Scaling up agricultural innovations in Kenya

The challenge

Farming in Kenya’s arid regions is particularly challenging because of low and erratic rainfall, land and water depletion, and the resulting declines in agricultural productivity. Climate change is also having negative impacts on households. Unfortunately, effective technologies developed by decades of agricultural research have not been adopted by farmers.

Policy efforts have failed to relieve hunger and malnutrition. Innovative farming and marketing strategies are needed to deal with the challenges of growing crops on arid lands.

The research

This project, supported by IDRC and GAC through the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund (CIFSRF), aims to develop innovative strategies for accelerating largescale adoption and scaling up of durable farming systems in three regions of Kenya.

Researchers will investigate the numerous causes of low agricultural productivity. They will also identify opportunities for linking farmers to markets and for influencing the formulation
and implementation of sound policies for dryland agriculture. They will then test and develop farming practices that are much more appropriate and environmentally sound for dry areas. Doing so will increase production and consumption of healthy local foods and dramatically improve farmers’ livelihoods.

Expected outcomes

  • Identification, introduction, and adoption of more appropriate and environmentally sound farming practices for arid areas
  • Enhanced use of traditional local crops
  • Increased consumption of healthy local foods
  • Improved income-earning opportunities for farmers

Project ID


Project status


Start Date

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

End Date

Monday, September 1, 2014


42 months

IDRC Officer

Pascal Sanginga

Total funding

CA$ 4,300,000




International Development Research Centre

Institution Website

Project Leader

Dr. Gordon M. Hickey


Royal Institution for the Advancement of Learning/McGill University

Institution Website

Project Leader

Dr. Lutta Muhammad


Kenya Agricultural & Livestock Research Organization

Institution Website