The Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) has clinched the Most Striking Display (Demonstration of Locally Manufactured Products) Trophy at the ongoing 2017 Nairobi International Trade Fair (NITF) organized by the Agricultural Society of Kenya. The Trade Fair which commenced Monday, October 2, is expected to close Sunday, October 8, has attracted 316 local and international exhibitors.
During the awards ceremony at Jamhuri Park, Nairobi, Wednesday, October 4, His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta, congratulated JKUAT for the outstanding performance when he presented the Most Striking Display Trophy to the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Mabel Imbuga, who was accompanied by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research, Production and Extension) Prof. Mary Abukutsa.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, President Kenyatta detailed the measures taken by the government to guarantee Kenyans access to affordable food. He said, “For the last 4 years, we have taken steps to improve accessibility of fertilizer for our farmers at reasonable cost.”
During the financial year 2016/17, the Head of State said, “The government procured and distributed a total of 177,100 metric tonnes of various types of fertilizer to farmers at cost of 5.9 billion.” Subsidized fertilizer he stated, “Is retailing currently at Ksh.1800 per 50kg bag. This has resulted in stabilizing the fertilizer prizes aimed at further cushioning farmers against rising cost of inputs, government has further reduced the prize of planting fertilizer to sh. 1200 in the next season.”
He lamented that efforts made by his administration to protect consumers against high food prizes had been frustrated by pests and diseases, leading to high food prizes. To cushion Kenyans, the government had successfully implemented the subsidized maize flour program that has led to a reduction of the prize of maize flour from Ksh.150 per 2kg to Ksh.90.
“In order to boost food security and sustain affordable prizes of maize flour, President Kenyatta said, the government will buy under the strategic food reserve, all the maize offered for sale by farmers during the 2017/18 season and the government had set aside Ksh. 6 billion for that purpose. The government, he announced, had also constituted a multi institutional technical team of experts and provided Ksh. 300 million towards containing the Fall army-worm menace. During this year’s trade fair, whose theme is: “Promoting Innovation and Technology in Agriculture and Trade, over 316 local and international exhibitors compared to 350 last year are showcasing their services and products.
At the JKUAT Stand, academic programs have attracted potential students, while farmers have appreciated innovative farming methods as well as whole value chains aimed at enhancing food security and nutrition. The engineering workshop technologies have hit a popular chord especially with entrepreneurs and farmers, thanks to innovation solutions such as: the pressure popping machine, the sorghum thresher, multi grater; multi juicer processor, Briquetting machine, the three-in-one plant miller, juice pulper, organic farming as well as African indigenous vegetables.
Executive Secretary of the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) Prof. Adipala Ekwamu, visited the Stand and lauded the exhibitors’ ingenuity and knack for developing utilitarian technological solutions tailored at addressing human needs. Prof. Imbuga who is also the current RUFORUM Board Chairperson, guided Prof. Adipala on a tour of the Stand and appreciated him for engaging the innovators and pledging to create a platform for some JKUAT exhibitors to pitch their innovative ideas during future RUFORUM-organized events/conferences.
Prof. Adipala had first-hand experience of an array of JKUAT’s agro-based value added products from edible insects, sorghum and cactus Juices, Jams, wines as well as engineering technologies. Prof. Imbuga assured Prof. Adipala of the University’s commitment to develop more technological interventions. Present during Prof. Adipala’s visit were: Prof. Abukutsa, Registrar (RPE) Mr. Cyrus Kamau, Director of Research, Dr. Patrick Mbindyo and Director Extension and Technology Transfer, Mr. Nyori Mbugua.