Students should be in the frontline in promoting climate smart agriculture and trigger action against climate change, a major threat to food security in the region. This is according to Principal, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Prof. David Mburu who acknowledged that new farming methods have to be developed and taught to enhance agricultural productivity.
Prof. Mburu was speaking during the handing over ceremony of greenhouse facilities and equipment by JICA to JKUAT, July 5, under the project dubbed “Survey with the private Sector for Dissemination Japanese Technologies on Greenhouse Horticulture for Local Farmers’ Sustainable Farming”.
The project, implemented by JKUAT in collaboration with Wago, a Japanese based company, focuses on the production of Japanese strawberries and cherry tomatoes for the Kenyan market. The greenhouse facilities and equipment are valued at Kshs. 10,126,700.
While lauding the project’s success over the three years of implementation, Prof. Mburu was confident that the project had given both the staff and student of JKUAT the requisite skills and knowledge relevant to the market and could be escalated to local farmers.
“The project if transferred to farmers, it will increase agricultural productivity and diversify the crop variety thus enhancing food security in the country,” opined Prof. Mburu.
Project Formulation Advisor, JICA Kenya Office, Ms. Emi Kurita said, technology transfer is an essential component JICA in order to ensure that they aid in delivering innovations and technologies that are beneficial to society and create economic empowerment.
Her sentiments were echoed by AFRICA-ai-JAPAN Project lead, Prof. Hiroshi Koaze who encouraged the students involved in the project to document and share the skills and knowledge gained with fellow students and farmers.
On the commercialisation aspect of the project, the JKUAT Project Coordinator, Prof. John Wesonga said the project has created demand for high quality strawberries and cherry tomatoes on the Kenyan market.
“To enhance the quality of the strawberries being produced, we introduced bees into the greenhouses for pollination,” said Prof. Wesonga.
Dean, School of Agriculture and Environmental Science, Prof. Elijah Ateka lauded the hands-on approach adopted by the project especially in greenhouse farming saying it will enhance competence-based learning that is being advocated by the government through the Ministry of Education.
The project has benefitted over 30 students who have gained practical skills in the production of strawberries and cherry tomatoes.