College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (COANRE) at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) convened a seminar to sensitize students on the role and benefits of Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya (FPEAK).
Principal, COANRE, Prof. David Mburu said, the seminar which took place on March 15, 2019 will enhance and strengthen operations between the two organizations.
“This forum aims at placing more emphasis on linkages between the University and industry, a major player in employment of our students”, he said.
Prof. Mburu lauded the initiative for providing students with internships and stressed the need for a paradigm shift in competence based education in an effort to churn out skilled and proficient students in the agricultural industry.
Speaking during the seminar, Technical Standards and Compliance Officer, FPEAK, Mr. Boniface Mulandi said that his organization’s mandate is to develop, unite and promote the Kenyan horticultural industry in the global world.
He further pointed out that FPEAK also prioritizes on market and technical support, while lobbying and advocating for capacity building among horticulture practitioners. “We aim at partnerships with institutions like JKUAT and developing partners to propel common and viable agendas”, he added.
The horticultural export sector, Mr. Mulandi noted, is an important foreign exchange earner for the country, but it was yet to be fully exploited due to lack of awareness. He stressed that more needed to be done to actualize its full potential.
He urged the students to use the valuable information available, be smart, open minded and ready to learn. “Be open and ready to transform what is outside the books. The world is dynamic and requires people who are go getters”, he said.
Reflecting on the seminar, John Beston, a Fourth year student in Horticulture hailed FPEAK for providing students with internships which he said was vital in acquiring hands on experience and crucial information in the exportation of horticultural products.
The Chair, Department of Horticulture and Food Security, Dr. Fridah Wanzala applauded FPEAK for its commitment in reviewing and improving students’ programmes. “FPEAK helps us review our programmes to make students be competent for the job market”, she concluded.
The joint initiative has been actualized through a signed five-year Memorandum of Understanding between JKUAT and FPEAK.