Organic agriculture is increasingly becoming important as a preferred avenue of production of farm produce to meet a growing market demand globally. In Kenya, there are already certified organic producers with products ranging from fresh vegetables and fruits to beverages like tea and coffee. The relevance of organic agriculture is more so due to the need and demand for more organically produced farm products which are free of chemicals and are ecologically sound and healthier. Consumer outlets both in the local and export markets are increasingly turning to organic products. Organic agriculture has been developing at a rate higher than the development of appropriate technical expertise to sustain it. At present, a graduate in the field of Agriculture will be well equipped in general aspects of agricultural production with emphasize on conventional production whose aim is higher yields and quality through higher chemical inputs. Without such chemical inputs, organic agriculture results in value added products and the production systems requires specialized approach. There is a gap of expertise that will be innovative and well equipped to address the challenges and requirement of organic farming. There is therefore need to build capacity in skilled manpower in this field. This course is designed to produce such skilled manpower at the technical level.
The overall objective of this course shall be to produce technical level manpower with knowledge and skills required for development of the organic agriculture value chain.
The specific objectives will be:
i) To provide training in various aspects of organic agriculture and related fields such as natural resource management and rural development.
ii) To facilitate the effective exchange of knowledge and expertise in organic agriculture, rural development and environment.
iii) To prepare professionals for participation in dissemination of organic agriculture knowledge to the community.
iv) To produce skilled manpower in organic product standards
(i) Pool of technical experts that contribute to development of the organic agriculture value chain
(ii) Increased organic agricultural production and consumption
(iii) Increased export and local marketing of organic products
(iv) Enhanced trade in organic products
(v) Development of organic products industries
The Diploma in Organic Agriculture course is designed for the following target groups;
(i) Secondary school leavers.
(ii) Certificate graduates from recognized agricultural and related training institutions.
(iii) Persons working in private and public sectors in agriculture and related fields.
Diploma holders from this course have career options in:
(i) Local and international firms working in production, handling, processing and marketing of organic products
(ii) Research institutions as technicians
(iii) Institutes of higher learning as technician
(iv) NGO’s and international organization dealing in agriculture
(v) Insurance and financial institutions dealing in agriculture
(vi) Consultants and auditors for the organic agriculture value chain
A candidate wishing to study for the University diploma in Organic Agriculture must satisfy the Minimum University requirements. A student must have passed Biology or Biological Sciences in the KCSE at a minimum grade of C plain, and must have obtained a minimum mean KCSE grade of C plain. In addition a student must have passed with a minimum grade of C- in any two subjects from the following alternatives;
Or a minimum of Division II in KCE, EACE, GCE, “O”- levels
Or Certificate qualification in organic agriculture or agriculture from a relevant institution.
Or any other relevant qualification.
The Diploma course in Organic Agriculture shall take three (3) academic years. Each year is made up of two (2) semesters of 16 weeks each. There will be eight weeks of field attachment between the second and final year of study.