Academia-Industry Ties are Critical in Addressing Challenges

A section of the participants during the webinar

Fostering meaningful interactions and partnerships between industry and institutions of higher learning is vital in leveraging on research tailored to effectively address industry and societal challenges.

This was said during the 26th Innovation Incubation Webinar titled, “Happy Healthy Living with BIDCO Africa Limited-Opportunities and Collaboration with JKUAT,” Friday, 1 October, 2021.

The event was organized to give the University community a feeling of what BIDCO does and the available opportunities that students and staff could tap into.

In his opening remarks, Dean, School of Food and Nutritional Sciences (SOFNUS), Prof. Daniel Sila, said, partnerships between institutions is important as it fosters exchange of ideas as well as expertise which in turn, spurs intellectual and developmental growth which is important to the country.

“As JKUAT, we find inspiration to work with industry and this event shows our commitment and effort in the University’s mission of promoting partnerships in a move to finding viable solutions to the challenges facing the society,” Prof. Sila asserted.

He underscored the importance of stakeholders recognizing issues early enough experienced in the industry in order to get the requisite antidote to emerging issues.

Prof. Sila further added that responsiveness will be significant in anchoring the push in finding solutions noting interaction with established industries such as BIDCO will ensure learning institutions are at the forefront in providing up to date solutions.

Mr. Ojwang gives his presentation

Head of Agri-business Development, BIDCO Africa Limited, Mr. John Kariuki acknowledged that there are various areas that academia and industry could collaborate, ranging from production of oil seeds (Soybean), reducing cost of animal feed and as well as addressing post-harvest losses.

“Sustainability projects are important in serving the community and the country at large. As major players in Agriculture, we need to find ways we can collaborate to come up with a small-scale harvester for soybeans and sunflower to ensure we reduce post-harvest losses,” Mr. Kariuki, stated.

Head of Corporate Communications and Public Relations, BIDCO Africa Limited, Mr. Willis Ojwang Ongenda said the company aims to partner with like-minded institutions of higher learning with a view to improve their products as well as exchange ideas that will benefit both institutions.

“At BIDCO we know the importance of producing quality products which are nutritious with consumers being health conscious especially this covid-19 era. By nurturing collaborations, we will get information from food researchers thus ensuring our products meet the demands for ever the changing market,” said Mr. Ojwang.

With consumers increasingly looking for specific foods for their health benefits against a backdrop of rising healthcare cost and growing attention of self care strategies, Mr. Ojwang pointed out that BIDCO strives to educate the masses through various platforms on the need to eat healthy foods, thus keeping non-communicable diseases at bay.

The Chief Adviser, Africa-ai-Japan Project, Prof. Hiroshi Koaze thanked BIDCO for their invaluable information on the various areas that higher learning institutions can collaborate with the industry.

Prof. Koaze gives his remarks during the webinar

He commended BIDCO’s approach from conserving the environment and striving to improve human health saying, the industry plays a major role in addressing societal problems. He noted that collaborating with academia would ensure they interact with researchers in a move that will be essential in tackling issues facing the industrial sector.

Prof. Koaze called for further collaborative efforts between higher learning institutions and the industry explaining that more was needed to be done to improve the society.

JKUAT and BIDCO Africa Limited signed a Memorandum of Understanding on January 2021 aimed at enhancing development and research through training and innovation.

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