Thirty (30) JKUAT students and alumni from the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (COANRE) are set to undergo an eleven (11) month internship program at Arava International Centre (AICAT) in Israel from July 2023.
The successful candidates who attended the interviews held at JKUAT on Thursday, May 31, 2023 will be the 7th cohort since the inception of the JKUAT-AICAT partnership in 2016.
Speaking to the more than 70 candidates who turned up for the interviews, Principal, COANRE Prof. Daniel Sila informed the students that the nominations preceding the interviews were based on their discipline, academic excellence and soft skills which are vital for intercultural relations and networking.
He advised them to uphold the University’s core values in order to safeguard the institution’s reputation, and subsequently maintain the partnerships forged with the Israeli government for the continuity of the internship program.
“The College of Agriculture has established strong networks with the Kenyan and Israeli business communities and so there are numerous opportunities available to us. As a result, you will be able to utilize the expertise you will acquire whether in JKUAT or Israel, said Prof. Sila.
Prof. Sila further said, there are measures in place to provide seed funding to the returnees so that they could actualize their entrepreneurial ventures.
In her presentation, Director, Academic Affairs at AICAT, Dr. Sharon Ravitz-Wyngaard, amplified Prof. Sila observation on funding, adding, the students, mainly drawn from Africa and Asia, will be trained on how to develop a strategic business plan. This is one of the two areas of assessment, the other being a scientific project that solves a problem from a selected farmer.
Dr. Ravitz said, the program employs a quadratic approach: excursions to farms and historical sites, class sessions, salaried fieldwork, and the research project which culminates in a graduation ceremony at the end of the internship.
In addition, the students will focus on Agribusiness entrepreneurship which is customized and encompasses interpersonal and management skills on change implementation, financial analysis, marketing, writing agriculture business plans, gender equity and sexual harassment, which are instrumental for the students as they prepare to embark on an entrepreneurship journey.
AICAT is a leading scientific research and development center established in 1986 with the goal of advancing sustainable agricultural methods in the arid region, improving product quality, discovering new crops, and opening new markets.
The Center, which produces food despite arid conditions with rainfall as low as 30 milimetres in a “good year,” combines practical research in the fields of sustainable agriculture, water management and aquaculture, providing critical knowledge to regional farming community and around the globe.