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 at Upper Kabete Campus. The two departments were later re-organized and merged and renamed the Department of Crop Science. 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. D. N. Ngugi, the first indigenous Kenyan Chairman of the Department. 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. The 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 has had eleven Chairmen: 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 (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.
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, and services 51 courses for different departments in the College of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences (CAVS). The Department offers masters and PhD programs in Agronomy, Plant Breeding, Plant Pathology, Crop Protection, Horticulture, Seed Technology and Business Management 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.