May 13, 2024

Strathmore Agri-Food and Innovation Center: Pioneering Agricultural Transformation

Michael Nyabaige

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Agriculture is central to Africa’s economic growth, supporting livelihoods and ensuring food security and nutrition for millions. However, addressing data gaps to inform decision making for the multiple stakeholders within the agri-business landscape remains a key challenge. Unlocking agriculture’s full potential requires innovative, data-driven solutions and increased private sector involvement. Recognizing this imperative, Strathmore University is set to launch the Agri-Food Innovation Center (SAFI-Center) on Tuesday, 14th May 2024 with the aim to lead the transformation of food systems in Africa.

In anticipation of the official launch of the Strathmore University Agri-Food and Innovation Center (SAFI-Center), Strathmore University Business School hosted a media roundtable on Wednesday, 15th May 2024 at the Sarova Panafric Hotel to shed light on the critical role SAFI-Center will play within the Kenyan agricultural sector.

Speaking during the media roundtable, Prof. Simon Wagura Ndiritu, the Director of Center, outlined five key reasons why SAFI-Center is poised to make a significant impact in Kenya’s agricultural landscape:

  • Bridging the knowledge & skills gaps. The Center aims to address the existing gaps in knowledge and skills within the agribusiness sector, equipping stakeholders with the necessary tools for success.
  • Shortage and access to data. One of the major challenges facing the agricultural sector is the shortage of data, hindering effective decision-making. The Center seeks to bridge this gap by leveraging data to inform strategic initiatives.
  • Lack of investment-ready opportunities. Despite the potential for growth, there is a shortage of investment-ready agribusiness opportunities in Kenya. Under this, the Center aims to identify and develop such opportunities to attract investment.
  • Inadequate inclusive agricultural transformation. SAFI-Center recognizes the need for inclusive agricultural transformation that benefits all stakeholders, from small-scale farmers to large agribusinesses.
  • Food & nutrition insecurity. Addressing food and nutrition insecurity is a top priority for SAFIC, as it seeks to enhance food security and nutrition for all Kenyans.

Dr. Mujibi Denis, a faculty member at Strathmore Business School (SBS), underscored the importance of data-driven decisions in the agricultural sector. “To be able to make effective decisions, we need data. As it stands, the Kenyan agribusiness sector is plagued by a lack of access to data. There is a need to leverage data to solve our agribusiness needs,” Dr. Mujibi emphasized.

With the shortage of data and investment-ready opportunities within the sector, SAFIC adopts a triple helix approach, involving the government, private sector, and research centers. This collaborative effort aims to facilitate effective decision-making and drive sustainable agricultural development.

The launch will bring together stakeholders to co-develop solutions, share best practices, and chart a path towards sustainable agricultural transformation. Through showcasing successful data-driven initiatives and outlining SAFI-Center’s collaborative role, we aim to catalyze private sector-led growth, innovation, and resilient food systems in Africa.

Further, the launch of SAFIC represents a pioneering effort to merge business acumen with agricultural development and research in Kenya and Africa at large. By addressing key challenges and leveraging data-driven insights, the Center aims to transform the agricultural landscape, fostering growth, innovation, and inclusivity for all stakeholders.

Article by Juliet Hinga

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