Dairy, Maize, Soil and Nutribusiness Program

U.S. Presidential Initiative:
Feed the Future

Funding Level:
$2.8 million

July 2009 – April 2014

Activity Goals:

  • Improve productivity of smallholder dairy cattle
  • Improve soil fertility
  • Improve Kenya maize production
  • Enhance food security

Activity Accomplishments:

  • 22 maize varieties resistant to Grey Leaf Spot under research
  • One maize variety tolerant to striga weed released and submitted to KARI Seed Unit for multiplication
  • 22 Animal Health Technicians and  stockists trained in the Kisumu region

Key Partners:
Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI), Agriculture Sector Coordination Unit, Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services

Activity Locations:
Priority Feed the Future areas of Eastern, Central, and Western Kenya


The Maize, Dairy, Soil & Nutribusiness Program is a direct investment in the Government of Kenya through funding to the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI). Under this activity, KARI is charged with conducting and disseminating agricultural research to strengthen food security and improve nutrition in Kenya.

KARI is a semi-autonomous government institution that administers more than 20 research centers throughout Kenya.

KARI is researching and distributing seed varieties that can resist drought, disease and pests. It is developing and disseminating important information for livestock farmers and herders about best practices in animal health and promoting the cultivation of African leafy vegetables and legumes such as cow peas, pumpkins and various night shades.


The program enhances agricultural productivity through crop variety development, deployment, and testing; soil fertility management; and transfer of agronomic technology to farmers.

Some of the specific areas targeted by the program include integrated management of aflatoxin; genetic finger printing of developed crop varieties; development of a seed system for African traditional crops; and field testing of biotechnology products. In the livestock sector, KARI promotes and develops in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer technologies, and to distribute diagnostic and vaccination kits to detect and prevent a variety of animal diseases.

With support from USAID, KARI developed and packaged a rapid diagnostic test that allows farmers and livestock health practitioners to test goats for Contagious Caprine Pleuropneumonia (CCPP) in the field. CCPP is extremely contagious, frequently fatal, and often eludes diagnosis. Rapid diagnosis is key to containment of the disease. Without knowledge of CCPP in years past, goat farmers in Mai Mahiu, Naivasha suffered severe losses in their herds.

KARI has made the CCPP diagnostic test available to Mai Maihu farmers, enabling them to intervene appropriately and swiftly as soon as signs of the disease appear. With its promise of preventing livestock losses and promoting financial gain, the diagnostic test is nothing short of a miracle in Mai Mahiu.

USAID Contact:
Samson Okumu, Activity Manager
Agriculture, Business and Environment Office
Tel: +254 20 862 2702
Email: sokumu@usaid.gov

Dairy, Maize, Soil and Nutribusiness Program Contact:
Dr. Ephraim A. Mukisira, Director KARI
Tel: +254-020-4183720, 4183301-20
Email:  Resource.center@kari.org


 Updated January 2014

Last updated: August 06, 2014

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