The 2020 Arava Open Day was held on 12-13 February, 2020 at the Yair Research & Development Center in the Arava region of Israel. Prof. John Kimenju from the College of Agriculture and Veterinary sciences and Ms. Naomi Nyaboga from the Career Services office represented the University at the Open Day.

The 29th Open day was a large agricultural show that brought together farmers from the entire Arava region to come and showcase their agricultural services and products. Over the years, this Agricultural Exhibition has reputed itself as an outstanding professional event that attracts big audiences and visitors from the entire Arava region and the rest of Israel. Visitors got the opportunity to interact with over 200 business companies displaying the latest innovations in the field of Agriculture and also selling their products.

The Open Day also presented an opportunity to tour the different farm sites where UoN students are attached and get a feel of the kind of hands-on agricultural farming experience they are receiving. UoN sent 18 students to Israel for the 3rd cohort in August 2019 and they are bound to return home after their 11 months training in July 2020.

Michael Mathenge, one of the 2019/2020 AICAT students showcased his innovation of a motor-powered soil mixer to save farmers many hours of sorting compost and soil before planting garden seedlings. Michael hopes to come back home and turn his innovation into a product that can be sold to Kenyan farmers.

The Office of Career Services has been partnering with the Arava International Centre for Agricultural Training (AICAT) since 2017 to offer hands on agricultural training to the College of Agriculture students. This is in line with the Big 4 agenda on agriculture and food security. This partnership is based on two main programs offered by AICAT; the Diploma 11 month’s program and MSc program in Plant Science in cooperation with Tel-Aviv University.

The Kenyan Government was represented by Shali Ngali and Abigael Magumba from the Embassy of Kenya in Israel. The MD of the Agricultural Finance Corporation, Mr. Lucas Meso was also in attendance. Mr. Meso gave a commitment to liaise with the Ministry of Agriculture to finance the students with innovative agricultural ideas when they return home and give them government land to practice the mechanised agricultural skills learnt in Israel.

The Office of Career Services applauds the great effort the students are making in the farms. Appreciation also goes to Dennis Tomoina, an AICAT alumnus from cohort 2 who is also the current Kenyan students’ leader for the year 2019/2020. The Career Office is now exploring on a partnership with the Israeli Government on Kenyans going to Israel as workers and sending UoN College of Agriculture Staff for short courses at AICAT.