The Center of Agricultural Networking and Information Sharing (CANIS)
College of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences, University of Nairobi
PO Box 29053, 00625, Kangemi, Nairobi-Kenya
The Center for Agricultural Networking and Information Sharing (CANIS) is an agricultural network of agricultural value chain actors that address the challenge of Food and Nutrition;by ensuring the right knowledge among the sectoral actors is delivered to those that deserve it. While hosted as an institute of the University of Nairobi; and offers training programmes certified by the university, we address sector wide challenges that if addressed would unlock the performance of the agricultural sector particularly within the evidence based thinking of sustainable development. We align our thinking to the CAADP framework as clarified by the Malabo Declaration and in line with Africa's Agenda 2063. We champion the process of effective wealth creation at the household level aligned to the Kenya's devolution process.
The Center has intensified itsoffering of ICT4Ag Programmes that promote harmony with its anchor programme that has been in existence since 2010 when CANIS for founded. TheMSc in Agricultural Economics which focusesonAgricultural Information and Communication Management (AICM)wasformulated to bridge the knowledge domains of agriculture, ICT, and Communications Management;so that graduates from the three knowledge domains can gain integrated knowledge with the areas they never specialized in at their undergraduate fusing their knowledge with the respective knowledge areas that others in the class specialized in. The blended programme also supports policyinstitutions in policy formulation, while also offeringconsulting services to development programmes. It does this by combining ICT, Agriculture and Communication Management to drive knowledge management related domains thatdevelopment requires.
Moreover, the Center supports the College of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences (CAVS) to create programmes that resonate with agricultural policies. This supports the college to keepaligned with emerging sectoral level, farmer and farmer organization oriented programmes that promote value chain based actors and in training and extension support for effective hands on perspective for wholesomeness in the sector.
Agricultural Productivity Courses (Short Courses)
We offershort courses to promote organizational productivity in the following knowledge areas:
1. Farmer Organizations' based Agribusiness Support Services
2. BIG Data or Evidence Based Decision Making Training
3. Agricultural process transformation among agricultural value chains
4. Productivity oriented training in customizedknowledge driven short courses supporting actors in value chain aligned organizational programmes
5. Training in Social Enterprise and Design Thinking driven Innovation
6. Agriculture based data and agribusiness journalism
For those keen to work with farmers, we have the privilege of working with young people who want to gain experience as they learn through our Faculty so that, what the accusation by the sector of having too much knowledge without practical touch is addressed. We create practical oriented graduates through our sandwich programmes, not for the University of Nairobi alone, but for all those that seek to work in farm based learning environments at the counties.
CANIS was created with the single focus of driving agricultural development in Africa by promoting the development and deployment of youths and professionals to the agricultural sector programmes. Our programmes are inspired through training in diverse agricultural aligned knowledge domains. All our programmes align with the country policy agenda in counties that seek our support. We listen and work with our clients to collaboratively design a path of progress that helps realize what the clients desire to see. We partner with governments,civil society organizations, and development partners,to formulate programmes that help them realize their desirable goals. We are at the disposal of all development initiatives at the local, county, country, continental and global levels...always an email away to facilitate listening and understandingof the development requirements client programmes may be interested to see address or,to help themarticulate their challenges. Weoffer learning and knowledge driven policy leaning, value chain linked agribusiness development, whichalign our propositions and solutions to what is collectively owned by our appointing authority.
The creation of CANIS was inspired by the agricultural transformation that is the process that we use to guide how farmers can shift from the highly diversified, subsistence-oriented production; to more specialized commercially oriented agriculture, in line with Africa's transformation thinking. We seek tosupport the producers engage more profitably with the market consumers in whatever organized form they may be. As a research driven institute, we teach and integrate our learners into our innovation processes so that they are part of thenewness and refreshingly profitable team that we are able to create. We promote new ideas on development with a view to transforming what exists to a new product or process. We seek transformation; through innovation that is driven by new people, inspired by old knowledge and experience that our Faculty generously passes to those that are our knowledge products- our students. Through our programmes, we challenge the thinking of those that have learned to live within their comfort zones. We assess the current position of any sector, organization, or value chains,and make proposals that can help realize the alignment with our development model. Guided by our leaning to agripreneurship, the fusion of agriculture and entrepreneurship, we challenge the actors in our change process to gain inspiration from past experiences. Wefuse these with the realities on the ground; so that we can retool what there may exist, to what newthere may be, that is desired. Join us and learn. You are invited.
