The HOSA members tending the seedlings. Photo courtesy.
Horticulture Students Association (HOSA) at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) have set up a greenhouse farm for vegetable seedlings in order to enhance their capacity in farming practices aimed at addressing the demand for quality seedling material in the region.
“This project seeks to provide students with a platform that will empower them with practical skills, encouraging them to take a central position in showcasing their innovation skills and products,” said Prof. John Wesonga, HOSA Patron who is also the Director, Directorate of Performance Contracting and Appraisal (DIPCA).
The initiative gives the students a space where they can practice and learn from their mistakes, and build their competence through hands-on approach.
Wesonga underscored the importance of competence based education in an effort to churn out holistic students in the agricultural sector, saying the project is in line with ensuring students become their own managers early enough, consolidating their entrepreneurial skills which would put them in good stead when starting their own businesses in future.
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With higher institutions of learning being at the forefront of ensuring the government implements the Big 4 Agenda, especially, Food Security pillar, the HOSA Patron said that the project will ensure that
“JKUAT is able to participate holistically by providing clean and adequate planting material to the farmers, thus playing a critical towards improving the country’s food basket,” said Wesonga.
On the other hand, HOSA chairperson, Joash Njani, a fourth year student exuded confidence about the project.
“This project is a ‘step forward’ in relation to their previous undertakings of selling vegetables which he said, they would incorporate their experiences to ensure the HOSA project success,” said Njani.
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According to him, the project which uses new technology such as the misting system, encourages healthy plants to achieve their growth potential, will ensure students are equipped with new and relevant skills in tandem with new agricultural technologies in order to effectively play their role in the dynamic job market.
The HOSA Chairman said the success of the Tissue Culture technology at JKUAT had challenged them to venture into seedling farming; impelling them to seek better ways of leveraging their agricultural expertise by utilizing limited space and resources.
“HOSA will be handling seeds for Squash, Batternut (Malenge), Sweet potatoes, Spinach (Swisschard) and Courgette (Zucchini) with prospects of expanding their portfolio in response to anticipated rising demand,” said Njani.
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