AFRICA-ai-JAPAN Project is a Joint Initiative involving JKUAT, PAUSTI and JICA.
The Project aims to empower and motivate human resource for industrial development in the areas of Science, Technology and Innovation in Africa. To attain this, the project has turned to capacity development through short-term and long-term training. A beneficiary of such a short term training program is Mr. Patrick Kavagi, a Technologist at JKUAT’s Department of Horticulture. He attended a Plant Nutrition/Cultivation Training towards Innovation dealing with Instrumentation Analysis and Quality control in Okayama University from 2nd October, 2015 to 5th December, 2015.
Mr. Patrick Juma and Mr. Martin Mburu, Research Fellows in AFRICA-ai-JAPAN Project, had a chance to talk with Mr. Patrick Kavagi, a beneficiary of short term training in Japan, on his experience, achievements and expectations from the short term training.
Mr. Juma & Mr. Mburu: What were the areas of training?
Mr. Kavagi: The training was done in several area of study including Seed Gene Bank Lab, Plant Pathology Greenhouses/Laboratory, Plant-Insect Interaction, Instrumental Laboratory, Rice Project, Vegetable Science Laboratory, Kiwi fruit Project Laboratory, Kiwi Fruit-Molecular Laboratory, Real Time PCR, Soil-Water Nutrient Laboratory and Composting sections. The skills I gained have gone a long way in building how to relate with the students and helping students particularly undergraduate who are still being introduced to ideal of research. The objective of the program which was “to improve on my existing skills in the use and application of horticultural laboratory equipment for purposes of enhancing crop production and value addition” was clearly defined.
What did you like most about the training?
Okayama University is a world class training institution with top notch facilities. The university is also known for top notch research in the field of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences. Therefore, the visit was important and very educative. I was able to learn lots of protocols within a short time. Particularly the training was very useful, interactive and well-structured. The approach was very practical, very interactive and relevant to day-to-day practice in my role as a trainer. And most of all, the training was useful as part of developing my skills in dealing with students at all level of education during research activities and during class practicals in units of Plant Virology, Plant Pathology and Microbiology.
What aspects of the training could be improved?
The program was perfect, well-organized and very timely. However, in future the training period could be increased to expand the scope of training. It is also important to note that if the short term training was to be done in JKUAT by facilitating the experts to come to Kenya, many more staff and students could benefit. However, this comes with challenge of lack of equipment availability to facilitate the training.
How do you hope to change your practice as result of the training?
The training has improved how I conduct experiments with my students. It has also improved the practicals I organize for my students with a more hands-on approach so as to enhance the student’s practical ability. The training also enabled me to improve on my existing skills in the use and application of horticultural laboratory equipment for purposes of evaluating crop production.