From research project to market: CABI team bulks up kale seed in Kenya
News story, 14 July 2010
Two new varieties of kale have been licensed in Kenya, with a further three in the pipeline, thanks to a seed-bulking project funded by a CABI Innovation Award. Three Innovation Awards are presented annually to internal teams who propose projects to contribute to furthering CABI’s mission and objectives.
Kale tops the vegetable popularity list in Kenya, growing on 23,121 ha of land and forming part of every meal in most Kenyan households. In fact it is nicknamed ‘sukuma wiki’ which means it’s a meal that helps see you through the week; for the Kenyan earning a dollar a day this an important meal. However, farmers complained that they did not have good quality seed for their preferred landrace kale, commonly known as Kinale.
In a previous, DfID-funded, project, CABI and partners had ‘cleaned’ up Kinale kale into five varieties, coded CABI 1–5. The next step was for these lines to be registered by the Kenyan Ministry of Agriculture before they could be certified and sold to farmers. The CABI innovation award funded the bulk production and storage of these seeds so that they could be ready upon registration.
“The innovation money was really important in moving this project from the initial research phase to being in a position to make the improved seed available to farmers,” said Duncan Chacha, workshop and conferences coordinators at CABI-Africa.