Brief History of the Faculty of Agriculture


Faculty of Agriculture is a leading Faculty at the University of Nairobi in the provision of Kenyan Vice Chancellors, Principals and the International leadership.

Vice Chancellors formerly at Faculty of Agriculture at UoN

Prof. Philip Mbithi

Former UoN VC

Prof. Richard Musangi

Former VC, Egerton University

Prof. Shellemia Okoth Keya

Former VC, Moi University

Prof. Ratemo Michieka


Prof. Julius Nyambundi

Maseno University

Prof. Mary Walingo

Maasai Mara University

Prof. Samuel Gudu

Rongo University

Prof. Hamadi Boga

Former VC, Taita Taveta University

Prof. Ngamau Kamau

Cooperative University of Kenya

Prof. Dickson Nyariki

Murang’a University

Prof. Stephen Agong




Acting VCs and Principals formerly at Faculty of Agriculture at UoN

Prof. George N. Chemining’wa

Ag. Principal Turkana University

Prof. Francis Matuku

Machakos University

Prof. Solomon Shibairo

Ag. Masinde Muliro University

Prof. Daniel Mukunya

Former Principal CAVS

Prof. Agnes Mwang’ombe

Former Principal CAVS

Prof. Rose Nyikal

Current Ag. Principal CAVS

Dr. Joseph Oryokot

Serere Research Station

Prof. Phiri Sibuga

Former Dean Sokoine University



Leaders in International Institutions formerly at Faculty of Agriculture

Prof. Thomas R. Odhiambo


Prof. Shellemia Okoth Keya


Prof. Ratemo Michieka

FAO; IITA; UN-Framework Climate Change; President, ASRIC

Prof. Mary Obukutsa-Onyango

Deputy VC, JKUAT

Prof. Esther Kahangi


Prof. Paul M. Kimani


Prof. Wilfred Mwangi


Prof. David N. Ngugi


Dr. Susan Minae


Dr. Augusta Abate

Assistant FAO, Country Director, KALRO

Dr. George Kamande

Director, Technical & Business Development in charge of India, Middle East, Africa & Australia, Diamond V XPC

Prof. Samuel Mbugua


Dr. Robin Buruchara

Former Director AGRA,

Dr. Peter Waiyaki


Mrs. Sylvia Mulinge

Chief Customer Officer, Safaricom Company



National Leaders formerly at Faculty of Agriculture, UoN

Prof. Hamadi Boga

Principal Secretary, Agriculture

Dr. Romanos Kiome

Former PS, Agriculture

Dr. Hezron Nyangito (late)

Former PS Agriculture and Health

Dr. Songo

Principal Secretary, Agriculture

Mr. John Mututho

Former MP and Director NACADA

Mr. Ekwe Ethuro

Former Speaker of Parliament

Donald Thomas

Former DAO Machakos

The Faculty of Agriculture started in 1970/1971 with five departments including Agricultural Economics, Applied Plant Science, Crop Production, Entomology and Soil Science. On inception, 41 students joined the faculty to pursue B.Sc. Agriculture degree. The aim then was to train personnel who were broadly knowledgeable in most aspects of agricultural sciences. These students were taught both basic and applied sciences. Over time, more degree programs were developed but currently the programs are housed at the Faculty of Agriculture are Plant Science & Crop Protection, Land Agricultural Resource Management & Agricultural technology, Food Science, Nutrition & Technology, Agricultural Economics and Animal production. Currently, all courses undergraduate and Masters Courses are offered through face to face mode, online and Open Distance Learning (ODeL). The wide spectrum of courses confers a tremendous faculty /departmental competitive advantage toward teaching and learning, scholarly information generation through research and sharing through scientific information management and exchange besides innovation development.

The main employer for these graduates has been the public sector, specifically the State Department of Agriculture, Livestock and fisheries, Ministry of Cooperative Development, Ministry of Environment and other Line ministries.  A few graduates have been employed by government Parastatal boards and financial institutions such as Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC), National Bank of Kenya, Kenya Commercial Bank & Standard Chartered Bank.  A significant proportion of these graduates are also employed in the private sector such as the agro-chemical companies, feed and food processing companies, agricultural farm/estates, agricultural commodity institutes (Tea and Coffee Research Foundations), Non Governmental Organization in areas of Food Security and Livelihoods, environmental conservation like FAO, World Vision, GIZ, UNDP, UNEP among many others.

