Kenya launches Pan African research initiative to boost climate smart farming

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NAIROBI, Sept.16 (Xinhua) --Kenya on Monday launched a Pan African initiative to train the next generation of scientists who will support ongoing efforts to boost climate resilient farming in the world's second-largest continent.

Kenya-based Africa Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) in partnership with foundations inaugurated the first cohort of African scientists who will embark on research that promotes climate smart farming.

The scientists will be embedded in the One Planet Fellowship that is a career development program for young African and European scientists who are expected to conduct research on innovations and practices that could promote climate tolerant farming at small-holder level.

Senior officials said the 2 billion shillings (20 million U.S. dollars) program will focus on collaborative research, training and exchange programs aimed at enhancing the capacity of young African scientists to be integrated in climate-smart small-holder agriculture.

"Climate change continues to devastate crop production and supply chains hence undermining poverty eradication and food security across Africa," said Oscar Mugenyi, director of research and innovation in Kenya's ministry of agriculture.

Scientific research is critical to helping our communities adapt to negative impacts of climate change," he added.

Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg, director of AWARD said that investing in the next generation of scientists that are well versed with climate change is key to help Africa's smallholder farmers and herders adapt to the phenomenon.

"We need to harness home-grown scientific capacity to help African smallholder farmers cope with climate change," said Wanjiru, adding that the first cohort of 45 young African scientists will participate in a three-year career development program that will equip them with skills required to promote climate-smart farming.

Lateef Sanni, vice chairman of the AWARD Steering Committee said that African countries should prioritize continuous education and mentorship for young scientists to enhance their involvement in programs that promote climate-resilient food production systems. Enditem

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