Universities have been called to promote climate smart agriculture and trade initiatives for sustainable economic growth.
Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu said convergence of technology, science and traditional agriculture wisdom can revolutionize cultivation, harvesting and distribution of food in the country.
Machogu reiterated that this will hone innovation that could be tapped to provide sustainability support in food security, health and housing and technology.
She was speaking at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology’s 12th Open Day.
Machogu pointed out that such programmes will equip graduates with skills to play instrumental roles in devising solutions, creating products and offering services that foster both economic and social transformation.
‘‘The calibre of an institution of higher learning is best measured by the quality of its academic and training programs, its research and innovations and technologies to bolster economic growth,’’ Machogu said.
Machogu hailed JKUAT for offering stakeholders a platform to engage, saying this will forge a deeper connection between the institutions and the community.
‘‘This provides a platform to showcase its strides in learning, research, innovation and partnerships,’’ Machogu said.
‘‘This marks unparalleled chores to explore avenues for enhanced collaboration which will enrich the community and contribute to a national goals.’’
Principal Secretary Shipping and Maritime Affairs Shadrack Mwadime expressed the need for universities to exploit research and innovation in order to address the climate change challenges.
‘‘I’ am extremely encouraged with the kind of innovation carried on in this university,’’ Mwadime said.
The PS called on the institutions of higher learning to leverage on the government support to engage in
‘‘You have a challenge in terms of resources in ensuring the innovators are able to reach the market. I urge you to establish foundations that will encourage young people with the products to establish enterprises and succeed in life,’’ he stated.
The University’s Vice Chancellor Prof Victoria Ngumi said amid the dynamic challenges posed by climate change, universities stand as pivotal agents of transformation.
‘‘Universities play an indispensable role in redefining agricultural paradigms. With the understanding of the interconnection between climate and agriculture, universities assume the mantle of innovation and research to chart new paths towards resilient and sustainable agricultural practices,’’ Prof Ngumi said.
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The VC noted that collaboration between stakeholders and universities can pioneer advancement including drought resistant crops, agriculture techniques that will protect farmers against climate shocks.
‘‘Universities nurture a generation of agri-prenuers and researchers with skills to implement climate smart practices. Let’s foster partnerships with industry players, policymakers and the local community to amplify the impact of higher education and research outcomes,’’ she said.
Prof Ngumi further said JKUAT is engaged in various projects geared towards climate change and environmental sustainability including biodiversity conservation especially of endangered plant species.
‘‘The tapestry of vision 2030 is woven with friends of science, technology and innovation alongside educational development and our university display of research outputs and innovations today embrace these critical domains,’’ Prof Ngumi said.
Some of the projects undertaken by the university on climate change include Eco blocks in providing environmentally conscious affordable housing and the transformation of domesticated fruits like goose berries and cacti into beverages tables.