Prof Kimani's biography

Prof. P. M. Kimani received both an M. Sc. in Agronomy and PhD in Genetics and Plant Breeding from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in a record three and half years in July 1983. He has extensive research and teaching experience in genetics and plant breeding, agronomy, seed science and technology which he has taught to both undergraduate and graduate students in the last 29 years. His major interests include teaching, variety development, agronomy of both field and horticultural crops and technology transfer among smallholder farmers. Prof. Kimani has worked for several years with smallholders in most of the high, medium potential and arid and semi-arid areas of Kenya in developing, testing of new varieties on-farm and development of informal seed dissemination channels and farmer

participatory research. His research work resulted in the first early maturing pigeonpea in East, Central and Southern Africa which is now grown by thousands of farmers in semi-arid areas of Kenya and laid solid foundation for further improvement work. Several other variety releases have contributed significantly to food security and poverty alleviation to resource poor families in the region.

His pioneering work in onion improvement yielded the first locally developed high yielding, disease resistant onion cultivars, which were formally released by the Ministry of Agriculture in 1994. Prof. Kimani and his collaborators innovatively demonstrated that local production of onion seed (for which traditionally, the country depended wholly on importation) was feasible. His work on bean improvement which started in 1986, resulted in the first improved early maturing bush bean varieties with multiple disease resistant (such as Miezi Mbili, Kenya Sugar bean, Kabete Super, New Rosecoco) market preferred seed characteristics and yields that significantly exceeded the current commercial varieties, and the first climbing bean varieties such as Kenya Mavuno, Kenya Safi and Kenya Tamu. These climbing beans have two to three time the yield potential of bush bean varieties grown by Kenyan farmers. Prof. Kimani is

credited with the development of a new market led breeding strategy for common bean, which has been adopted by national agricultural research institutes (NARIs) in 18 countries in East, Central and Southern Africa. This strategy has been adopted by more than 17 countries in east, Central and Southern Africa, and is spreading to West Africa. Prof. Kimani and his team has also developed and disseminated several improved varieties of garden pea, maize inbred lines, and potatoes some of which are now being studied as models of informal technology transfer by regional and international research centers.

 

 A wide impact strategy he pioneered in 2001, has been adopted in several countries and

Was used to reach more than 35million people with bean-based technologies in east, central and southern Africa between 2003 and 2008. Prof. Kimani has been the recipient of more than 15 competitive research grants and awards from USAID, Rockefeller Foundation, International Development Research Center (IDRC) Canada, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, nternational Center for tropical Agriculture (CIAT), European Union, Koret Foundation, Kilimo Trust, irkhouse Trust and the governments of Belgium, Germany and Israel in the last 23 years. In a recent symposium in Arusha, Tanzania, USAID, which funds the Regional Bean Program, recognized Prof. Kimani as one the two top breeders in Africa. Prof. Kimani recently played a significant role in a global consortium of eminent scientists in development of a project on combating micronutrient malnutrition through novel plant breeding approaches funded by a consortium of donors led by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Kenya developed the world’s first biofortified bean varieties in 2008(and released in 2012and 2013) . Prof Kimani is the author of more than 150-refereed scientific publications and book chapters. He has co-authored four books and one monograph, more than 90 conference papers and has written more than 70 technical reports based on his research work.

Considerable equipment (computers, laboratory equipment, vehicles etc) greenhouses, scholarships, overheads worth millions of shillings have been donated to the University of Nairobi through these projects. They have also contributed very significantly to the recognition of the University of Nairobi as a center of excellence and scholarship in Crop Improvement, regionally and globally. Prof. Kimani has served on various administrative positions, organized and attended several workshops and conferences and collaborated with many scientists, locally and globally. Prof. Kimani led an investigative committee on student disturbances and made recommendations to the CAVS Management Board, which significantly contributed, to innovative resolution of student problems. Prof. Kimani has supervised more than 60 graduate students, most now teaching, conducting research and administration in public and private universities in the country and beyond. He has served as an external in Moi, Egerton, Jomo Kenyatta, and Makerere universities in East Africa and also University of Zambia and University of Zimbabwe. He is regarded as an authority in plant breeding and genetics and a consultant in research and development for horticultural companies in Kenya and Tanzania.

 He is a member of several professional societies and was the founding chairman of the Crop Science Society of Kenya. In December 2007, Prof Kimani was recognized and honoured as the best research scientist in the Faculty of Agriculture, and College of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences, University of Nairobi. On 12 December 2008, Professor Kimani was decorated with national colours and awarded the Elder of Burning Spear (EBS) National Honour by His Excellency President Mwai Kibaki in recognition of his contribution to agricultural research and science in Kenya and Africa in general

 

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