporters, government and the private sector” noted the DG.
In hosting this big international event, Dr. Kireger asserts that KALRO is partly implementing Kenya’s development blueprint, the Vision 2030 and the government’s Big Four Agenda where the agriculture sector is recognized as one of the key drivers of economic growth.
Its aim is to transform Kenya into a newly industrialized, middle income country providing a high quality of life to all its citizens in a clean and secure environment.
The event targets to bring on board exhibitors involved in wide range of farming services, consultancies, equipment and technology, farming research and industry institutions.
“Food production is one of the major pillars identified, which the government will focus on in the next five years. We are inspired to be partners in developing agric-mechanization in the region in order to produce more food for a growing population. We need to improve yield and production from less available land through good mechanization suited for our customers,” asserted Dr. Kireger.
The Conference will be a platform to showcase new innovations and management practices in sustainable land and water use and Pre-and-post harvest value addition technologies for improved local and global competitiveness.
It will further bring together agriculture scientists small and large commercial scale farmers and stakeholders, and service providers from across the entire agriculture value chain.
“There will be four days for exhibition of technologies, products and information from KALRO, other institutions, farmers and businesses. The Conference will cover scientific research findings relevant to Innovative technologies in food, horticultural and industrial crops, livestock genetic improvement, disease control, feeds and feeding,” he stated.
Apart from showcasing their innovations and technologies farmers, agro-industry players, service providers and other stakeholders in the agriculture sector will be afforded the opportunity to engage in business networking locally and internationally.
“It is our intention to bring on board partners with dedicated companies offering a wide range of farming services, consultancies, equipment and technology, farming research and industry institutions,” he added.
“We will be roping in participants who will give expert opinion on innovations that will increase opportunities for women and youth integration in agriculture. The conference will address how Socio economics, policy issues, marketing and agricultural technologies impact on farmer’s productivity,”Dr Kireger observed.
The event will also provide a forum for sharing breakthroughs and achievements in agricultural research products and services.
The Director General said exhibitors are expected to share innovative approaches and strategies for technology transfer for enhancing agribusiness and livelihoods.
During the event KALRO will exhibit her technologies, products and services and those of her partners and stakeholders
“We believe that the expo will enhance partnerships and strengthen linkages among stakeholders. It will provide an all-round platform to network, market and share knowledge on how to best harness the power of technology in agriculture and ensure the best outcome for farmers’ produce,” he noted.
Farmers will also be taught on mechanization along agricultural value chains, improved agricultural service delivery using ICTs, innovation platforms, extension channels, innovations to increase opportunities for women and youth integration in agriculture, socio economics, policy, marketing and impact of agricultural technologies and private sector and county government involvement in technology uptake.
It will also cover scientific research findings in areas of innovative technologies in food, horticulture, industrial crops, livestock genetic improvement, disease control and feeds.
By Jane Ngugi