Kenya has sent another batch of 40 students to Israel to study advanced agriculture and water technology.
The programme is a culmination of an ongoing partnership between the Kenyan government, Egerton University and Arava International Agricultural Training Centre (AICAT) in Israel.
Selected students will train at Mashav Training under the AICAT in Israel for a period of 11 months.
Director of Undergraduate Studies and Field Attachment at Egerton University, Professor Nancy W. Mungai said the students, drawn from various institutions are expected to gain expertise that will address food insecurity in the country.
Training will integrate attachment to farms and farmer organizations in the Arava region of Israel for five days in a week and one day training at the AICAT Centre.
This is the fifth batch of students we are sending to Israel. We appreciate the fact that the Israeli government has given our students an opportunity to study in their country. We are optimistic this continuous collaboration will help our students acquire knowledge and skills to tackle the challenges of food security in the country, noted Professor Mungai.
Professor Mungai said the students who are drawn from various institutions among them, Egerton University, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), the National Irrigation Board (NIB) and the Kenya Water Institute (KEWI), would undergo intensive training in crop production, use of hybrid seeds and efficient water use.
Over 400 students have been trained since 2016 when President Uhuru Kenyatta and Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu signed the six-year Jerusalem Declaration to have local students trained in Israel on advanced agriculture.
The students acquire practical skills and technical expertise when they are attached to farms and farmer organizations in the Arava Region of Israel. Skills acquired will bolster food security in the country said Professor Mungai.
Courtesy of its advanced technology, Israel has remained food secure despite its scarce water resources.The country is the world leader in water recycling and a major exporter of fresh agricultural produce even though more than half of the land is desert.
Both President Kenyatta and the Israel Premier made a pledge of bringing about a paradigm shift from rain-fed agriculture to irrigated agriculture. This is expected to alleviate food and water insecurity by rapidly increasing the acreage under irrigation to over a million acres.
The programme projects to bolster local capacity through technical training in line with Vision 2030.
In August 2017, 120 students from 10 institutions started their 11 month training on Advanced Agriculture and Irrigation at AICAT in Israel where they were attached to work with farmers in Kibbutz. They completed their internship in June.
This batch was drawn from University of Nairobi, Egerton University, Jomo Kenyatta University, Kenya Water Institute, Ramogi and Karen Institute.
Kenya has entered into a pact with Israel to double the intake of Kenyan students under this programme, from the current 600 to 1,200 over the next six years. The pact dubbed the Jerusalem Declaration further seeks to deepen and widen the two countries’ cooperation in the water and irrigation sector
In the pact, the Middle East nation has pledged to double the number of Kenyans training in Israel and further establish an Irrigation and Water Engineering Institute in Kenya. Israel plans to help Kenya achieve technical capability to put over a million acres under irrigation.
The partnership commits to technology transfer and knowledge, as well as direct Israeli investment by Private Sector in the Galana Project.
It will incorporate support to small-holder irrigation schemes and reviving some that had collapsed like the one in Kibwezi and new ones in Ukambani and other semi-arid areas.
The Israel government further pledges to provide technical support to the recently-established Category 2 Groundwater Centre for Regional Studies.
This is anticipated to enhance access to clean water for all Kenyans through exploiting the great groundwater potential that the country has.
The two states will collaborate in developing the great potential that Kenya has on its 500km Coast, from Vanga to Kiunga, turning the salty sea waters of the Indian Ocean through desalination into millions of cubic metres of fresh water.
The initiative will also support Kenya’s new Water for Schools Programme that will soon be launched to connect all our public schools to water.
Source: Kenya News Agency