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Hutton work in Kenya

The James Hutton Institute (and its forerunners) have a long history of working to aid nations in the developing world, and Kenya has been a prime example of close links. See below a selection of projects focussed on Kenya:




Aeroponic disruptive advancement for game-changes in seed potato production in Kenya

In Kenya potato is a food and cash crop second in importance only to maize. It is grown predominantly by smallholder farmers. Due to its nutritive value the crop has importance in decreasing hunger and malnutrition.  Current annual production in Kenya is estimated at 2-3 million MT from approx. 158,000 ha, by over 800,000 smallholder farmers. Currently production requires 300,000 tonnes of seed per year however under-delivering seed systems are a key factor in low potato yields. Seed usually originates from unmarketable small tubers saved on-farm or graded out at markets. Seed potatoes, when available, are bulky and their transportation over long distances can be more costly than the seed itself. Decentralised seed multiplication is beginning to fill the gap in the supply of quality seed at a local level but this approach has proven inconsistent. National certified seed production is currently less than 2% of demand. Smallholder adopters of certified seed typically increase yields by 3-5 times (from 8t/ha to 40t/ha). with consequent positive impacts. To address this opportunity, we propose to realize the potential of disruptive developments in aeroponic crop production. The innovative system developed by Airponix Ltd offers a protected system, has low environmental impact and achieves high crop yields (up to 10-fold greater than conventional) with minimal inputs (e.g. ~10% of the water of conventional farming and no harmful chemicals).  
Development and assessment of nematode resistant potato cultivars for East Africa (Kenya) Potato production in Kenya is impacted by an introduced pathogen, the potato cyst nematode (PCN). Kenyan growers require potato cultivars that have very low dormancy and short cooking times but currently preferred varieties with these traits have no PCN resistance. The aim of this proposal is to test potato crosses that combine traits favoured by Kenyan growers with PCN resistance and to assess the acceptability of such varieties to Kenyan growers. 01/11/2019 to 30/04/2021
Development and assessment of nematode resistant potato cultivars for East Africa (Kenya) The potato cyst nematode (PCN) has recently been discovered in Kenya. Almost all of the PCN present in Kenya is Globodera rostochiensis which is readily controlled with the H1 gene. Potato cropping systems in Kenya are unusual as potato is grown at least twice each year.  This leads to huge build up of pests and diseases, including PCN. The primary drivers for cultivar choice in Kenya are low dormancy (as no storage is available) and short cooking time. Both of these are characteristic of Solanum phureja but no varieties with this genetic background currently have H1 for PCN control.  A series of breeding lines that contain S. phureja and H1 have recently become available. These lines are a unique resource for this project. We will test the performance of these varieties in Kenya and assess their local appeal as well as their ability to control PCN present in Kenya. We will also assess whether using these varieties selects for G. pallida. 01/11/2019 to 30/04/2021
Occurrence, distribution and molecular diversity of viruses on groundnut crops in Kenya Groundnut is an important food and cash crop in countries of sub-Saharan Africa including Kenya where they contribute more to farmers’ incomes than maize or bean crops. In Kenya, the current yields are well below potential and important constraints include the devastating impact of high levels of pests and diseases particularly viruses spread by insect vectors which cause approx. 80% of damage. This project will identify virus diseases of groundnut in the main producing areas of Kenya. The project will employ RNA-sequencing technology, as well as other contemporary diagnostic tools to detect both known and currently unknown viruses in groundnuts. This knowledge will be used to develop future disease control strategies. Moreover, the project will create critical scientific expertise and tools to strengthen early-career scientists’ skills for virus detection and diagnosis including the principles of developing integrated pest and disease management technologies. 08/07/2019 to 30/06/2020



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Printed from /research/international/kenya on 21/02/24 09:32:56 AM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.