The List of Deans from Inception of the Faculty of Agriculture:



Deanship Period


Prof. T.R. Odhiambo                  


Renowned African Scientist

Prof. R.B Contant                         


Retired at ISNAR

Prof. R.S. Musangi                       


Former VC Egerton University

Prof. C.N. Karue                        


ICRAF and Founder of Range Department

Prof. D.N. Ngugi



Prof Shellemia O. Keya                            


Former VC Moi University

Prof. Daniel M. Mukunya                    


Former principal CAVS

Prof. Kimani Waithaka                



Prof. Jasper K. Imungi                         



Prof. Agnes W. Mwang’ombe               


Former Principal CAVS

Prof. John H. Nderitu                          


Former DVC Research Mt. Kenya University

Prof. Solomon I. Shibairo                        

2011- 2013

Current VC Masinde Muliro University

Prof. Ngugi R. Kinuthia                     



Prof. John K. Wangai



Prof. George N. Chemining’wa

2018- 2020

Current Principal Turkana University

Prof. Moses M. Nyangito

July 2020-to date

Currently Ag. Dean


Department of Plant Science and Crop Protection

The Department of Plant Science and Crop Protection is one of the oldest Departments in the University of Nairobi and originally started as two departments, Department of Crop Production and Department of Applied Science in the Faculty of Agriculture in 1970/71 within the College of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences (CAVS) in Upper Kabete Campus. The two departments were later re-organized and merged and renamed the Department of Crop Science. In 1997, the Department of Crop Science was split into two departments namely, Department of Crop Science and Department of Crop Protection.  In 2005, the two departments were merged to form the Department of Plant Science and Crop Protection. After the merger, the department was re-organized into two sections; namely Crop Science and Crop Protection.

Unknown ObjectThe Crop Science Section is made up of the following units: Agronomy, Horticulture, Plant Breeding and Biometry while Crop Protection Section has two units, Plant Pathology and Entomology. The Department teaches most courses for the BSc Agriculture Programme offered by the Faculty of Agriculture. It offers a BSc course in Horticulture, Diploma in Crop Protection, a certificate course in Floriculture and services 51 courses for different departments in CAVS. The Department offers masters and PhD programs in Agronomy, Plant Breeding, Plant Pathology, Crop Protection, Horticulture and Agricultural Resource Management.

The Department undertakes rigorous training for both Undergraduate and Postgraduate levels and conducts research geared towards solving national and international problems. The Department also undertakes consultancies, advisory services and encourages both national and international collaboration. The Department has strong linkages with national, regional and international research institutions and universities.

Majority of the pioneer senior academic staff of the Department were expatriates from The Netherlands, Britain, New Zealand and India. The senior-most Kenyan academic staff member then was Prof. Ngugi, the first indigenous Kenyan Chairman of the Department. The Department has had eleven Chairmen. These are Prof.  C.L. Van Eijnatten (1971-1977), Prof. D.N. Ngugi (1977-1988), Prof. Daniel M. Mukunya (1985-1989), Prof. Ratemo W. Michieka (1988-1989), Prof. Kimani  Waithaka (1989-1993), Prof. James Ayuka Chweya (1994-1999), Prof. Eunice W. Mutitu (1997-2003), Prof. Levi S. Akundabweni (1999-2005), Prof. Florence M. Olubayo (2003-2011), Prof. George N. Chemining’wa (2011 to 2018), Prof. Margaret J. Hutchinson (2018-May 2020), Prof. James Muthomi (Ag. Chairman) (June 2020-To date). Prof. Mutitu was the pioneer Chairman of the former Department of Crop Protection before the merger with the former Department of Crop Science to form Department of Plant Science and Crop Protection. Prof. Florence M. Olubayo served as the second and last Chairman of the former Crop Protection Department for two years and then six years as the Chairman of the Department of Plant Science and Crop Protection.      


Department  of Agricultural Economics

The origin of the Department of Agricultural Economics dates back to 1970 when the University of Nairobi and the Faculty of Agriculture were established.  Its distinct character for many years was a commitment to provide excellent formal training in Agricultural Economics at the MSc degree level. In 1999/2000 academic year, the department introduced new undergraduate degree programs in BSc Agribusiness Management, BSc Agricultural Education and Extension. The programs rolled out the first undergraduate graduands in 2003/2004.  In 2004/2005 academic year MSc in Agricultural and Applied Economics was launched in the department.  This is a regional program under the name CMAAE offered in 16 universities with a third semester taken at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. CMAAE first cohort enrolled in 2005/2006.  In 2008/2009, another regional (ASARECA) MSc program in Agricultural Information and Communication Management (AICM) was rolled out in the department with a distinct focus on enhancement of skills in Agricultural Information. The first cohort in MSc-AICM enrolled in 2008/2009. In 2011/ 2012 BSc Agricultural Extension/Education and MSc-AICM were put in ODEL mode of delivery and progress is underway to put all the programs under e-learning. In summary, there are 8 programs being offered by the Department of Economics in B.Sc., M.Sc and Ph.D.


