On 23 November 2022, Makonge Righa, World Neighbors (member of Prolinnova–Kenya/PK) Program Officer for Africa, and Vincent Mariadho, National Coordinator of PK, attended the CGIAR Week of Science and Practice of Scaling Agri-Food System Innovation, held on 22–24 November 2022 at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Nairobi Campus. It was co-organised with the GIZ (German International Cooperation) taskforce on scaling. Participants came from various sectors – non-governmental organisations, farmer organisations, government, private-sector agribusiness players and CGIAR partners.
This was the second day of the innovation week and focused on “scaling”, especially on the Ukama Ustawi experience. The CGIAR Ukama Ustawi initiative supports climate-resilient agriculture and livelihoods in 12 countries in Eastern and Southern Africa by helping millions of smallholders intensify, diversify and de-risk maize-mixed farming through improved extension services, enterprise development and private investment. The initiative also identifies strategies to deploy and scale up/out solutions already existing in CGIAR programmes through use of business models and blended capital investment.
At the end of the day, the Ukama Ustawi Accelerator was launched to support agribusinesses in scaling climate-smart innovations across value chains. The accelerator focuses on four areas: Mechanisation and irrigation; Agricultural risk management; Nutrition-sensitive climate-smart agriculture; and Conservation agriculture. It targets agribusinesses at different stages of development: Early – just begun and requiring funding; Growth – operational and wanting to increase production; or Expansion – seeking a larger local or international market share.
The event provided a platform for networking with other players in food and nutrition security with focus on innovation. PK used the opportunity to discuss with other participants – both local and international – on the participatory innovation development (PID) approach. The networking aimed at tapping on opportunities for promoting local innovation processes in Kenya as well as linking with potential donors and partners.
Although the institutions present, the agribusinesses and CGIAR partners were dealing with “high-tech” innovations, as opposed to Prolinnova, which emphasises innovation by small-scale farmers using locally available resources, the PK representatives still found potential areas of linkage and mutual interest, especially with institutions such as “Shamba Shape-up”, which can help in disseminating information on local innovation and PID.
Report by Makonge Righa & Vincent Mariadho, PK, Nairobi, Kenya