CAVS hands over high yielding bean variety to Kenya Seed
The Kenya Sugar bean variety is an invention of the University of Nairobi (UoN) through the University of Nairobi’s Seed Company (UNISEED) in collaboration with the Seed Enterprise Management Institute (SEMIs) project. The project has embarked on breeder seed production of bean varieties bred by scientists at the University. The project seeks to address one of the greatest challenges faced by seed companies in Kenya and Africa which is accessing breeders or foundation seed for certified seed production. While handing over the seeds to Kenya Seed Company, Prof. Agnes Mwang’ombe, Principal, College of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences (CAVS), said that the University was keen on developing public private partnerships that address local issues. She said that the major challenge in seed production is ensuring that the breeder seed is of high quality which will give high yields. On receiving the seeds Mr. Willy Bett, Managing Director, Kenya Seed Company commended UoN for a job well done. He appreciated the University for coming up with bean varieties that have high yielding, good cooking qualities and easily adaptable to various farming zones. Mr. Bett said that the company is working towards supporting three UoN students who are passionate about beans breeding. Through the Plant Science and Crop Protection Department, several high yielding bean varieties have been bred and released for certified seed production for farmers in Kenya. Six of these bean varieties are licensed to the Kenya Seed Company which has entered into a memorandum of agreement with UON to commercialize the bean varieties. Last year, the University handed over 800 kilogrammes of white label breeders seed of two bean varieties, Kenya Red Kidney and Miezi Mbili. Breeder’s seed production is the first stage in production of certified seed and involves rigorous quality checks by the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services (KEPHIS). Once KEPHIS is satisfied that the seed bean crop conforms to the varieties specifications, then the crop is issued with a white label certificate which allows for further production of the seed to the next stage in the process of certified seed production.
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