UoN-AICAT collaboration – unlocking Food Security challenge

Faith Mutayi, a BSC Agriculture Student sorting and Grading Yellow Capsicum for Export

The University of Nairobi in collaboration with the Arava International Centre for Agricultural Training (AICAT) has been running an annual internship program targeting Agriculture students for a period of 11 months. The center trains over 1,000 students annually from Academic Institutes in countries from mostly Africa and Asia. From Kenya, students from the University of Nairobi, JKUAT, Egerton University, Kenyatta University, Kenya Water Institute, Turkana County and Ramogi Institute of Advanced Technology have benefitted from the program.

AICAT’s Internship program is based on the principle of ‘Learning by Doing’, a winning combination of practical training on advanced and modern farming, theoretical studies, professional guided tours to different parts of Israel and community life provides the students with a unique and rich experience.

Since 2017, the University of Nairobi through the Office of the Dean of Students has enrolled 93 students in the program. Majority of the students have taken up active Agriculture and Farming projects upon returning home with others securing Masters Scholarship both in Israel and the US to advance their studies.

For the year 2022/2023, the Office of Career Services has competitively recruited 56 students for the program with one Student Leader nominated by AICAT to go back and lead the entire Kenyan team while in Israel making it a total of 57 UoN students. The 56 students are drawn from the Faculties of Agriculture, Veterinary Medicine and Biosystems Engineering. 36 students already travelled to Israel on August 22 & 24, 2022 at the start of the Agricultural Season and have been assigned farms where they will be attached for the next 11 months. The remaining 21 leave for Israel on Friday September 2, 2022.

The students will be attached to various farms specializing in Dates, Capsicum, Eggplant, Tomatoes, Cherry Tomatoes, Melons, Water Melons, Table Grapes, Herbs and Dairy Farming. The mode of farming is mechanized agriculture through drip irrigation. The main focus of the program is to impart professional, theoretical and practical knowhow and skills in advanced agricultural studies to the students.

The Office of Career Services values this partnership with AICAT and looks forward to continued partnership in mentoring and creating a career path for our Agricultural students.

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