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Kenyan insect institute named bee research hub

OIE, the World Organisation for Animal Health, has picked the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology in Kenya as its first collaborating partner in bee health research.

As the OIE’s fifth African collaborating centre, Icipe will gather and analyse data on bee health in Africa. It will coordinate research within its region and specialty, and advise the OIE in its area of expertise.

The centre will study how climate change, deforestation and habitat loss affects bee populations in Africa and globally. It will also look into the global threat of bee colony collapse disorder, which has led to a drop in bee populations worldwide.

Welcoming the centre’s designation in an 11 July announcement, Icipe director-general Segenet Kelemu said: “This designation is significant as it formally recognises Icipe’s role as a hub of bee health expertise.”

Kelemu hoped the recognition will open up partnership opportunities for his institution: “We believe [this] will elevate our continent-wide basis and mandate, and provide further confidence for stakeholders in Africa to collaborate with us.”

Icipe says the partnership will expand research in its satellite centres located in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ethiopia and Liberia, in its training centre in Madagascar, as well as in its reference lab in Nairobi.

Icipe is Kenya’s first OIE collaborating centre. Ethiopia hosts the Pan-African Veterinary Vaccine Centre focusing on vaccine quality control. Senegal hosts a centre for veterinary training for West and Central Africa. The remaining two centres are based at Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute in South Africa. They target disease surveillance and integrated training for livestock and wildlife health.