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Government priority areas and policies were as follows:

· consolidate food security for the nation;

· increase incomes from agricultural exports and decrease food imports;

· improve living standards of rural people;

· protect the environment through rational use of natural resources

Furthermore research activities should be balanced in terms of regional coverage and subsectors in particular emphasis should be given to the following areas:

· small farmer export production: cotton, coffee, cocoa;

· industrial crop productions: oil palm, rubber, tea, etc.;

· livestock: cattle, small ruminants, pigs and poultry;

· inland and marine fisheries;

· management of natural resources and sustainable protection of the environment

Based on the agricultural policy, the general agricultural research policy objectives were as follows:

· science and technology should play a leading role for the advancement of agricultural industry;

· agricultural research, particularly on-farm-related problems, is only a part of the total research needs of the agricultural industry, therefore agricultural research should be more holistic;

· the research system should address the needs of all participants in the agricultural production and distribution processes, recognize the limited capabilities and resources of these participants and be consistent with the national objective of poverty alleviation through a profitable agricultural undertaking.

Agricultural research should aim to(i) ensure food security for all people,(ii) promote increased small holder productivity,(iii) ensure that agriculture contributes to the foreign exchange balance of payment needs through increases in exports and import substitution; and(iv) provide balanced regional development and growth

Agricultural research has all along been recognized as an integral part of a well-defined long-term strategy for agricultural development and indeed the entire economy AS Kenya is primarily an agricultural country. As a result, overall priorities for national agricultural research have been stated as follows:

· increased food production;

· growth in agricultural employment;

· natural resources conservation;

· poverty alleviation.

Within these broad priorities there were two priority research programmes, namely, conservation of resources, which includes national soil/water management, farming systems research in dry land areas, livestock systems in pastoral areas and the generation and application of improved technologies in major agricultural zones. The second one was on crop and livestock research. This included breeding of improved varieties of major crops and vegetables and breeds of livestock, animal nutrition and veterinary research in areas of epidemic diseases and parasites.

Within the broad orientations defined in the national Economic Policy Framework Document of the Government, the priority areas for agricultural research concern: agriculture and livestock, fisheries and the environment. The priority actions in these areas are geared towards:

· intensification of agriculture production in the zone with high potential and sustained yields in marginal areas;

· diversification of production with high added valued crops for export;

· protection and preservation of the environment;

· integration of plant protection; etc.

The strategy for the implementation of these priority research areas is embodied in the following options:

· regionalization of research activities and network of research facilities;

· development of scientific and financial partnership;

· transfer and adaptation of new technologies;

· improvement of research environment (scheme of service, research equipment, funding, information system and management)

Government policy and priority is for the National Agricultural Research System, NARS, to plan and conduct applied research or production-oriented research that will generate information and technologies which can be directly utilized by the farming sector (estate and smallholder farmers) to solve technical production problems. It must assist in poverty alleviation by: providing information and technologies that would minimize agricultural production risks and the deterioration of the natural resources base; reduce over-dependence on a few food and cash crop options leading to stable and sustainable yields, in accordance with the Government's agricultural policy of balanced and diversification production. In particular in the smallholder areas it should address the following production constraints:

· low soil fertility;

· small land holdings;

· seasonal labour scarcity; paucity of production credit;

· lack of improved farm tools and equipment.

In accordance with the development policies spelt out in the sectoral master plan (1992) and the action plan (1993) the agricultural research policies and priorities were sketched out as follows:

· integrate the sustainable use and conservation of natural resources in the research agenda;

· contribute to the achievement of national goals of food security and improvement of the living conditions of farmers, through diversification of productions and revenues;

· better linkages with extension through participatory on-farm trials and demonstrations.

To achieve these objectives NARS was to be reorganized in terms of policy formulation and management at national, regional and local levels so that the end-users be fully involved in the definition of research priorities and programmes as well as in their monitoring and evaluation

The agricultural research policy as spelt out in the agricultural policy statement of June 1994 was as follows:

· strengthen agricultural research activities both public and private in close cooperation with the stakeholders;

· increase agricultural research financing.

In order to generate adapted technologies for increased agricultural production, agricultural research should:

· be responsive to the needs of end-users of research results through their involvement in decision-making process of research;

· better market its results for their utilization by producers;

· develop regional cooperation through its involvement in regional programmes and networks.

Accordingly the Government was committed to:

· adopt a new strategic plan for agricultural research;

· change the legal status of ISRA into a public, scientific and technological institution;

· strengthen and sustain the financial support from Government.

To achieve these objectives NARS was to be reorganized in terms of policy formulation and management at national, regional and local levels so that end-users be fully involved in the definition of research priorities and programmes as well as in their monitoring and evaluation

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