The 2015 Agribusiness Symposium and Expo and the 6th JKUAT Open Day opened Thursday, September 3, 2015. The forum organised by JKUAT in partnership with the Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC), is running under the theme: “Promoting and Adapting Technologies for Agribusiness; production, post-harvest and processing.”
The Governor Kiambu County Hon. William Kabogo in a message delivered on his behalf by his Deputy Hon. Gerald Githinji, thanked JKUAT and EAGC for organizing the symposium and Expo, saying, the forum will enable players in Agri-business sector to make business linkages and explore business opportunities for their products and services.
Principal Secretary, Ministry of Industrialization, Dr. Wilson Songa in a speech read by Director, Vision 2030 Hezekiah Okeyo said the importance of agriculture, which contributes 35% of the gross domestic product (GDP), in our economy, cannot be over emphasized.
“I am optimistic that this forum will address the systematic bottle necks that affect our agricultural sector and the farmers present will be able to use the knowledge gained to foster for a competitive and modern agricultural sectors,” said Dr. Songa.
Vice Chancellor Prof. Mabel Imbuga acknowledged the commitment of both parties in abiding to the Memorandum of Understanding signed early this year and hoped the symposium and expo will aid in improving post harvest technologies and reduce the over 30% of the agricultural product wasted after harvest.
“The Symposium is being held against a backdrop of various challenges facing farmers in the region. However, I am glad to note that the farmers will be sensitized on the need to store their harvest in collection centres and forward them to pre-certified warehouses,” said Prof. Imbuga
EAGC Executive Director, Mr. Gerald Masila said that for the agricultural sector to have a great impact, there is need to build viable linkages between the industry and academia.
“It is a high time that the researchers in our university to vigorously interact with both the farmers and industries for tangible results in the agricultural sector,” said Mr. Masila.
Mr. Masila added that EAGC seeks to further partner with the university to host scholarships to students who will showcase and want to research on issues related to providing solutions to the grain sector thus enhancing private public partnership.
Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research, Production and Extension) Prof. Esther Kahangi said the forum will immensely strengthen the linkage between the industry and academia, adding, the grain sector needs a lot of research and innovation to improve the value chain of grain products.
The symposium and Expo 2015 which seeks to address production related issues, processing of agricultural produce and value addition, post-harvest issues, use of new technologies and innovations in agriculture among others, ends on Friday, 4, 2015.