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Bidco, JKUAT in deal to boost farming technology development

Dairy farmer Philip Kimutai on his farm in Mosoriot, Nandi County, on January 26, 2021. [Christopher Kipsang,Standard]

Bidco Africa has signed a deal to ensure Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) students develop technology that will enhance farmers’ productivity.

JKUAT Vice Chancellor Prof Victoria Wambui Ngumi in a statement said the deal will ensure more efficient and cost-effective mechanisms and reduce post-harvest losses.

"Bidco will be handy in identifying the challenges affecting productivity and the quality of produce the market needs."

A 2018 report by the Federation of Kenya Employers on Skills Mismatch estimated that about 66 per cent of university graduates are not prepared for work.

Bidco Africa signed the deal to ensure JKUAT students gain practical skills. The two have been working together on joint programmes on academia and agriculture.

JKUAT, which has a strong focus on agriculture, will put in place initiatives that will address constraints in food production, value addition, and promote entrepreneurship.

With the continuous calls on learning institutions to embrace industry benchmarks to keep up with the changing job environment needs, the move is meant to help students to be work-ready at the end of their studies.

Prof Ngumi, while welcoming the new move, reiterated the institution’s commitment to make the initiative a success.

“The partnership could not have come at a better time when JKUAT is repositioning as a Research and Entrepreneurial University. This cannot be actualised without the input of key industry players like Bidco Africa,” she added in a statement.

Through this partnership, JKUAT and Bidco Africa have an opportunity to enhance the role of industry-academia in safeguarding livelihoods and growing the Kenyan economy and across the region.

Ngumi stated that she was confident, “the partnership with Bidco Africa is an important step towards the commercialization of some of the innovation outputs.”

The Bidco-JKUAT partnership will seek to improve the alarming cases of unemployability and make the programmes competitive.

Speaking during the unveiling of the partnership, Bidco Africa Group director Chris Diaz welcomed the move and noted that it aligns with the government’s effort to establish technical institutions to enable youth to gain skills.

With Kenya’s unemployment rate at a high of about 9.3 per cent and about 55 per cent of youth unemployed, this partnership is timely, he said.

"It will reaffirm our belief that Kenya has the potential to feed itself and still have enough to export to the rest of the world.

"This will be a boost to the Food Security and Nutrition pillar of the Big 4 Agenda as it will onboard innovations to enhance value addition through good agronomic practices such as developing superior genetic materials that will enhance high yielding that can withstand the impacts of climate change."


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