Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) and the Standard Group Plc have entered into a 5- year partnership initiative that will see the two entities work jointly in research and development projects, institutional capacity building and exchange of professional information.
Under the partnership, among other things, JKUAT and the Standard Group will work on content generation and dissemination of information, exchange programmes for SG Plc staff and JKUAT staff and students, as well as sharing of existing facilities and equipment.
Speaking during the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding at the Standard Group Offices in Nairobi, JKUAT Vice Chancellor, Prof. Mabel Imbuga, said the signing signaled an important strategic milestone for JKUAT noting that “SGL is an important platform that could help Kenyans understand what JKUAT is doing as a training and research institution for their benefit.”
The Vice Chancellor said, JKUAT is home to experts in various fields and reiterated the institution’s readiness to work and support the Government through the partnership to find solutions for implementing the Big Four Agenda and cited food and nutrition security, affordable housing, healthcare and manufacturing as some of the areas where JKUAT has developed versatile technologies and innovations that can help the country achieve its development agenda.
Prof. Imbuga reported that JKUAT was interested in training Kenyans to embrace a culture of diversifying their feeding habits and singled out the edible insects research where the university has revealed the nutritional value inherent in the crickets and other edible insects that can help majority of Kenyans to tackle malnutrition and food insecurity. She revealed plans by the university to lead Kenyans in exploring full range of food benefits of maize production beyond the maize meal(ugali) to incorporate innovative value addition as part of the interventions aimed at ensuring that maize products are available in none traditional various formats under a partnership that is soon to be launched.
On mechanization, Prof. Imbuga shared the progress made by the university researchers and innovators in empowering Kenyan farmers on cost effective land preparation using the Shujaa Tractor – a home grown innovation. She welcomed the partnership which she noted, would provide a vibrant and viable platform through which the university can identify the myriad challenges Kenyans and Africans are grappling with.
While situating the role of the media as a partner, the Standard Group Acting CEO, Orlando Lyomu said, “There is so much the public needs to know and we see ourselves as the perfect partners because JKUAT is a focused and innovative institution which has established and distinguished itself in terms of quality.We have had the opportunity to work with JKUAT Alumnus and they are fantastic.”
Mr. Lyomu observed that “SGL Plc is happy to walk into this partnership and we are committed to ensure that what we do impacts on society. As a media house, we will try to ensure we play our role, as a conduit to pass the information through our various products, using the platforms that speak to specific issues and areas. We will collaborate on research and development to help us mutually, build capacity for us as media, and across the board to do positive things.” If we share more, we all grow. If we share less, we all shrink. As JKUAT you have chosen the right partner. We are committed and this partnership speaks very well to our future strategic direction.”
He revealed that the media house was working on new platforms to reach bigger constituencies of listeners, viewers and readers. We appreciate the support and relationship we have had over the years. Our partnership is not defined by volume of business but the value of our outputs,” he concluded.
Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research, Production and Extension), Prof. Mary Abukutsa, said, “For a long time we have been exploring how we can channel the JKUAT technologies and innovation solutions to various end users.”
With this collaboration, she explained, “We will be able to package our research outputs in a way that Kenyans can easily access across the country to address social and economic challenges. As a university, we have been asking: what can we do to help the government solve existing problems? This partnership therefore an encouragement to our researchers and innovators and we hope to share and learn from one another,” Prof. Abukutsa observed.
The JKUAT team at the ceremony included: Deputy Vice Chancellor (Administration), Prof. Victoria Ngumi; Principal, College of Engineering Technology, Prof. Bernard Ikua; Dean, Faculty of Agriculture, Prof. David Mburu; Chief Legal Officer, Vivian Nyambura; Director of Research, Dr. Patrick Mbindyo; Director of Linkages, Dr. Kaibui Mwikamba and Chief Corporate Communications Officer, Dr. Michael Ngonyo.