KARI is a member of the Kenya National Agricultural Research System, which is mandated to conduct crop, livestock, NRM and social and economic research in Kenya. The institute is publicly funded and collaborates with various international, regional and national research and educational organisations. While much of the work is conducted in the 32 research organisations, a lot of on-farm research is also conducted with a view to adapting the generated technologies to the various environmental contexts. The institute works closely with the Ministry of Agriculture Extension branch, as well as various other development agencies, with a view to ensuring that the research results and products are scaled up among the users in diverse areas of the country.
KARI researchers have vast experience in the innovation systems field, especially with regard to development of technical innovations. Many innovations emanating from the research centres have to be tested in the field; this is where the scientific knowledge interacts with the local/traditional knowledge. Farmers and other users have their own views about how innovations work; therefore, every new technology is modified by the users. This often leads to further innovation development or a blend of the two types of knowledge. In a number of cases, also organisational innovations emerge.
KARI has several ongoing projects which involve a significant IS and L/TK component, such as the adaptive research projects in the regional research centres, the Agricultural Technologies and Information Response Initiative (ATIRI), the Kenya Agricultural Productivity Project (KAPP), the Soil Management Project, the Integrated Nutrient Management Project and the Nutrient Monitoring Project.
KARI is the national convenor for Kenya, co-leader WP2 and WP4, and provides support to all other thematic WPs.
Dr Geoffrey M Kamau (agronomist) works as project officer in the Adaptive Research, Outreach and Partnerships programme of KARI. He has been the National Coordinator of ATIRI at KARI headquarters. He is a member of the Prolinnova–Kenya Task Force and is the team leader of the Prolinnova–Kenya Local Innovation Support Fund monitoring and evaluation team under the FAIR project. His research experience and interest is in participatory research methodologies, farmer-researcher information exchange and innovation processes.
Violet Kirigua (food-industry and management specialist) works as programme officer in the Horticulture and Industrial Crops programme of KARI. Prior to joining KARI, she worked with the extension services under the Ministry of Agriculture and the Horticultural Crops Development Authority. She has worked in various projects funded by FAO and the International Development and Research Centre (IDRC), with a focus on urban and peri-urban agriculture for policy development. She coordinates a project on commercialisation of mushrooms in Nyandarua and Kakamega Districts and also collaborates in a project on medicinal plants with the aim of developing innovative and sustainable ways to commercialise medicinal plants. She is a member of the KARI Intellectual Property Task Force.
(to be completed) Teresiha joined KARI to work as assistant JOLISAA coordinator in April 2011
Geoffrey Kamau, KARI Nairobi