The sixth conference on the Global Consortium of Higher Education and Research for Agriculture (GCHERA) opened in Nairobi, November 23, 2009.
Speaking during the official opening ceremony of the five day conference attended by over 200 scholars from 120 countries, President Mwai Kibaki challenged University researchers to focus on practical that could be of immediate benefit in Africa’s small scale farmers who were producing most of the continent’s food. Practical research he advised has the potential of reducing Africa’s high poverty levels which had been worsened by the current economic meltdown. The meltdown he said had slowed Kenya’s tourism sector.
Welcoming participants, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Mabel Imbuga said JKUAT’s Faculty of Agriculture; the oldest in the University had a reputation that had resulted in innovative solutions that have found their way right to the grass roots. JKUAT graduates she said were found in all agricultural sectors actively involved in production extension and generation of new knowledge.
Prof. Esther Kahangi, the organizing committee chair and Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Research and Extension said the conference whose focus was Food, Health and Energy challenges for sustainable Agriculture had all world acclaimed scholars and hoped it would come up with resolutions that will be able to resolve the many challenges facing the agricultural sector in Institutions of Higher Learning. Prof. Kahangi thanked sponsors who had assisted the organizing committee to stage the event. These include Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), Kenya Institute of Management( KIM), DAAD, and JKUAT.