Essay Writing Competition Launched as Part of Activities to Mark the International Year of Plant Health
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KEPHIS staff showing representatives of universities how various agro inputs are tested in the Analytical Chemistry Laboratory at headquarters in Nairobi during the sensitization forum on the upcoming students essay writing competition
KEPHIS Headquarters, Nairobi - KEPHIS today began sensitizing universities about the upcoming Students Essay Writing Competition targeted at university students countrywide.
The essay, which begins on 1st March and ends on 30th April, is aimed at engaging university students on the importance of plant health and its effects on agricultural resources, the environment, human health and the economy. There are six thematic areas for the students to write on, i.e. emerging pests and diseases, climate change and its effects on food production, phytosanitary and market access, food security and the Big 4 Agenda for Kenya, Adoption of use of certified seeds for food security and devolution and plant health.
KEPHIS MD Dr Esther Kimani, while opening the event, asked universities to sensitize students on the benefits of agriculture and enumerated on the many opportunities available for the youth in the agriculture value chain.
"There are opportunities in the seed sector, in seed potato production, wood packaging material treatment facilities, tissue culture and nurseries." She urged universities to be at the forefront in solving agricultural problems that face Kenyan farmers.
"We import a lot of seed currently yet we do not have to; farmers also frequently ask for seed which is a viable business opportunity." she added.
Dr. Isaac Macharia, GM for Phytosanitary Services took the participants through the International Year of Plant Health (IYPH 2020) which is being marked worldwide this year and asked that universities partner with KEPHIS by having sessions to discuss plant health at their campuses, joint research and proposal activities, branding of identified activities to mark the IYPH and to introduce courses or units enhancing knowledge on phytosanitary compliance. Universities that attended the sensitization forum included Egerton University, University of Eastern Africa, Baraton, University of Eldoret, KCA University, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Meru University of Agriculture and Technology, Technical University of Kenya, Machakos University, Riara University, Presbyterian University of East Africa and Mt. Kenya University.
The essay is part of awareness activities to mark the International Year of Plant Health 2020.