KEFRI Board of Directors Tour Central Highlands Eco-Region Research Programme (CHERP)
The KEFRI Board of Directors had an opportunity to tour CHERP research facilities in order to better understand the science that is behind KEFRI as a centre of excellence. The tour that started in the labs was coordinated by Dr. Joram Kagombe, Regional Director CHERP.
The Board members began with the Pathology lab where Ms. Angela Muthama, Assistant Research Scientist Pathology broke down Forest pathology which is the study of tree diseases. These diseases begin at seed stage, seedlings and onto plantation level. She went on further to elaborate that at the initial stages chemical and cultural control can be used to manage diseases while at plantation level, early detection can prevent loss through pruning and removal of the affected material.
These diseases can cause stunted growth, staining of wood, rotting of timber and finally death of the tree. These conditions reduce tree yields and in the long term return on investment. As pathologists, KEFRI also offers advisory services to stakeholders from all walks of life.
In the Biotechnology lab Dr. Stephen Omondi, Research Scientist explained that the lab deals Population genetics to advise on conservation and tree improvement programmes for economically important tree species. This entails DNA isolation, quantification and characterization.
Dr. Eston Mutito, Chief Research Scientist explained to the Board Members the genesis of the Entomology lab and the connection between insects and a trees lifespan. He then conducted the guests in a visit through the Insectary which is the only one of it’s kind in East and Central Africa and will soon be accredited by KEPHIS.
The tour culminated in a visit to the seed centre where demonstrations of seed harvesting, extraction, drying and packaging were done. The seed centre dispatch unit is registered by KEPHIS thus allowing KEFRI to export seeds all over the continent.
|The board members at the pathology lab||The board members visit the greenhouse||The board members at the entomology lab||The board members with Dr. kagombe at CHERP|