The government has been advised to equip Kenyan universities with facilities to study the desert locust invasion to derive a sustainable solution to the pests presently threatening food security in the country and the larger Horn of Africa.
According to the Chuka University Vice Chancellor (VC), Prof. Erastus Njoka, given a chance the universities will conduct research and come up with the best pesticides for the sustainable control of locusts in the long-run.
“Since the plague started we have not heard the government introducing research programs in the universities. We should take advantage of research students in the universities to curb the continued spread of the menace and avoid such national disasters in future,” said Prof. Njoka.
Speaking during a careers day at Tharaka University College in Tharaka constituency on Saturday, the VC said with proper research, universities could predict when or the season the pests might be appearing in future and come up with the best pesticides for their control.
The VC took the opportunity to warn drug dealers to keep off the university premises and even students and reiterated that the institution remains a drug free zone.
He further called on the residents of Gatunga Township and its environs, where the Tharaka university college is located to take advantage of the institution set up businesses to benefit economically by building hostels and providing other basic necessities to the campus fraternity.
Prof. Njoka further reminded the residents of Tharaka Nithi County that they will have to compete effectively for employment opportunities at the university with the rest of Kenyans, because institutions of higher learning countrywide are an equal opportunity employer where 70 percent of the employees at their facility should come from outside the larger Meru region.
“Some people are taking advertisement for job opportunities at the university so casually with a misconceived idea that it will favour those hailing from the county or Meru County but this is not the case,” said the VC.
Speaking during the event, the College Principal and Chairman of the Ameru Professionals Association, Prof. Peter Muriungi said they support the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) but want health care to be taken back to the national government because performance has degenerated since the crucial docket was devolved in 2013.
Prof. Muriungi further disclosed that they fully support the idea to increase revenue allocation to devolved units but added the amount should be distributed equally, rather than be pegged on population index captured in last year’s population census results.
The Tharaka University College located near Gatunga Township, the headquarters of Tharaka North Sub-county, is a constituent college of Chuka University. It was elevated to the status of a University College in July, 2017.
By David Mutwiri/Monicah Nyagah