Varsity seeks partners to commercialise innovations

Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) is seeking partners to help it commercialise its innovations.

JKUAT Vice Chancellor Mabel Imbuga, said despite the institution’s many innovations that address social-economic challenges, it has not released them to the market.

“We are seeking reputable partners on the local market to commercialise the innovations,” said Prof Imbuga. Speaking during an open day and the first agribusiness expo and symposium hosted jointly with the East African Grain Council (EAGC), the don said the university has in the recent past developed key innovations but needs partners for mass production

The two-day fair, which was officially opened by Kiambu Deputy Governor Gerald Githinji, attracted 81 exhibitors who showcased innovations on post-harvest, farm mechanisation, seeds, pharmaceuticals and food processors.

Some of the innovations that the varsity has come up with include the Taifa laptop, Shujaa tractor, ready to eat rice-cassava noodles, super-absorbent polymers appropriate in urban waste water purification and female sanitary towels.

Others are food derivatives such as juice from Sorghum straw, cactus wine, miraa wine and sorghum syrup good for diabetic patients.

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The Shujaa tractor, powered by a 10-horsepower engine retails at Sh750,000 and is suitable for smallholder farms. It can plough, process hay bails, cut chaff and pump water from borehole or streams. Imbuga added that the tractor can also pull a two-tonne trailer load.

The Taifa laptop is retailing at Sh44,000 with a two-year repair warranty. Other innovations are in crop science, mainly tissue culture, credited for revamping banana farming. The tissue culture is widely compatible with other crops such as sugarcane, coconut, cashew nuts. It achieves quick seed multiplication and is resistant to diseases.

EAGC Executive Director Gerald Masila, said a few months ago his organisation signed a five-year memorandum of association with JKUAT to create linkages between academia and industry.

He said the collaboration will broaden income steams, both for the institution and the industry.