Government DevolutionSupport: The Agriculture Pillar
Kenya has been going through enormous constitutional implementation challenges in an effort tomake devolution to work. Indeed, while other sectors were waiting for direction on how to devolve through guidancefromthe constitutional Transition Authority; the agriculture sector was itself devolvedfirst without any room for the technical people to be consulted by the Transition Authority. Lack of the inclusion of process thinking in the agricultural devolution process, Agricultural Research was separated from Agricultural Extension, and Extension Staff. The damaged occasioned by this reality is untold. Consequently, extension staff was left at the county level without the policy team that guided their everyday work in the centralized agricultural management within the old constitutional dispensation. With many differences arising from what is National Government Mandate and what was the County Government Mandate, the management of the agricultural sector has faced huge challenges. In order for devolution to be realized Kenya's Kenya Partnership for Sustainable Development Data has createdsectoral pillars that would guide data/evidence driven decision making at the macroeconomic level.
The Agriculture Pillar, one of the pillars created under the Kenya Data Forum Agenda is hosted at CANIS. CANIS therefore providesa point of convergence among pillar members to guide thenationaland county based programmesthrough a capacity building agenda of devolved agricultural service provision. We support institutions that seek to know how to use data and data solutions to drive development at the devolved unit levels. We offer to devolution the research led thinking behind what can drive the missing extension system. Weuse our students whose learning has now been transformed to ensure internship-led learning right from the first year of registration in the university to the highest level of research led Ph.D. learning. We also offer policy formulation support through our Faculty, and facilitate diffusion of such research in alignment with our college in collaboration with national agricultural research and the international research enterprises that we partner with through the agriculture pillar. This research is then delivered to those that need it through the extension support of our students and the institutions that we support to build that are domiciled at the county level.
Agricultural Value Addition Promotion
CANIS realizes that the desired goal in agriculture is to feed the consumer who pays the farmer for whatever they buy as farmers' produce. We support the thinking that while the consumer sets the standards and the price, at which they desire the produce to be sold at,calls for a business planning process is necessary. We support the realization that working with farmers and farmer organizations is critical. We however seek to follow a model that delivers economic results that increase a farmer's wealth. We realize that the delivery of the produce to the consumer can be easy or difficult depending on the level of value addition. We therefore promote, through our Faculty in the Agricultural Engineering and Food Science and Technology Departments, increased value addition along the supply chain. Thisis necessary if logistical handling is to be made easier and spoilage of producereduced to manageable levels. We appreciate that processing comes from engagement with our inter-faculty departments and therefore appreciate that value addition does not just mean processing of farmers' produce, but also the provision of support infrastructure for agriculture.
Our linkage with governments at the national and county levels makes us support the value addition thinking. This we do from a knowledge perspective to help the country realize the agenda of a commercially driven agriculture. This integrated focus then calls for increased and research driven investments in irrigation, feeder roads and off-grid energy access in the rural areas. When we interact with clients and governments, our value addition efforts seek to expand the agriculture infrastructure for promoting agribusiness and innovation. This ensures thatdemand pull from production is realized,thus promoting the production and sustainable management of the limited natural resources.
Promoting Community Owned Agribusinesses through the Agriculture Pillar
Realizing value chain driven wealth creation implies that farmers have an avenue of engaging with the market. Creating farmer businesses calls for knowledge driven processes that also deploy modern technologies. This is not possible when the average age of a farmer in Kenya is 60 years. CANIS relies on its partners to support the communities to create value chain agribusinesses. The partnerstrain youths and women, the actors at the household level, to become active knowledge workers. The critical benefit of partners working with CANIS is that partners take responsibility to create farmer owned organizations. The farmer organizations then become the agribusinesses that act as the business linkage with consumers. The Agriculture pillar partners as community individual farmers, capacity building organizations, government institutions, or development partners, become very critical players in CANIS framework of support to the agricultural sector. If you operate among any of these, CANIS is keen to explore collaboration with you and your organization.