A sorghum farmer from Matayos, Busia County is working with Moi University in
testing sorghum varieties. (Photo credit: ILRI/Albert Mwangi)
The Bio-resources Innovations Network for Eastern Africa Development (Bio-Innovate) Program was established in 2010 to support multi-disciplinary biosciences and product oriented innovation activities in the eastern Africa countries of Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda.
The program comprises of nine innovation and policy consortia projects involving 57 partnering and collaborating institutions drawn from the six countries and outside the region. The Program promotes the use of modern biosciences to improve crop productivity and resilience to climate change in smallholder farming systems, and to increase the efficiency of the agro-processing industry to add value to local bio-resources in a sustainable manner.
The program has so far sent out two calls for proposals on Adapting to Climate Change in Agriculture and the Environment and Technology Incubation and Policy Analysis in eastern Africa that brought forth the nine consortia projects funded for a period of three years from 2011 to 2013.
The Program works closely with National Councils of Science and Technology in eastern Africa and the African Union – NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency (NPCA) in strengthening regional collaboration in science and technology and to push for the continent’s ability to exploit opportunities afforded by modern biosciences in line with Africa’s Science and Technology Consolidated Plan of Action. The Program is supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) with a grant of SEK 90 Million (USD 12M) for five years from 2010 to 2014. In addition, complimentary private sector players have been identified and invited to ”invest” through matching funds as partners within respective consortia projects.
Bio-Innovate Program builds on previous investments, achievements, and experiences of its predecessor, Eastern Africa Regional Programme and Research Network for Biotechnology, Biosafety and Biotechnology Policy Development (BIO-EARN) and other regional initiatives. While BIO-EARN focused on building the region’s research for development capacity by training and expanding the knowledge and skills of African scientists and building R&D infrastructure, Bio-Innovate sets to harness this resource and mobilize the knowledge generated in delivering innovative solutions to solve a wide range of developmental issues in the eastern Africa region.
The Program is hosted at the International livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and its day-to-day management is undertaken by a Program Management Team with the support of the technical advisory committee which provides oversight on implementation, review of the competitive grant scheme and monitoring and evaluation of activities.