(Left to right): Knut Hove, chairman of the board of trustees of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI); Carlos Seré, director general of ILRI; His Excellency President Mwai Kibaki; Bruce Scott, director of Partnerships and Communications at ILRI; Segenet Kelemu, director of the BecA Hub; and Gertrude Ngeleshi, training officer at ILRI, await the President to cut the ribbon to unveil a DNA sculpture made to commemorate the official opening of BecA at ILRI (photo credit: ILRI/Njuguna).
From Kenya’s State House News comes the following report Friday 5 November 2010 on the visit by His Excellency, President Mwai Kibaki, to the official opening of the Biosciences eastern and central Africa (BecA) Hub, which is hosted and managed by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), at its Nairobi headquarters and laboratories.
‘The new Constitution will tremendously boost agricultural production and development in the country, President Mwai Kibaki has said.
‘Speaking today during the official opening of Bioscience eastern and central Africa Research Hub at the International Livestock Research Institute in Nairobi, President Kibaki acknowledged that the proposed devolved system of government will shorten the decision-making process on important agricultural programmes.
‘This, noted the Head of State, will not only strengthen grassroots’ institutions but will also enhance identification, monitoring as well as evaluation of specific projects in various parts of the country.
‘Expressing the government’s commitment in strengthening agricultural research and development, President Kibaki stated that it was only by doing so that the country would attain food security and economic development.
‘The President affirmed that the country’s development blue print, Vision 2030, embraces science, technology and innovation as vital tools for addressing the critical challenges of food security, environmental degradation and escalating poverty.
‘Applauding the establishment of the ultra-modern complex of laboratories, the Head of State noted that the facility would assist scientists in the region and the entire continent to undertake cutting-edge research that would boost agricultural output and food security. President Kibaki declared, “Africa urgently needs strategies and programs to increase the capacity of small-scale farmers to boost their productivity and enter the dynamic national, regional and international markets.”
‘He expressed optimism that the facility would significantly aid in developing and applying biosciences expertise in producing farmer-friendly technologies that boost both productivity and incomes. President Kibaki said that the laboratories would also act as a focal point for the African scientific community apart from focusing on building African research capacity and training the next generation of scientists.
‘Said the President, “This will go a long way in enhancing the ability of young Africans to undertake research with a view to address the chronic challenges that constrain the agricultural sector in sub-Saharan Africa.”
‘During the occasion, the Head of State stated that despite its immense potential the agricultural sector in Africa continued to under perform and remained underdeveloped due low investment in the sector. He noted that agriculture remains the foundation of most African economies and acted as the main source of household and national food security apart from supplying raw materials to industries. “Indeed, the agricultural sector is not only key to economic growth, but also fundamental to equity in development and to poverty and hunger reduction,” the President remarked. “The sector contributes, on average, over 30 percent of the gross domestic product and provides 60 percent of all employment. Up to 80 percent of the total population in Africa lives in the rural areas and is dependent on agriculture for their livelihood. Moreover, about 70 percent of the continent’s extreme poor and undernourished live in these rural areas,” President Kibaki stated.
‘The Head of State further commended the International Livestock Research Institute, the Government of Canada, NEPAD, and other partners for their sacrificing enormous resources to make the scientific facilities a reality.
‘The President pledged his government’s continued support to research bodies in the country to enable them fulfill their mandate in meeting regional and continental demands.
‘Earlier, President Kibaki unveiled the Biosciences eastern and central Africa (BecA) sculpture after a conducted tour of the BecA Hub facilities.
‘Speaking during the occasion, Livestock Development Minister Dr Mohamed Kuti praised the country’s new constitution for focusing more on research and development.
‘The Minister called for increased funding in research work and development for solid and successful implementation of the country’s development aspirations outlined in Vision 2030.
‘Saying that government departments should stop being routinely functional, Dr. Kuti stressed the need for more emphasis on research and development in all sectors.
‘Others who spoke during the occasion included Public Health and Sanitation Minister Beth Mugo, Canadian High Commissioner to Kenya Dr. David Collins, the Director General of the International Livestock Research Institute Dr. Carlos Seré and the Deputy Director for New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Prof. Aggrey Ambali.
‘The function was attended by Head of Public Service and Secretary to the Cabinet Amb. Francis Muthaura, senior government officials and an array of scientists from across the continent.’
Read the news on State House Kenya News: New Constitution will promote agricultural development, President Kibaki says, 5 November 2010.
A few more articles on BecA opening: