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Innovation: JKUAT students harvest indigenous vegetables grown under sensor irrigation machine by innovator Ben Muoki at the University. [Jenipher Wachie, Standard]

Exhibitions and research presentations geared towards promoting food security, climate change, health and affordable housing have taken the centre stage in a conference at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT).

Top scholars are leading the 14th JKUAT Scientific, Technological, Industrialisation Conference and Exhibition, a two-day event.

Other key presentations revolved around recycling of waste, reducing water wastage, enriching the soil with organic nutrients and production of renewable energy.

Outside the hall where scientific researches were discussed were tents lined up with exhibitions showcasing modern innovations that offer solutions to contemporary challenges.

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Painters, string artists and fashion designers among other artists also took part in the exhibitions during the conference.

Researcher and former Moi University Vice-Chancellor Prof Richard Mibey, Prof Elijah Biamah who was principal of the then Chepkoilel University College among dozens of other scholars made presentations and exhibited their innovations.

Prof Mibey presented a paper on Innovation for sustainable development, while Prof Biamah led a discussion on climate change adaptation and mitigation of household water and food security in Kenya.

A presentation on the making of concrete blocks manufactured with a blend of sawdust, fish scales and sand aggregates was also showcased among other key demonstrations.

Speaking during the opening of the conference on Thursday, JKUAT Vice Chancellor Prof Victoria Ngumi said the presentations leveraged on research, innovation and entrepreneurship for sustainable development.

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“This event serves as an opportunity for researchers to share their findings with peers and other stakeholders, both nationally and internationally,” said Prof Ngumi.

She said the conference had attracted over 100 research papers covering varied thematic areas including physical, medical and social sciences, agriculture, environment and technology.

“The papers provide possible solutions to the myriad of challenges afflicting society that include food insecurity and poor nutrition, climate change, health burdens, processing and manufacturing technologies, applications of information and communication technologies,” she said.

She added: “These areas have been identified by many developing countries as key focus issues in their development agenda. Indeed, the same is true for our country Kenya’s Big Four Agenda of affordable housing, access to health, food security and manufacturing.” 

Jerome Ochieng, the Principal Secretary in Ministry of Information, Communications and Technology who launched the event called upon researchers to explore useful networks that will facilitate the upscaling of your research findings to higher levels.

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“I challenge researchers to ensure they work with policymakers so that some of the findings can be taken up by Government to inform policy aimed at taking our country’s socio-economic development forward,” said Mr Ochieng.

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