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RESEARCHERS AND SCHOLARS SHOWCASE EFFORTS TO SOLVE CHALLENGES AFFECTING THE AGRICULTURAL SECTOR DURING MMUST INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE

Researchers and scholars across the globe have today, 25th May, 2022, presented findings and ideas in a bid to solve challenges affecting the agricultural sector. This was during the Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology’s 15th Multi-disciplinary International Virtual Conference, themed ‘Operationalizing Agriculture through Digital Technology, Innovation, Education,’ which will go up to Friday, 27th May, 2022.

Dr. Oscar Magenya, Secretary of Research and Innovation at the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Co-operatives, who represented Cabinet Secretary Hon. Peter Munya,  commended MMUST’s efforts in addressing real life issues by conducting such a Conference.

Dr. Magenya emphasized the need to create links between research and development, adding that innovative thinking is the solution to the challenges that face the agricultural sector. “We envision a prosperous sector with massive agricultural systems. We also desire to be a data-based decision making institution,” he said.

Further, he said that there is a need to reframe and repurpose the future of agriculture by use of digital technology. “Agricultural digital apps will act as the Ministry’s single source of truth for all stakeholders in the sector on agricultural input and yields. There will be increased use of disruptive digital technology to increase agricultural productivity.”

“There is a need to actualize research into vital development areas such as agriculture. The University Council is cognizant of the role of research in accelerating development and is dedicated to mobilizing and allocating more resources towards this agenda,” stated the MMUST Chairperson of Council, Dr. Musangi Jane Mutua.

However, she noted that the government funding for research is still relatively low, resulting in limited capacity to translate research into development outcomes. Dr. Musangi stated that the University continues to provide funds for research through the University Research Fund (URF).


 multi2Prof. Solomon Shibairo speaks at the conference.


 The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Solomon Shibairo, reiterated that agriculture remains the largest contributor to Kenya's

 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and that there is an urgent need to revive and operationalize the agricultural sector in order to attain 100% food and nutrition security in the country. “MMUST and other institutions of higher learning are tasked with conducting cutting edge research for evidence-informed decision making and this Conference provides a platform for us to share our ideas and findings,” said Prof. Shibairo, adding that stakeholders should collaborate with MMUST to ensure sustainable solutions that will address food insecurity in Africa.

“The division of Administration and Finance has been working to ensure that researchers get resources. We have also been mobilizing resources from other sources and building the capacity of research,” said the DVC A&F, Prof. John Kuria Thuo. He acknowledged that the University is getting into frontiers in terms of innovation which were showcased in the recent Africities Summit at Kisumu County.


multi3DVC-A&F addressing the conference participants during the opening.


DVC (Academic and Students Affairs), Prof. Hussein Golicha, pointed out that his division endeavors to provide leadership in all areas of academia and research as well as staff and students’ welfare. “MMUST champions research in agriculture and application of digital technology to facilitate modern trends in training and achievement of established strategic goals.”


multi4DVC-ASA, Prof. Hussein Golicha giving remarks at the conference.


 DVC (Planning, Research and Innovation), Prof. Charles Mutai, who was represented by the Registrar PRI, Prof. Alice Ndiema, recognized that the Conference is important in providing a platform to widen the dialogue and hasten the digitization of Agriculture. “Through the Directorate of Research and Postgraduate Support (DRPS), as well as the Directorate of Science Park Innovations and Incubation Centre (SPIIC), the University has provided the necessary support to ensure researchers and innovators by funding cutting-edge research and innovation,” he said


 By Mary Wangari Wambugu