Three students from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) were on September 27, 2018 rewarded after clinching top honours in the coveted Bayer innovation competition. The initiative was sponsored by Bayer East Africa Limited in collaboration with JKUAT.
Under the initiative, students were required to come up with innovative ideas that would be implemented in the agriculture sector.
Mellany Metah, Mary Gladys Waweru and Brian Pondi who were first second and third respectively, were selected after beating over 50 contestants in a thesis themed ‘Addressing Smallholder Farming Challenges through Innovations’ which was submitted to Bayer East Africa Limited and vetted by the Bayer East Africa Limited and JKUAT on potential actualization of the projects.
Mellany Metah, a fifth year Electrical and Electronics Engineering student, was awarded with a recognition trophy, a three-month internship program at both Bayer East Africa limited and its headquarters in Germany, while also receiving grants for implementing her project.
This was after her idea of creating a mobile application that disseminates analytical data and insightful information on weather patterns and climatic conditions in the user’s region emerged as the most realistic, new and practical in relation to the challenges the small holder farmers were facing.
Mary Gladys Waweru, a fourth year undergraduate student of Information Technology will also undertake a three-month internship program at Bayer East Africa besides a Ksh. 50,000 cheque. She came up with a mobile image recognition application that captures plant diseases by taking a picture and gives proper curative and preventive measures a farmer should take to solve the problem and suggested treatment chemicals.
Brian Pondi, who is a Computer Systems postgraduate student, received a recognition trophy and Ksh. 25,000 cheque for his idea of creating location-aware recommender system for seed varieties and crop types, which combines Geographic Information Systems and Artificial Intelligence to notify farmers which crops to plant and the best seed varieties for maximum yield.
Bayer East Africa Managing Director, Mr. Eric Bureau, congratulated all the participants for taking up the challenge; while lauding the partnership for improving the livelihood of small holder farming and boosting food security in the country.
“This initiative co-relates with our vision of promoting training of the youth to solve the needs of the small holder farmers through the private sector. With this partnership, we are able to improve lives through innovations and boost food security in the country,” said Mr. Bureau
Addressing the scholars, Deputy Registrar, Academic Affairs, Mr. J. M Kamau, who was representing the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi, also congratulated all the participants and called for more similar initiatives which directly benefit the students and the country.
“It is my pleasure to witness this occasion which is a critical moment for the students. I would specifically like to thank Bayer for their effort in addressing the livelihoods of majority of the Kenyans through this initiative,” said Mr. Kamau
Present during award ceremony was Mr. Phillip Oyier, the Coordinator of the initiative and Mr. Anthony Maina, Head of Communications and Public Affairs, Bayer East Africa Ltd.