Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Academic Affairs, Prof. Romanus Odhiambo has hailed the existing strong collaborative initiative between the University of Okayama and JKUAT, which he said, has enhanced JKUAT’s profile and global character.
“JKUAT is a University of global excellence in Training, Research and Innovation for Development and our global character is best illustrated in terms of research exchange programs, research publications, collaborations, students and staff exchange such as the one that exists between JKUAT and Okayama University,” said Prof Odhiambo.
The don, who is also the Project Director of Africa-ai-Japan Project, spoke when he officially opened, “The Innovations for Harnessing Bio-Resources Seminar,” Monday, October 19 at Juja Main Campus.
The seminar which was jointly organized by Pan African University, JICA and JKUAT, brought together leading researchers from Okayama University, Japan, and their Kenyan counterparts at JKUAT who shared research findings and experiences with academic staff and students.
While affirming the strong working relationship between Okayama University and JKUAT, the Prof. Wataru Sakamoto, who was also the Japanese team leader, gave a historical background to the Asia-African Scientific Program (AASP), noting, “Between 1999 and 2014, about 14 Kenyan researchers and students had benefited under the program.”
The Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research, Production and Extension) Prof. Esther Kahangi underscored the essence of innovation and challenged all the researchers engaged in the enterprise of knowledge production and dissemination to remain awake and faithful to their research endeavours by working toward finding solutions that will bring real change to the country’s agricultural value chain. “There are so many problems in the entire value chain, and if you are committed, you will help in addressing these challenges,” she noted.
Prof. Kahangi underscored the significance of the JKUAT/Okayama University collaboration and challenged JKUAT researchers to tap into the opportunities provided by the institutional synergy and aspire to publish in high impact research dissemination journals that would add value to our societies, she added.
The one day seminar saw a total of eight research presentations from Kenyan and Japanese researchers. Prof. KUBO Yasukata shared his research on regulation of fruit ripening, while Prof. T. Losenge made a strong case for bio-pesticide as the future for pest management in horticulture, as did Dr. J. M. Maina who showed the significance of probiotic in human health and nutrition.
Other facilitators were Prof SUZUKI Nobuhiro (A new virus life style challenging the virus rules and concepts); Prof. GALIS Ivan (Molecular mechanisms of rice defense against herbivores: perception, hormonal signaling and metabolites); Dr. Lucy Murungi (Spider mite-host interactions: morphological and chemical defense in African nightshade); Prof SAKAMOTO Wataru (Dissecting important QTL traits for molecular breeding in sorghum) and Prof. KANZAKI Hiroshi (Power of microbes – From Sake brewing to production of bioactive compounds).
Among those present during the seminar were – Africa-ai-Japan Project team who included Prof. Tsunoda Manabu; Prof. Shinjiro Shiomi; Mr. Noriaki Tanaka, Dr. Daniel Sila, Prof. Martin Obanda; Chair Horticulture Dr. Fridah Wanzala; Dean Faculty of Agriculture Dr. Mburu; as well as students and staff from the Faculty.