- He underscored the Kenya Kwanza economic transformation agenda which focuses on subsidizing production rather than consumption.
- "If you go to some of the places where we gave farmers an opportunity through the fertilizer programme, the harvest is promising. It means we have started getting it right."
Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi has urged universities to embrace agricultural innovations and research, to create solutions that will ease the cost of living.
Speaking on Tuesday, Mudavadi said the agricultural sector is the backbone of the country's economy.
He said the sector contributes approximately 33 per cent of the country's Gross Domestic Product, in addition to employing over 40 per cent of the total population and 70 per cent of the rural population.
"There is rising demand for agricultural products driven by population growth. For instance, the Kenyan population is estimated to hit the 55 million mark this year," Mudavadi said.
"To meet the rising demands of this rapidly growing population, we must invest and annually increase agricultural production by a minimum of 2 per cent."
He spoke at the University of Nairobi during the groundbreaking of the Agricultural Technology and Innovation Centre (ATIC).
He underscored the Kenya Kwanza economic transformation agenda which focuses on subsidizing production rather than consumption.
"If you go to some of the places where we gave farmers an opportunity through the fertilizer programme, the harvest is promising. It means we have started getting it right," he said.
"To walk this journey to prosperity, we have to cut on bureaucracy for us to benefit from the partnerships and we can attest that in some of the places, food prices have started going down."
He said this is despite economic hardships, climate change, land scarcity, dwindling water resources, decreasing agro-diversity, soil fertility as well post-harvest losses.
Mudavadi also underscored the need to strengthen relationship between the academics and industry.
He said the debate on the value of education, especially university education, to the industry, has ranged on in the country far too long without practical interventions.
He said insufficient capacity to innovate, inadequate entrepreneurial skills, and poor work ethics have been cited as some of the missing links between the university and business development in Kenya.
"Such partnerships while enhancing the innovative capacity of our university graduates through internship programmes, also enable universities to deploy industry players to offer practical experiences to enrich students’ learning as a guest, visiting or adjunct lecturers,” he said."
"Universities are designed to offer education and training and also conduct research to solve the problems afflicting society. Now, more than ever before, we must strengthen the contribution of universities in delivering their research products to end users."
At the same time, he noted that tailor-made courses, designed and delivered with input from the industry, can contribute vastly to moulding job creators and job-compliant graduates.
He lauded the collaboration, saying it entails the acquisition of hands-on skills by graduates of the university through a joint internship programme designed to offer experience in real work settings across the country.
He called for the need to put behind the culture of university research outputs with high potential to uplift the livelihoods of communities ending up in repositories.
He affirmed that collaboration with industry is necessary to usher in a new dawn founded on the principle of publishing, patenting, and prospering.
Mudavadi said innovations such as ATIC will enhance the efforts in university financial sustainability and that university managements have the responsibility to protect scarce resources by putting them to proper use.
He said reports about the financial resources of universities are not encouraging and austerity measures are required.