His Excellency Deputy President Hon. William Arap Ruto has hailed the partnership between JKUAT and Keroche Foundation as the best case approach that will significantly contribute towards the realization of Kenya Vision 2030.
Speaking during the official launch of the JKUAT /Keroche Foundation partnership, Ruto reiterated that “to achieve Vision 2030, we need to develop the relevant skills among the young people. Not education for its own sake. It must be relevant.”
Noting that to midwife the national development blueprint, Kenya needed to invest in “programs and technology,” Hon Ruto further said, the government required about 30,000 artisans; 90,000 technicians and 22,000 technologists,” adding that these were “hands-on people who could be relied upon to run the wheels of our economy.”
The Deputy President lauded the two partners. “I am happy about the collaboration between Keroche Foundation and JKUAT. That’s the process we need to initiate. We need to identify and develop skills and competencies in our young people,” he averred.
Speaking on the MOU between the Keroche Foundation and JKUAT’s Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Technology, the Keroche Foundation CEO Mr. Joseph Nyongesa said, the partnership will among other things, “facilitate the roll out of the market friendly innovations, formulations and technology packages to agro entrepreneurs and farmers at the grassroots level.”
He further revealed that in the first year, “the partnership will target mango farmers because the mango agriculture is enormous, with an estimated 6 Billion shillings per year. He however noted that in Kenya, increased production had led to a 50 %post harvest loss and main reason being excess fruits in the market during the peak seasons.”
The Keroche Breweries CEO Tabitha Karanja said, through the Keroche Foundation’s “Hakikisha” Fund, they will provide tools for entrepreneurs and medium processors who will directly benefit the local farmer, and further revealed that as an entity, they will work with JKUAT, manufacturers, the Jua kali sector, and the local entrepreneurs to ensure that “the technology to dry, process and pack starts being available at the local level and the information of how to do it available to more.”
In her address, the Vice Chancellor Prof. Mabel Imbuga welcomed the partnership for its forward looking theme: “Unlocking potential of the new generation of Kenyan business people through mentorship,” adding that collaborations between universities and industries have contributed greatly to the development of many countries in the world. “As a cue, JKUAT recently won a bid to host a multimillion science and technology incubator to develop and industrialize sorghum and its multiple value added products, mainly human food, animal feeds and energy.”
Prof. Imbuga also noted that JKUAT had produced a significant number of innovations mainly in the areas of agriculture, engineering machinery, chemical and beauty products which have secured patents and trademarks from Kenya’s intellectual property agency and were ready for commercialization. The VC opined that uptake of such technologies across Kenya’s counties would greatly contribute to food security in the country.