The department of Biomechanical and Environmental Engineering together with the Vice Chancellor (R.P.E) and Dean SoMME held a very successful meeting with the Top managers of John Deere tractors International. Two meetings were held chaired by the Dean (SoMME), Prof. Ikua and Deputy Vice Chancellor (R.P.E), Prof. Kahangi.
The managers were welcomed to the university and toured areas that were relevant to their work. The Deputy Vice Chancellor (RPE) appreciated that a representative company from the Industry had shown interest in working with JKUAT.
An overview of the John Deere Company was presented by Mr. Ricardo Salazar. He gave examples of the company’s products and their aspirations for the future. The John Deere Company is mainly in the business of manufacturing of large, medium and small scale machines and implements to suit the needs of all farmers and crops. They also provide spare parts, after-sales services and maintenance. They reported that the move of populations from the rural to urban centres was the driving force behind the company’s need to manufacture a wider variety of machines since there were fewer people available to work on the farms and grow food for the growing population
John Deere team suggested the following as possible areas of collaboration:
1. Placement and internships for JKUAT undergraduates and graduates
2. Establishment of a training school or centre in the University
3. University to assist the company in expanding their presence in the country
4. In the area of research, company to assist by funding some research projects
Possibility of collaborating in manufacturing of simple machines and spare parts in-country were suggested during the discussions that would hopefully make the equipment cheaper and more affordable to the small scale farmers.
The research component was identified as move in the right direction where its findings would be disseminated to the public. Areas that require research attention are those that present major challenges to our small scale farmers such as: Marketing, Postharvest losses (storage facilities), Yield per acre, Renewable energy,Pollution control, Land fragmentation and its effects on food production.
Their visit was honored by having the managers plant trees at the department of BEED.