•Governor Martin Wambora and Israel Ambassador to Kenya Oded Joseph led other stakeholders in signing an agreement establishing the Israel-Kenya Don Bosco Agricultural Innovation and Technology Centre on Wednesday in Nairobi.
•The initiative is a partnership of the Israel Embassy, Israeli NGO Start-Up Nation Central, Don Bosco Tech Africa, CultivAid, Water 4 Mercy, Syngenta Foundation and the Embu government.
Embu farmers are set to increase their productivity following the signing of an MoU to establish an agricultural innovation and training centre in the county.
Governor Martin Wambora and Israel Ambassador to Kenya Oded Joseph led other stakeholders in signing an agreement establishing the Israel-Kenya Don Bosco Agricultural Innovation and Technology Centre on Wednesday in Nairobi.
The initiative is a partnership of the Israel Embassy, Israeli NGO Start-Up Nation Central, Don Bosco Tech Africa, CultivAid, Water 4 Mercy, Syngenta Foundation and the Embu government.
The centre will be built on an eight-hectare (20 acres) and will be used to train farmers for eight weeks on how to become more efficient, and profitable by harnessing Israeli technologies.
Construction is set to start in May.
Israeli companies and start-ups will share their technology and adapt them with local experts to the on-ground conditions.
The farmers are expected to pass the knowledge gained to their colleagues as the initiative is designed to have a ‘multiplier effect’, enabling the innovation to reach smallholder farmers across the county.
Some youths are also expected to go to Israel for training in agritech.
“This initiative will present immense food potential in food sufficiency in Kenya and the region. The goodwill of the partners and the efforts of the farmers will bolster the cooperation that exists between our two nations and boost Kenya’s economic power,” ambassador Joseph said at his residence.
The envoy said he looks forward to advancing the food security project by utilising innovative Israeli agritech solutions.
Wambora said upon the establishment of the centre, youth from the county will be more active as they will engage more in agribusiness.
“We will work together to create a proper future for our youth and I am very happy to sign this MoU,” Wambora, who is also the Council of Governors chairman, said.
Embu agriculture executive Jamleck Muturi said he expects the project to increase agriculture production and profitability.
“It is important to note that Embu has a population of about 600,000 people and out of these, 70 per cent practise agriculture. Of these, 60 per cent do small-scale farming. This initiative will enhance the capacity of these farmers as well as that of agricultural extension officers,” Muturi said.
The executive said the training will lead to the improvement of the Embu community as a result of improved marketability of their produce — locally and internationally — through value addition
He, however, said there is a need for a change of attitude among the youth towards agriculture.
Fr George TJ, the executive director of Don Bosco Africa, said they will ensure the success of the project and that opportunities are created so that farmers can easily take risks in agribusiness.
The institution empowers technical and vocational education and training centres in Africa to deliver quality training to young people.
It coordinates about 102 Don Bosco TVET centres spread across 34 countries in the region.
The Israel Embu county Agrifair was held in the county last month, where eight Israeli agri-tech companies and eight Embu agri-business institutions showcased their products and services.
Israel has prioritised agriculture as its focus in Kenya, with projects such as the Kibwezi farm and the Galana Kulalu.
Last year, the country said it would double the number of Kenyan students undergoing agriculture training to 100 and help them start agribusiness projects upon graduation.
Edited by Kiilu Damaris