The third cohort of 25 Bachelor of Science in Agriculture students jetted back to the country, July 2017, after completing an eleven-month apprenticeship programme in Arava International Centre for Agricultural Training (AICAT), Israel.
The students underwent frontal studies, agricultural practical work especially in horticulture, irrigation and livestock. One of the beneficiaries of the apprenticeship, Kenneth Kiplang’at Chepkwony, is confident that the technical training he received in Israel will mold him into an asset of value to Kenya within the spheres of food safety and security.
“With the knowledge gained especially in livestock and dates farming, I plan to start demonstration farms hoping that I will help the youth of this productive country see agriculture as a viable venture to invest in,” said Kenneth.
His counterpart, Lucy Wangari, acknowledged that the programme cultivated her work ethics and her passion for agriculture grew tenfolds. Lucy reckons that for Kenya to increase her production in agriculture and achieve food security, those involved in agriculture should create a platform to share experiences and lessons learnt.
“The farmers in Israel understand that every minute in agriculture counts. Their success in agriculture is pegged on research, crop management and sharing of information,” attested Lucy.
Hephzibah Kakai, another beneficiary, was astounded by the agricultural innovations that took place on a daily basis and the rareness of agricultural wastage as is the case in most of our Kenyan farms. “It a high time that Kenyan farmers diversify their agriculture. We have a very conducive environment to innovate in farming and efficiently produce all year long.”
As many new experiences go, it was not a walk in the park for most if not all of the students. Unlike in Kenya, the students faced both hot and cold weather in significantly high measure. There was also the issue of language barrier which saw Kennedy buy detergents that he mistook for food.
It was not all gloom though, as it saw Hephzibah introduce an English club and Lucy learn the local dialect.
As the the fourth cohort of 29 Bachelor of Science in Agriculture students from JKUAT left the country, July 31, 2017, the University is optimistic the programme will enhance technology transfer between Israel and Kenya and maximise on the untapped potential in the country especially in Northern Kenya which has similar topography as Israel. The 29 are among 120 students drawn from 10 other institutions in the county.