The Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology joined other members of the African agricultural fraternity during the 4th RUFORUM Biennial Conference, held between the 21st and 25th of July, 2014. The conference was hosted by the Eduardo Mondlane University, and held at the VIP Grande hotel in Maputo, Mozambique.
The high level conference brought together a total of 567 participants, from 41 countries. The majority of participants were drawn from the 41 RUFORUM member institutions, located in the East, Central, West and Southern Africa regions of the African continent. Other participants included representatives of governments, non-governmental organizations, stakeholders and collaborators from as far afield as Europe, the Americas, Asia and Fiji. Dignitaries in attendance included the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, African Union Commissioners, Agricultural ministers and heads of universities and agricultural research institutions from various parts of Africa.
The conference focused on the transformation of African agriculture, through exploiting the innate leverage of high performing African Universities, which then act as agents of change in the local, regional and continental development of agriculture. The conference demonstrated a convergence of the policy priorities of the African Union and the objectives of RUFORUM, in building a vibrant agricultural sector. Indeed, this underlying theme was highlighted in a keynote address offered by Her Excellency Graça Machel, who offered a stirring call for African agriculture to move beyond the hoe, and on to the realm of value addition and agribusiness for development.
Prof. Mabel Imbuga, the Vice Chancellor of JKUAT, offered an oral presentation titled ‘The role of networking and Harnessing innovations in Higher Agricultural Education’, which offered the unique experiences and perspectives of JKUAT when viewed as model African University. This presentation formed a key part of a plenary session dedicated to the integration of higher education in the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP), and national development plans.
After the plenary session, Prof. Imbuga joined the Dean of Agriculture, staff and students of JKUAT in hosting counterparts from other universities to the JKUAT exhibition stand, where the university highlighted the activities of the Faculty of Agriculture, their programs and their products. Guests were greatly impressed by the degree of value indicated by the food products on display. Based upon the level of interest amongst the visitors, it is expected that new collaborations will result from the interactions and networks created during the conference