Following the signing of an MoU between President Uhuru Kenyatta and the State of Israel on 23rd February 2016, the University of Nairobi among other Agricultural, Water and Irrigation Training institutions has been sending Agricultural students to the Arava International Centre for Agricultural Training (AICAT) to study an Advanced Diploma in Agriculture and Agribusiness since 2017.

50 students from the Faculty of Agriculture who have been selected for the 2021/2022 AICAT Cohort were on Thursday October 21, 2021 taken through a detailed Orientation Session aimed at preparing them adequately for travel to Israel.

The Orientation Ceremony was graced by Officials from the Israel Embassy in Kenya and the various Institutions sending students to Israel. The Deputy Ambassador from the Israel Embassy, Dvora Dorsman Yarkoni was the Key Guest at the event. She congratulated all the 200 students traveling to Israel and wished them a good stay in Israel. The Deputy Ambassador indicated that the AICAT program aimed to promote learning by doing by imparting agricultural skills to students practically.

Mr. Ian Githae, Deputy Director, Ministry of Water and Irrigation emphasized on the importance of cordial relations that exist between the Government of Kenya and Israel. He advised the students to have a mindset and attitude change as they travel to Israel for mechanized agricultural studies and to plan, be disciplined and patient. The students were also requested to develop practical business plans of a project they would implement when they return back home after the 11 months training.

The Dean of Students Mr. Johnson Kinyua welcomed all guests and outlined the journey of the AICAT program at the University of Nairobi. So far, UoN has sent 50 students to Israel since 2017 with 2021 being the year with the largest cohort of 50 students.

The 50 students will be flagged off by the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Water and Irrigation on 27th October 2021 and depart for Israel on 31st of October 2021. The 11 months training on Advanced Agriculture and Irrigation will be conducted at Arava International Centre for Agricultural Training (AICAT) in Israel where the students will be attached to work with farmers in Kibbutz and Moshav Jewish forms of settlement. The students will live in farms in the Arava region where they will be exposed to high technologies and the advanced agriculture in Israel. The students are anticipated to complete their training in October 2022.

The program will impact on the graduates’ lives in different aspects including socially, academically, and economically. The students will also gain leadership skills and become community leaders and agricultural mentors; they will have both practical and theoretical tools in food safety and security and knowledge on how to successfully establish agribusinesses and model farms. When they return home, the graduates are hoped to easily integrate professionally in both the public and private sector.

The University is proud to partner with the AICAT in this hands-on training initiative in Agriculture and Agribusiness. The students are acquiring the mechanized agricultural skills and attitudes that will positively impact the Agricultural sector in Kenya.