Bio-Innovate was established to primarily catalyze the translation of biological ideas into products and services that can be taken to the market for economic use and address social challenges and consequently improves livelihoods of the people in the eastern Africa region.
The ultimate goal of the agricultural thematic focus of the Program is to enable the smallholder farmers in the region benefit from productivity gains through modern biosciences. The Program recognizes that in the eastern Africa region crop productivity is stagnating or declining primarily because: (i) genetic potential of crops particularly the staple crops is not fully exploited compounded with the negative effects of climate change; (ii) low technology adoption due to poor innovation delivery systems to the end users.
The Program aims at establishing functional and sustainable innovation platforms to develop and deliver innovations to the end users i.e. smallholder farmers – to improve crop productivity and agro-processors – to add value to crops to mitigate post-harvest losses and increase market opportunities for smallholder farmers.
Bio-Innovate’s food security thematic has three objectives: (i) Focus on traditional crops of strategic importance to the region – sorghum, finger millet, cassava, potatoes, sweet potato, and beans; (ii) Combine up- and down-stream bioscience activities to assemble and deliver varieties exhibiting both input traits for climatic change adaptability i.e. high yielding and resilient to biotic and environmental stresses, and output traits addressing industrial processing and nutritional quality needs; (iii) Establish innovation platforms linking research organizations, community based organizations, farmers, and seed and food processing companies to develop and deliver innovations in at least three of the partnering.
Climate change, with its effects on temperature and precipitation, threatens Agriculture, an important economic activity for East Africa – IFPRI.
Agricultural Innovation Platform
The Program has adopted an innovation systems approach in designing and executing projects in an effort to provide the vital link between research, innovation and delivery to end-user, a link that is mostly missing in the research and development agenda in sub-Saharan Africa.