The Inception Workshop or otherwise launch of CESAAM took place on 20th July, 2017 at Masada Hotel in Naivasha Kenya. The meeting, which brought together representatives from all collaborating universities except from University of Rwanda and University of Burundi. During the meeting, there was representation from University of Juba, Gulu University, VirginiaTech, Michigan State University and Sokoine University. Other institutions and private sector partners included KEPHIS, ICRISAT, Kenya Seed and Green Forest Foods.
7.1.1 Partner Roles: University Partners
Seven institutions were represented in this group. They included:
- Egerton University
- Moi University
- Gulu University
- University of Juba
- Sokoine University of Agriculture
- Virginia Tech University
- Michigan State University (MSU)
The presentations centered around the 10 key activities of CESAAM, and were as follows:
A: Gulu University
- Knowledge centre for innovation dissemination: It was reported that Gulu University has an operational community call centre through which innovations are being disseminated.
- Innovations through Agro-science park: Gulu is using an agribusiness innovation model that links students to farmers
- Research and Extension platform: There is a student centred outreach model being used to engage with communities and guide research
- Exchange programmes: The MSc Agri-enterprise programmes offered at Gulu and Egerton provide opportunities for cross movement of staff and students
Areas needing strengthening
- More support for student enterprise schemes to enable them set up enterprises and be job creators.
- Need for strengthening in sustainable agriculture as this is a major thrust of CESAAM
- Need for enhanced human resource capacity. Staff can benefit from relevant training
B: Sokoine University of Agriculture
- The College of Agriculture is strong in sustainable agriculture
- The School of Agricultural Economics is strong in Agribusiness management
- Collaborative teaching: Egerton University can benefit from visiting scholars from SUA, especially for areas where there is a deficit, and vice versa.
- External examination of postgraduate theses, especially PhD
- Co-supervision of postgraduate students
- SUA has a lot of land that can be used to carry out research by students from Egerton University
- Replication of some of the student experiments can be done at SUA
- Sharing of research equipment and facilities
- Student exchange programmes
C: University of Juba
This is a young institution that is facing a lot of challenges. Their role was summed up as “we need everything because we have nothing”. Specific areas highlighted were:
- Training in postgraduate studies to build the university’s staff capacity
- Staff exchange programmes to allow the university to benefit from international staff and also enable their staff to benefit from international exposure
- Joint research
- Short-term courses: It was pointed that most of the staff are reluctant to leave their families in pursuit of PhD studies and would therefore benefit from short term courses.
D: Virginia Tech University
The key message was “keep Virginia Tech on the list as a willing and ready partner”. The institution has capacity to collaborate in many areas. Specific areas highlighted were:
- Student and staff exchange programmes
- Collaborative research
- Short-term courses
- Staff visits
E: Michigan State University
The message was “we are a big institution and have a lot to offer in many areas needing collaboration”. The following areas were highlighted:
- Training in postgraduate courses
- Short-term courses
- Mentorship programmes for young scientists
- Curriculum review
- Writing of collaborative proposals for grants
F: Moi University
The institution has been chosen as a centre of excellence for phytochemicals, textiles and renewable energy. The project is yet to be launched and can benefit a lot from lessons learnt through the CESAAM launch.
There is a lot of potential for collaboration in the future in the area of research on cotton and other plants that are to be used to produce textiles. Egerton University can collaborate in coming up with suitable varieties.
Moi University can also learn from the upcoming Egerton University knowledge centre, to successfully set up their own.
G: Egerton University
Special presentations were made as follows:
Department of Agricultural Education and Extension
- The Department is a leader in the region in training agriculture teachers and extension professionals. However, it would benefit greatly by benchmarking with Virginia Tech because of its long history and outstanding agricultural education and extension programmes.
- The department would like to learn from the 4H and Future Farmers programmes in the USA, which have continued to do well over time. This is in view of reviving the 4K and Young farmers clubs in Kenya, which are currently doing very badly, and increasing interest and participation of youth in agriculture.
- The department can also learn from the cooperative extension model in the USA, in order to strengthen training in extension and the role of Egerton University in extension outreach.
- Some of the students from Juba can benefit from modular programmes that are carried out in the Department.
Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soils
It was noted that the Department holds the bulk of the CESAAM programme. It has a number of strengths as follows:
- The Department has well trained and highly experienced staff, with over 30 PhD holders.
- It also has well established fields and laboratories
- It uses highly practical experiential learning approach in training students
- There is dire need for external examiners especially in horticulture
- There is shortage of staff and the department would benefit from visiting scholars from the region.
- There is also need for collaborative teaching
Faculty of Environment and Resource Development
- Can collaborate in ensuring that all activities of CESAAM are environmentally sound and meet the necessary thresholds.
- The faculty has capacity to do environmental as well as social impact assessments.
- It was pointed out that Moi University through the centre of excellence project should leverage on the upcoming ban on plastics in Kenya, by producing environmentally friendly bags/materials for bags.
Partner Roles: Private Sector Partners
Training in postgraduate studies & Research
- To develop functional products
- Consistency in quality example sorghum peeling, tannins white, sweetness lout bird damage.
- Integrated pest management Systems
- Appropriate technology
- Collaborative research
- Market testing
- Post-harvest handling (which often lead to 10% loss)
- Equipment technology development
- Short courses
- Involve NGOs and Community Based Organization
- The short courses should target:
- Academic staff
- Industry players
- Farmer production systems
- The students should establish relevant firms for internships
- Guided internship; should be expanded and have targeted outputs
- Frequent industrial visits
- Students should be taught to be inquisitive & participatory skills
- Knowledge Centre
- Produce short documentaries
- Use of common and easy to understand language
- Innovate through Agro-Science Park
- Establish strong value propositions
- There should be constant interactions and continuous engagements
- Relationship should be based on trust and good faith between industry and academia