The AICAT Alumni of the Month - Peter Kimani Gitau

Peter came to AICAT through a Kenyan Government Internship Program in 2016. Peter, who held already a degree in land resources planning and management from Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology prior to arriving at AICAT, took the practical knowledge that he learnt here in the Arava and now is the co-owner of a working, successful in Thika, Kenya. Together with his partner, they set up two greenhouses and a nethouse and started growing tomatoes and cucumbers by August, the same year of his return! As well as expanding both the size and the variety of crops, Peter runs a consultancy business - for both agricultural firms and individuals. 

When asked what was one of the most important things that he learnt while at AICAT, he replied;
 “ The most important thing I learnt in AICAT was Time Management!  I saw how vital having discipline and being committed to schedules was. I realized that time management was the key to being successful in anything. Realizing this has changed in my life, and I returned to Kenya a transformed person.
Also, the Israelis attitude towards impressed me. I learnt from them the importance of setting targets and achieving them. They were always very active and “hands-on” in their work; they were not just the “boss,” this was inspiring."

He also mentions the effect of learning new and modern techniques in agriculture, that he had not used before.
"In Israel,  learning, working, and seeing the benefits of Drip Irrigation, completely changed my mind about what I thought about that technique. 
Before I believed they couldn't supply the amount of water needed but here I saw how precisely how drippers emit water and how I could schedule the amount and timing of watering crops."
Now, Peter uses drip irrigation technique throughout his farm, expanding his crop production cycle. He is able to grow vegetables (spinach, capsicum, and peppers) in and out of season without depending on rain.

His success with drip irrigation is evident when comparing his crop yield against farmers who don't use it, both the quality and yield is higher.  Less time and labour is devoted to irrigation or weeding (as drip irrigation reduces weed and foliage disease) therefore he can obtain higher profits. His farm has also become an empowerment learning center,  inspiring youths and local farmers to learn about modern crop production techniques. Its also improving the lives of all in his community; by creating employment and enhancing the sustainability of small businesses in the area,  as it is now is a major vegetable supplier to many grocery shops in the area.

The African Business Daily web site has written an article about Peter's journey.

Peter dreams of being able to return to AICAT - to join its Master Degree course thats held in conjunction with the University of Tel Aviv -  MSc in Plant Sciences, with an emphasis in Food Safety and Security.   It would give him the opportunity to improve his research skills (which are the heart of progress in crop production) and be able to spread the importance and awareness of "Food Security" for both his local area but for Africa as a whole.  He has already witnessed what effect his knowledge and his farm has had and knows there's more he can do.

This is what AICAT is all about.  This is the aim of AICAT.  To be able to bring students from across the globe, to the Arava - the home of modern agriculture - and teach them not only in the classrooms but in the fields too. These students, return home with the ability to change not only their life but also the world they live in.