Monday, 31 March 2014

The Sorghum Value Chain Development Consortium (SVCDC) UniBRAIN Incubator launched in Kenya.

The Sorghum Value Chain Development Consortium was launched on 14th March 2014 at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) in Nairobi, Kenya. The SVCDC is aimed at expanding the band in use of sorghum as food, feed, fuel and fibre. It is among the six incubators under the UniBRAIN programme targeting agribusiness minded farmer groups, disadvantaged groups such as women and youth and graduates with potential entrepreneurship skills to start up agribusinesses.

In attendance was Mrs. Sicily Kariuki (Principal Secretary Ministry of Agriculture Kenya), Dr. Yemi Akinbamijo (the Executive Director FARA), Dr. William Dar (Director General ICRISAT) and Mr. Alex Ariho (FARA-UniBRAIN Facility Coordinator) among others.

During the event 18 trainers of trainees in gender mainstreaming in agribusiness received certificates.

During the launching ceremony, Sicily Kariuki indicated the commitment of the Kenyan government in agribusiness promotion for transformation of agriculture. She indicated the central role that government plays in value chain development targeted at specific crops such as sorghum as avenues for food security promotion and improving farmers’ livelihoods.In addressing the launch attendees, Dr. Yemi Akinbamijo stressed on the need for agricultural commercialization for Africa; “we need not produce more prototypes, but need to market what we have already made,” he said. He also emphasized that agricultural transformation is a strategy for writing the future for Africa; “our history as Africans is well behind us, our future is unwritten.” He concluded.

As for the UniBRAIN facility coordinator, Dr Alex Ariho, he underlined the importance of tertiary education and research more relevant to business development in Africa for economic transformation. He insisted that the best way to predict the future is to invest today; “agriculture in Africa should no longer be looked at as a development issue but as business.” He pointed out.

He was particularly grateful to the support of partners such as ICRISAT, ASARECA, CORAF, CCARDESA, PanAAC, ANAFE and national governments, financial institutions, African farmers, NGOS in promoting agribusiness development in Africa.

As a way for fast tracking agricultural transformation in Africa, the SVCDC launch concluded noting the importance of:
Agribusiness promotion through agribusiness incubation
Tertiary agribusiness education and research
Linkages and strategic engagement of private sector
Mobile phone technology usage

UniBRAIN pioneers a new approach to promoting agricultural innovation and improving tertiary agribusiness education in Africa.

The UniBRAIN initiative promotes innovation by improving the flow of technology and knowledge by removing barriers between actors in the value chains. It is the synergy and linkage between the diverse actors that catalyzes and drives innovations. UniBRAIN links university education, research and business in sustainable agriculture.