Dr. James Kamau Karanja
Senior research officer - KALRO
Dr. James Kamau Karanja

Embrace Improved Maize Varieties for Kenya's Prosperity

About the Project

Research Summary and Technology

The use of fall armyworm (FAW) tolerant improved maize varieties holds the key to enhancing maize productivity in Kenya. The destructive impact of FAW on maize production has led to reduced availability and affordability of quality food. Resorting to pesticides for control has resulted in adverse effects on human health and the environment, escalating the cost of maize cultivation and lowering yields, causing maize prices to soar. However, the introduction of FAW tolerant maize varieties brings hope to farmers by minimizing pesticide use, boosting productivity, ensuring access to uncontaminated food and feed free from aflatoxins, increasing income, and promoting a more affordable cost of living. These varieties, which are currently unavailable in the Kenyan market, have been successfully tested and preferred by farmers across various regions. Their exceptional performance, along with the characteristics of flint-like grains, high grain weight, flour density, and sweet taste, makes them even more appealing. Moreover, the stalks are suitable for silage making, and their commercial use is expected to significantly reduce ear damage and aflatoxin contamination while increasing foliage, further benefiting the maize industry and food security in the country.

Images Dr. James Kamau Karanja's Innovation

About the Researcher

Dr. James Karanja hold degrees in Bachelor of Science in Biology, MSc in Genetics from the University of Nairobi and PhD in Plant breeding from University of Kwa Zulu Natal. His work focuses on developing improved maize varieties, currently focusing on Maize Lethal and Necrosis (MLN), drought and Fall armyworm (FAW) tolerance/resistance. He is currently coordinating for TELA maize project focusing in commercializing Bt maize and MLN Genome.

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