Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology pulled all the stops to clinch nine coveted top prizes in the Agricultural Society of Kenya (ASK) Trade classes, out of the eleven it entered at the ongoing ASK organized Central Kenya Show, 2014 Edition, which opened its doors to the public Wednesday, September 10.
Barring stiff competition from their equally worthy perennial rivals drawn from other public and private sector institutions JKUAT, which is marking its 20 Years Anniversary this year, reaffirmed its founding mantra in Setting Trends in Higher Education Research and Innovation by scooping; “The Best Engineering Based Institution of Higher Learning,” “The Best Innovation and Invention Stand,” “The Best Stand Exhibiting Agricultural and/or Earth Moving Equipment.”
The good tidings did not end there: The University was also declared “The Best Most Striking Display Large Stand,” “The Best Institution of Higher Learning in Developing and Advance Technology,” “The Best Stand in Development Research Institution,” The Best Agro –Processing Stand.”
JKUAT also bagged “The Stand that Best Interprets the Current Show Theme,” which is: “Enhancing Technology in Industry for Food Security and National Growth.”
However in “The Best Agricultural Based Statutory Board Stand,” the university had to contend with other seasoned competitors to emerge second best.
Besides the academic programs section which has been a very popular point of convergence, teeming with high school students, potential college students and parents inquiring about the courses on offer, ranging from engineering, IT, social sciences to medical sciences, the array of innovative products on display in the Department of Food Science struck a familiar chord with many visitors to the JKUAT stand, much so with the trendy Nissin Noodles which have attracted most students from schools such as St. Agnes Girls Boarding Primary School (Baricho), Bishop Gatimu Ngandu Girls, St. Mary’s Boys, Naromoru Girls, just to name a few.
Nissin staff had a busy day trying to satiate the appetite for the noodles from the students and the public at large, eager not only to sample but also to purchase the delicacies which come in Nyama Choma and Chicken Flavours.
On matters innovation, the institution has lived to its billing as a crucible for the distillation of cutting edge innovative ideas going by the number of new transformational technologies featuring for the first time at Kabiru-ini showground.
Innovations that are on exhibition at the university’s stand include: The Automatic hand washing system/machine developed by JKUAT mechanical engineering students; Paul Njoroge, Lawrence Kariuki and Peter Mathenge. The system is set to eradicate hygiene and sanitation challenges particularly the menace of contracting and spreading of germs and viruses associated with touching the water tap and the soap with bare hands after washing the hands at home, hotels and educational institutions. The machine has sensors that detect the presence of hands, soap etc. One doesn’t need to physically touch the tap or the soap.
On exhibition are also two innovations under the biomass and wind energy themes jointly developed and co-funded by JKUAT and JICA under the JICA BRIGHT Project at the Institute of Energy and Environmental Technology (IEET).
The Thermal gasification of rice husks for electricity generation and cooking project, is a versatile technology that utilizes the rice husks abundant in the rice growing areas like Mwea and Ahero, thus solving the problem of rice husk management as well as converting rice husks into useful energy resources – syngas for cooking and electricity generation. The current plant is appropriate for medium size use in institutions such as schools, prisons and kitchens.
According to the Director of IEET Prof. Robert Kinyua, and Dr. Paul Njogu, a large scale gasifier has been developed at Juja Main Campus and experiments on electricity generation and gas purification are ongoing.
Churchill Saoke from Department of Physics has also a developed a portable low speed wind turbine that is aerodynamically optimized to operate in low wind speed areas to address the shortage and accessibility to the national grid power. It provides emergency power backup for use in small scale electricity utilities such as homesteads, nomadic communities, camping sites among others.
The Demonstration Farm has also been a beehive of eager visitors especially farmers keen on learning the organic farming technologies employed to grow various crops, without using synthetic chemicals. Bio pesticides, bio-fertilizers and the role of earthworms drew curious glances of approval from the visitors to the farm.
The show which comes to an end on Saturday, September 13, will officially be flagged off by President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday September 12.