The following have been chairpersons of the Department of Agricultural Economics: Prof. H.U. Thimm (1970-1974); Prof. A. Weber (1975-1976); Prof. E.W. Schenk (1977-1979); Prof. W.M. Mwangi (1980-1986); Prof. Chris A. Ogutu (1987-1993); Prof. Stephene G. Mbogoh (1994-1999); Prof. W.O. Kosura (1999-2004); Prof. Rose A. Nyikal (2004-2011); Prof. John I. Mburu (Current Chairman).  


Department Food Science, Nutrition and Technology

The first intake of undergraduates in the Department of Food Science and Technology was in 1973, with the award of first B.Sc. degrees taking place in 1976. MSc. Program in Food Science and Technology was designed in 1982-1984, with the first intake of postgraduate students occurring in 1984. The MSc program in Applied Human Nutrition was established in 1985 hence the department renamed "Department of Food Technology & Nutrition". Current name of the department is Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Technology. Graduates of the department`s internationally recognized programs are well prepared to enter Food industries, Government ministries, Parastatals, Non-governmental organizations and research institutions in the various fields involved in food processing and human nutrition, research and development, as well as planning and implementation of projects.

The department collaborates with several institutions such as Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich and the United Nations University, Tokyo. Close ties are also maintained with the Swiss Development Co-operation (SDC) and German Technical Cooperation (GTZ), and locally with the Kenya Institute of Food Science and Technology (KIFST), which provides linkage between the department and local food industries. The chairpersons from inception are as follows: Dr. W. Schulthes (1973- 1986); Prof. Samuel K. Mbugua (1986-1992); Prof. Jasper K. Imungi (1992 -1998); Prof. Edward G. Karuri (1998-2004); Prof. Michael W. Okoth (2004-2013); Prof. Wambui K. Makau (2013 to 2020) and Dr. George A. Ooko (2020 to date).



Field Station

The Field Station Farm has been in operation for over 40 years. The Field Station was acquired by the government to start a Faculty of Agriculture in the then University of East Africa’s Nairobi University College. Acquisition process of the former Kirima Kimwe Coffee Estate (300 acres) started around 1967/68 in readiness for the first batch of students in 1970/71.  Additional excision of 200 acres from Veterinary Labs farm came around 1971 to constitute the 500 acres field station. The first students relocated from Chiromo Campus in 1971/72 and started using former Kirima Kimwe Primary school facility as classrooms and laboratories.  The farm borders Vet. Labs to the south, Loresho Estate to the East, Mathari River to the north and Veterinary Labs Sports Club and Kapenguria Road to the west. The farm is mandated to do the following: a) Support teaching, b) Support research, c) Income generation and d) Supporting teaching. The farm also serves students in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine who come for practicals on A.I, beef cattle management, pasture management and disease management.


Department of Land Resource Management & Agricultural Technology

The department of LARMAT has a rich and unique heritage established in 2005 following the merger of two previously full-fledged departments and an Institute. The units were Soil Science (The former department of Soil Science was among the oldest units of the Faculty of Agriculture) and Range Management (The former department of Range Management started in 1979 at the behest of the government of the Republic of Kenya to train graduate-level man power to manage its vast drylands) and the Institute of Dryland Resource Development and Utilization.  In 1976, the department of Soil Science launched a Master’s degree program in Soil Science and thereafter a Doctoral program. Several of Masters’ graduates proceeded to Ph.D. The first intake of students comprising diploma graduates from Egerton College who enrolled with full government support. The Government supported the establishment of the physical and field teaching facilities at Kibwezi station. In 1988, a Master’s program was launched and first group of students was admitted in 1989.

The Department has had several milestones as follows; Microbiological Resources Center for East and Southern Africa supported by UNESCO/ FAO/ UNEP launched in 1976. The Center hosted regional training, research and international collaboration in soil bio-prospecting, conservation/ preservation and utilization of soil microbial resource in Africa and beyond. In 1980 the BIOFIX legume inoculant was developed and piloted in Kenya and East Africa. In 1991 improvement of Rhizobia technology for soil fertility improvement in East Africa won first Ceiber Geigy African Academy of Science Gold Medal Prize. The product is now under commercial production and marketing through UoN/MEA Limited public/private partnership. In 1984, the department launched African Association for Biological Nitrogen Fixation (AABNF) that has attracted substantial funding by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

From the start of the department to 2005, several academic members of staff served as Chairspersons. These included: Prof. Fewster (1970), late Peter Ahn (1972-1977), Prof. Shellemiah O. Keya (1976-1984), Prof. Joseph K. Keter (1984), Prof. Joseph. Mbuvi (1992-1995), Prof. Nancy K.N. Karanja (1996-2002), Prof. Charles K. Gachene (2002-2008), Prof. Geogffrey  Kironchi (Current Chair).