This past Thursday, CIMMYT’s Insect Resistant Maize for Africa (IRMA) project organized a well-attended meeting to update its stakeholders, project participants, and journalists on the past year’s progress. Held at the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) National Agricultural Research Laboratories, in Nairobi, the event drew more than 100 stakeholders, project participants, and journalists, who followed the presentations keenly and contributed to the lively discussions. The IRMA project is a joint initiative of KARI, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture, and the Rockefeller Foundation.
Speaking at the event, Kenya’s Agricultural Secretary, Wilson Songa, lauded the IRMA partnership for its significant contribution to improving national food security and livelihoods, through development of maize varieties with increased borer resistance. Other notable speakers were Marianne Bänziger, Director of CIMMYT’s Global Maize Program, Jost Frei of Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture, KARI’s Director Ephraim Mukisira and IRMA Project Manager, Stephen Mugo. Through their remarks, the speakers highlighted the momentous strides made by IRMA in the development of capacity, technology, and policy – notably the Biosafety Bill – as well as raising awareness on biotechnology and related biosafety aspects. All stakeholders were in agreement that IRMA had set the pace for similar initiatives in the region and that they should all strive to move the IRMA agenda forward in their individual capacities.