Agricultural engineering teaching and research at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology has received a major boost following the donation of a KSh. 12 million irrigation system by a consortium of Italian companies. The equipment that supports a number of agricultural applications such as irrigation, de-flooding and mud drainage will also be crucial in JKUAT’s role in implementing a number of government led irrigation projects such as Galana Kulalu.
Speaking during the equipment handover on Tuesday September 26, 2018, Deputy Head of Mission at the Italian Embassy in Kenya, Angela Loi said the initiative sets the tone for further collaboration between Italian firms and Kenyan organizations towards sustainable development.
Angela added that the equipment will be essential in training students to effectively confront both current and future challenges relating to agriculture and food security.
While receiving the equipment, Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Ngumi said the gesture will see JKUAT students and faculty exposed to practical and hands-on skills on industrial power units; towards optimized irrigation for different food crops in Kenya.
The Vice Chancellor further lauded the initiative as strong testimony of academia-industry and government partnership, adding that it also sits well with aspirations of North-South collaboration in the fields of research, innovation and technology transfer.
“The system is a significant addition to the country’s industrialization bid through irrigated farming and the realization of government’s Big 4 Agenda, especially the food security pillar,” Prof. Ngumi said.
The donation was made possible courtesy of CNH Industrial, FPT Industrial, the Milan Centre for Food Law and Policy; and the E4Impact Foundation.
In a video message, President of Milan Centre for Food Law and Policy Livia Pomodoro lauded the partnership, averring that sustainable agriculture was one way of mitigating harmful effects of climate change; while fostering food security for all.
Head of Sustainable Development Initiatives at the CNH Industrial, Daniela Ropolo said the company was implementing a number of development initiatives in Africa and urged JKUAT students to prioritize learning and make best use of the equipment.
FPT Industrial’s Head of Global Marketing, Federico Gaiazzi said his organization was keen on implementing the partnership that will also see students taken through training sessions on sustainable farming.
Kenya Country Manager for E4Impact Foundation, David Cheboryot said his organization will continue to spearhead collaboration between local universities and Italian companies in order to produce competent and entrepreneurial graduates who can drive global aspirations on sustainable development.
The equipment handing over ceremony was also attended by Deputy Vice Chancellor, Prof. Mary Abukutsa; and Prof. Daniel Sila who heads the JKUAT team in the project.
“The equipment will also enhance the capacity of JKUAT farm to produce food crops for use within the university and the its environment,” Prof. Sila said.