Insect resistant maize for Africa (IRMA) project: creating awareness on biotechnology based technologies: report on a workshop

The Insect Resistant Maize for Africa. (IRMA) Project is a joint venture between the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI), with financial support from the Novartis Foundation for Sustainable Development. It responds to the need to feed Africa's rapidly increasing population by reducing the damage incurred by the region's major insect pest of maize, stem borer. IRMA is being implemented initially in Kenya, but the results and experiences gained through the project will be made available to other willing African countries. The overarching goals of the project are to develop insect resistant maize varieties for the major Kenyan maize growing environments and to establish procedures to provide insect resistant maize to resource poor farmers in Kenya. During the implementation of the IRMA project, relevant technologies will be transferred to KARI and continuously evaluated. The specific objectives of the project are as follows: (1) Product Development: Develop insect resistant maize varieties for the major insect pests found in Kenyan maize production systems. (2) Product Disseminotion: Establish procedures for providing insect resistant maize to resource poor farmers in Kenya. (3) Impoct Assessment: Assess the impact of insect resistant maize varieties in Kenyan agricultural systems. (4) Technology Tronsfer: Transfer technologies to KARI and Kenyo to develop, evaluate, disseminate, and monitor insect resistant maize varieties. (5) Project Documentotion ond Communicotion: Plan, monitor, and document processes and achievements for dissemination to the Kenyan public and developing countries. Considerable effort has been given to the communication orea mainly in creating dialogue and raising public awareness about Bt and insect resistant maize, ond obout biotechnology in general. A stakeholders meeting was held and print and electronic materials hove been created in addition to nurturing of good press relotions to assure balanced coverage. Participation and documentation of IRMA-related presentations in seminars and conferences have further contributed to public awareness about the project and the technologies it uses. However, in recognition that the project is not working in isolation, it was recognized that there are other groups that are reaching out to the farmers, consumers and general public with information on biotechnology. It was olso recognized that biotechnology processes and products hold much promise in alleviating food shortages in our society and that information on biotechnology needs to be handled properly to avoid scares about its products ond mistrust to scientists and institutions from the general society. C1MMYT and KARI decided to hold a one-day workshop to take stock of 1) institutions involved in raising awareness on biotechnology and 2) the methods and tools being used. The workshop was also to explore the possibilities of collaborating to fill gaps and needs to be identified during the meeting. The one-day informal meeting wos convened to appraise us on the efforts institutions are making to create awareness in biotechnology.

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Bibliographic Details
Main Authors: Mugo, S.N., Poland, D., Kimani, G., De Groote, H.
Format: Conference Proceedings biblioteca
Published: KARI 2001
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