A multimillion shillings partnership food factory being constructed at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology will be operational by December 2017.
The Kshs 350 Million factory, a joint venture between the University and Nissin Food Holdings Company Limited of Japan, will mainly manufacture instant noodles. The factory is expected to produce 150 packets of noodles per minute.
Speaking during the ground breaking ceremony for the construction of the factory at the University in Juja, Friday, August 26, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Mabel Imbuga, hailed the collaboration between the University and the various establishments in Japan, which had positively impacted the lives of many Kenyans.
Once the new venture is completed, Prof. Imbuga pointed out, Kenyans will have an opportunity to increase food security, enhance their incomes through the supply of raw material, create wealth, avail employment opportunities, research and technology transfer.
She urged the Government through Education Ministry to incorporate instant noodles in the school feeding programme as a way of diversifying Kenyans’ nutrition culture. “Instant noodles are easy to cook, easy to transport, have a long life, are nutritious and healthy, and still, they are appropriate for school feeding programmes and other institutional sales,” she said.
The President of the Association of African Economy and Development (AFRECO) Mr. Testuro Yano commended JKUAT for its clear focus in her programmes and projects. He said AFRECO was ready to partner with the University’s professionals to venture into a project aimed at building Juja into a ‘Smart City.’
The Chairman of the University Council, Prof. Paul Kanyari Njuki assured those present that his University would strive to maintain the good manufacturing practices in the factory in line with the work ethic inculcated at JKUAT by the Japanese. He thanked the Kenyan Government for the supporting the University.
The joint venture with JKUAT started in 2007 when Nissin Foods Holding Company Limited was celebrating its 50th Anniversary, during which the company donated the OISHII Project to JKUAT as a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activity to provide free lunch of instant noodles to school pupils for two years.
The project became successful as it improved performance of the pupils, their school attendance, good health and happiness. The two later established JKUAT Nissin Foods Ltd which was registered in 2013 with part of the agreement being to provide technology transfer, research facilities and employment opportunities.
Currently, the four instant noodles flavours manufactured at JKUAT namely, nyama choma, chicken, tomato-onion and masala are available in the sales outlets of big supermarkets and retail shops.
Others who addressed the gathering were Mr. Tsuyoshi Shiotsu from Nissin Foods Holdings Company Ltd (Japan), University’s Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Research, Production and Extension Prof. Esther Kahangi and the Project’s Director Prof. Simon Muhoho Njoroge.