By Sharon Atieno
With emerging challenges such as climate change, Ukraine-Russia war and COVID-19 pandemic worsening food security globally, especially in Africa, Syngenta, a global agribusiness company, has launched a centre for knowledge to help Kenyan farmers become more resilient to such threats.
Established in Kiambu county, the crop protection development knowledge centre is a learning and training centre where farmers interact with the company and each other on seed, seedcare and crop protection.
Open to the public, researchers, farmers, students and government officials to share knowledge on how to increase farming productivity and food quality, the centre is a demonstration site where Syngenta showcases the performance of its different products.
Speaking during the ceremony, Fredrick Otieno, Business Area Head for Syngenta East Africa noted that farmers are increasingly looking for mechanisms to cope with these challenges. Some of them include changing their cropping patterns and adopting new technologies.
As such, he said, the crop protection development centre is an integral part for farmers to adopt new knowledge to increase their resilience to these challenges.
Highlighting that one of the major problems facing farmers in Kenya is growing one crop from one season to another, Peter Veal, Syngenta Head sub-Saharan Africa, said the centre aims to bring diversification.
“Through diversification, you can increase yields while responding to market needs,” he said, adding that opening up knowledge of farmers to different crops they can grow, will make them become sustainably profitable.
The trainings of the farmers will include safe use of products and correct timing of application for the safety of consumers and the environment.
Sygenta has established crop development protection centres in Egypt, Jordan, Zambia and several in South Africa. They are also working together with the University of Eldoret to launch another centre in Uasin Gishu county.