Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology was declared the University with the Best Stand during the 2019 Nairobi International Trade Fair (NITF) beating her compatriots, the University of Nairobi and Kenyatta University, among other universities.
With stiff competition from multinationals, public and private institutions, among them, higher learning and research organizations, the honour of clinching the Best University Stand was complemented by bagging another first, the Best Innovation and Invention Stand.
The quadranscentennial institution also emerged 2nd in the Stand that Best Interprets Current Show Theme in the Education and/or Research category and in the Best Stand Embracing Information Technology and Communication classes respectively.
These accolades have once again affirmed JKUAT prowess in research, innovation and entrepreneurship in the country. In keeping with the theme of the show: Promoting Innovation and Technology in Agriculture and Trade, JKUAT researchers and exhibitors showcased several innovations geared towards agriculture and entrepreneurship. The innovations ranged from those in food security, agricultural mechanization, and agribusiness as well as value chain.
One of the innovations in particular was the Manufacturing Research Chair Project on technological innovations for quality and productivity in the coconut value chain. The project is geared towards strengthening the coconut value chain in Kenya, given that the coconut crop is grown widely along the Kenyan coastline, but its potential and benefits have not been fully exploited especially for small and medium size enterprises in the coconut sector.
The 5 year project, implemented in the coastal region, is supported by National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation (NACOSTI), and the Canadian International Development Research Centre (IDRC), under the University Research Chairs programme.
While lauding Universities and research institutions for providing leadership in discovering new varieties of crops that are both climate and disease resilient, President Uhuru Kenyatta said farmers need to modernize their agricultural processes and embrace technology and innovation in agriculture to eliminate hunger.
The president was speaking during the official opening of the Nairobi International Trade Fair where he stressed on the importance of value addition in agriculture especially for small holder farmers. He also visited the JKUAT stand and interacted with the various innovations being exhibited.
In their congratulation messages to the JKUAT team, the Vice Chancellor, Prof Victoria Ngumi and Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Research, Production and Extension (RPE), Prof. Mary Abukutsa lauded the team for their effort and hard work that made JKUAT stand out amongst the best in the region.
Prof. Ngumi further acknowledged that agriculture is a key component in driving the economy of the country and said JKUAT is committed to agricultural research and dissemination of the outputs that will be vital in tackling food insecurity and malnutrition in the country.