The process of variety release in Kenya involves several steps and stakeholders. Here is a general overview of the process:
1. Variety Development: The process begins with the development of new crop varieties by breeders and researchers. This involves selecting parent plants with desirable traits, crossbreeding them, and conducting multiple generations of selection and evaluation.
2. Preliminary Trials: Once potential varieties are identified, they undergo preliminary trials to assess their performance under controlled conditions. These trials evaluate traits such as yield, disease resistance, drought tolerance, and quality.
3. National Performance Trials: Promising varieties from the preliminary trials are then tested in multi-location trials across different agro-ecological zones in Kenya. These trials provide data on the adaptability and stability of the varieties across different environments.
4. Data Analysis: The data collected from the trials is analyzed to determine the performance of each variety. Statistical methods are used to compare the performance of the new varieties with existing ones and to identify any significant differences.
5. Variety Release Committee: A Variety Release Committee, comprising experts from various agricultural research institutions, is responsible for reviewing the trial results and making recommendations for variety release. The committee considers factors such as yield potential, disease resistance, market demand, and agronomic characteristics.
6. Variety Release Application: Once the committee recommends a variety for release, the breeder or research institution submits an application to the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS). The application includes detailed information about the variety, trial results, and any other relevant data.
7. Technical Evaluation: KEPHIS conducts a technical evaluation of the variety to ensure it meets the required standards for release. This evaluation includes field inspections, laboratory tests, and verification of the trial data.
8. Variety Release: If the variety passes the technical evaluation, KEPHIS grants a release certificate, allowing the variety to be officially released and marketed in Kenya. The breeder or research institution can then produce and distribute certified seeds of the released variety to farmers.
9. Seed Production and Distribution: Seed companies or other authorized entities are responsible for producing and distributing the certified seeds of the released variety to farmers. KEPHIS monitors the quality of the seeds through regular inspections and testing.
It is important to note that the process may vary slightly depending on the crop and the specific regulations and procedures of different research institutions and regulatory bodies involved in variety release in Kenya.