Wangati Fred

Wangati Fred was elected as an AAS Fellow in 1985. As a fellow, Wangati Fred contributes to the development of the Academy’s strategic direction through participation in AAS activities and governance structures. . This gears the Academys vision of transforming african lives through science.

Year elected
Agricultural & Nutritional Sciences

Dr Frederick Joshua Wangati was born at Kanyariri, Kiambu County  on 12th October 1936. He was educated at Kanyariri Primary School, ACK Kabete Intermediate School and sat Cambridge School Certificate at the Government African School, Kagumo, in Nyeri. He then proceeded to Makerere University College in Uganda where he graduated with BSc (Physics) degree of London University in March 1963. During College vacations, Dr Wangati had the unique opportunity to work under internationally recognized scientists at the East African Agriculture and Forestry Research Organization (EAAFRO), an institution of the East African Community. It was here that he was exposed to, and developed interest in, the relatively new discipline of Agricultural Meteorology. He was therefore, upon graduation, recruited by the East African Community and appointed as a Research Officer Trainee in the Physics Division of the EAAFRO. He was sent for further training at the Rothamsted Experimental Station, UK, in 1964 under British Council Scholarship where he graduated with MSc (Physics) degree of the University of London in 1966. Upon return to Kenya, Dr Wangati was registered for PhD studies under the University of East Africa through the Faculty of Agriculture of Makerere University College. He was awarded the PhD degree in 1970. During this period most expatriate research officers left the country and Dr Wangati was promoted first to head the Physics and Chemistry Division and in 1971, to the position of Deputy Director of EAAFRO. A major responsibility of this position was to oversee the accelerated recruitment and training of local research officers in overseas universities. Unfortunately, this appointment put an end to his direct participation in research projects, but was able to participate in part-time teaching at the Department of Soil Science of the University of Nairobi. He was also appointed Editor of the East African Agriculture and Forestry Journal and played a key role in the formation of the Soil Science Society of East Africa under his chairmanship. Upon collapse of the East African Community in June 1977, Dr Wangati was transferred to the Kenya Government and appointed Director of the new Agricultural Research Department at Muguga. He was subsequently moved from Muguga and appointed Secretary of the Agriculture Sciences Department, a function of the National Council for Science and Technology. A major responsibility was to participate in the frantic discussions with the Ministries of Agriculture and Natural Resources on the future management of the research activities at Muguga. The outcome was the formation of the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute, KARI. And the Kenya Forestry Research Insitute, KEFRI. Dr Wangati was appointed Executive Secretary of the National Council for Science and Technology in 1981. A major responsibility of this position was the implementation of the newly formulated national Science and Technology Policy. This required him to participate in the Governing Boards of all national research organizations and to represent the government in major conferences on science and technology within and outside the country. He also served as part time lecturer and supervisor of postgraduate students at the Department of Meteorology of the University of Nairobi. As a Member of the Board of the International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology, Dr Wangati had the privilege to work closely with the Late Prof Thomas Odhiambo and was soon involved in the formation and operation of the Kenya National Academy of Sciences. He also participated with Prof Odhiambo at the meetings of the Third World Academy of Sciences in Trieste, Italy, and the formation of the African Academy of Sciences in 1985. He thus became a Founder Fellow of the AAS. Dr Wangati was also invited to serve as a consultant in the External Reviews of most CGIAR Centre programmes which involved external travel to many countries and continents. He was eventually appointed to serve as a member of the Governing Boards of CIAT in Colombia and IBSRAM in Thailand. Dr Wangati finally opted for early retirement from Government service in September 1989 and intensified his activities as a consultant in evaluation of donor funded research projects in the region. He was also appointed to lead an environmental technology project at the UNEP Desertification Programme for two years and a Strategic Planning project for ASARECA based at Entebbe in Uganda. Dr Wangati eventually retired from consultancy activities which needed travel to difficult environments and for some time concentrated on desk based project evaluations and advisory services. His final assignment was chairmanship of an inter-ministerial committee which developed the new Kenyan policies on the organization of agricultural research and extension services. The resulting policies were adopted and enacted into law in 2013. The implementation of these policies saw the formation of the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO). The formation of a new Agricultural Extension System was, however, affected by the transfer of Agricultural services as a devolved function under the new County governments. During these activities and thereafter, Dr Wangati was fortunate to find refuge at the Cedar Grove Junior Academy, a private primary school founded by his wife in 1979. They also created a successful hospitality institution, the Twiga Hill Lodge, within their residential estate at Hardy, Karen. Full retirement however started when the Twiga Hill Lodge had to close down in 2014, followed closely by Cedar Grove Junior Academy in 2016.    Dr Wangati is married to Minnie Wanjiru and they are blessed with three children and four grandchildren.