KENYA – Global agricultural science and technology solutions provider, Syngenta, has commissioned its first Crop Protection Development (CPD) Knowledge Centre in East Africa based in Lioki, Kiambu County.

Syngenta East Africa Ltd, part of the Swiss-based seed and pesticide company, said the center is the first of its kind in Kenya and the fourth in Africa. Others are in Egypt, Zambia, and South Africa.

The center is a training and demonstration site where Syngenta can illustrate the performance of its innovative solutions in seed, pesticides, and other products developed elsewhere under local conditions, for the benefit of researchers, farmers, students, and government officials.

“We know that increasingly as farmers face more problems, the knowledge they had before is not sufficient to help them move through into the future,” says Frederick Otieno, the business area head and Managing Director of Syngenta, East Africa.

“With this facility, we can test our technology under local conditions. Farmers can see concrete examples where we are preparing a farm, where we are going through it with the programs we have recommended.”

It will also be instrumental in the popularization, dissemination, and transfer of knowledge on innovations and new technologies aimed at improving soil fertility, the management of seedlings, or the appropriate application of agrochemicals.

Pete veal, the head of Sub-Saharan Africa and Mid-Tier at Syngenta said the new center would contribute to food security by helping farmers adopt innovations to fight growing challenges.

The company is also working with the University of Eldoret to open another regional center that will serve western Kenya.

Otieno noted the centers are free and farmers can get all services they require, adding that the Kiambu center will also serve stakeholders from outside the country.

“The reason why this center is important is because of its proximity and centrality, where you can provide solutions that can be accessible to any farmer, not just farmers who are from here,” he said.

Kiambu executive in charge of Agriculture, Cooperative and Livestock docket Wilfred Mwenda said the center will help county extension officers in educating farmers.

Meanwhile, on a global scale, Syngenta Group has launched “Shoots by Syngenta,” a global platform designed to help tackle agriculture’s most complex challenges, increase innovation, and advance more sustainable agriculture.

Starting with science-based innovation challenges, the platform will connect scientific discovery and creativity, bringing together academics, research institutes, startups, and cross-industry sectors to collaborate with Syngenta’s global network of 5,000+ scientists.

Shoots by Syngenta” will also include a startup accelerator, providing a supportive ecosystem for early-stage companies developing new agricultural technologies. The startup accelerator will provide early-stage companies the opportunity to pilot their technology at Syngenta’s Farm of the Future and select grower farms globally, mentorship and access to industry experts, and an opportunity to present and test ideas with relevant business leaders and investors.

Cohorts of startups will enter a program connecting them with mentors, resources, and funding to accelerate their growth and impact.

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