KARI's Technology and Information Response Initiative
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CTA. 2004. KARI's Technology and Information Response Initiative. Knowledge for Development. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands
Permanent link to cite or share this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/63771
In June 2000, KARI launched the Agricultural Technology and Information Response Initiative (ATIRI), an experimental programme to elicit the farmers´ demands for appropriate agricultural technologies and innovations, and to improve their disseminati
The mission of the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) is to develop and disseminate appropriate technologies, in collaboration with partners and collaborators, that will contribute to agricultural productivity, and thus bring about sustainable improvements in the livelihoods of Kenyan citizens. To achieve this mission, KARI has a number of priority research programmes, which are carried out by researchers within the Institute. For many years, although KARI has continued to develop new technologies, they have had only minimal impact on the productivity of farmers, more than 75% of which are smallholder farmers. This lack of impact was mainly attributed to the low levels of adoption of technologies. KARI therefore recognized that its research would have to become more responsive to the needs of farmers. Projects funded under the ATRI initiative focus on technologies that will contribute to food security, poverty reduction and sustainable natural resource management. In cases where KARI does not have the required technology or information, it acts as a broker, linking farmers´ groups with relevant technology providers. Either way, the farmers´ demands are translated into project proposals according to a set format and submitted to a KARI centre-based regional steering committee for review. The selected proposals are then forwarded to the national steering committee for further review and funding approval. The successful projects are implemented according to an agreed work plan, with technical backstopping by KARI scientists or other relevant technology/service providers. The initiative has now been introduced in KARI´s 16 regional centres. So far, about 225 CBOs have proposed some 306 agricultural technologies, which will have direct benefits for 15,000 farmers and indirectly on 150,000 others. At first, KARI´s researchers had difficulties conceptualizing ATIRI. Training courses were therefore organized for the scientists to explain the initiative and what it would entail. Although this yielded satisfactory results, some researchers were concerned that implementing ATIRI would effectively reduce the time available for basic research. As a result, the mode of ATIRI implementation is now being reassessed. Public sector extension staff and other service providers are being encouraged to collaborate further with the CBOs in the formulation and implementation of ATIRI projects. Under this new arrangement, KARI´s researchers will continue to help build the capacity of the CBOs, and act as brokers in the provision of the technologies demanded by the farmers, in addition to their role in providing quality assurance. For more information about ATIRI, please visit http://www.kari.org/ATIRI/ATIRI%20Booklet%202001.htm#Content (ATIRI´s webpage) . Nairobi, 15 November 2003.