Written by Henry Neondo
The Egerton University’s plans to establish the first agro-based Science Park in Kenya has received a boost with the setting aside of extra Ksh3 million and 24 hectares on which the administrative centre will be based.
Started September 2011 with seed money worth Ksh4 million from the university, the flagship science park has so far has been able to nurture three ideas into new bean varieties, with other products in their various stages of development.
“We want to come up with a complex to house all work now scattered in various departments by 2030 when Kenya hopes to be a middle income developing country with science, innovation and technology being the main driver,” said Dr Inyagwa Muleke, project coordinator of the science park.
Dr Muleke said the university has decided to set up the agro-science park since its core vision is agriculture based.
The centre aims to put in a number of units including biotechnology centre, innovation unit, herbal medicine centre, seed unit, agri-food centre among others.
“We have already asked the government to support us with Ksh360 million towards the project and there are strong indication that the government will do so,” said Dr Inyagwa.
To kick-start the project, Dr Inyagwa said the university gave the idea Ksh4 million which was spent to support scientists move their ideas into market among which include here bean varieties namely, Tasia, Chelanga, Tasia and Sankui.
For sustainability, Dr Inyagwa said the agro-based science park will draw revenue from its royalties, office space rent and consultancies.