Waiguru assents to bill to revitalize Kamweti Agricultural Training Center

Kirinyaga County Governor, Anne Waiguru, has assented the Kirinyaga County Agricultural Technical and Vocational Education and Training Centre Act, 2023 that paves way for revitalization of the Kamweti Agricultural Training Center (ATC).

The act will seek to turn the ATC into a center of excellence for farmers and students to learn the best agricultural practices.

Waiguru said this will pave way for county to transform the facility into an institution recognized country wide as a benchmarking center for best farming practices where farmers will get quality seeds and students get best training on farming.

The act will allow the county to pump in more money into the institution so as to expand its capacity in terms of equipment, human capital and infrastructure.

“The act also provides for the establishment of Kirinyaga County Agricultural Institutions Revolving Fund to cater for operational, commercial and development activities for the ATVET Centre,” she said.

It was signed before the County Assembly Deputy Speaker Jinaro Njamumo, Leader of Majority David Kibinga and other Members of County Assembly, now repeals the Kirinyaga County Agricultural Training Centre Act, 2004.

This means that all rights, obligation, assets and liabilities belonging to ATC at Kamweti shall automatically be transferred to the ATVET Center.

Waiguru said that the act will provide a legal framework for establishment and administration of Centre as well as funding to meet its training and research objects. It spells out the functions of the center, its governance and administration, standards, quality and relevance in training as well as financial provisions.

The Governor noted that once the ATVET is established, it shall provide training on relevant agricultural technologies and other related subjects, training and conference facilities, exhibit practical demonstrations in agriculture and in any other relevant aspect of development.

It will also preserve and improve access to information and knowledge in agriculture and other development matters. It will also provide facilities for research, trials and bulking sites on relevant technologies and promote agribusiness in the agricultural sector,” the Governor said.

She added that the act also provides for a framework for effective competency-based training, research, technology transfer and agricultural development as well as a framework for funding the functions of the center.

According to the act, the ATVET Centre shall be managed by a Board of Management comprising of non-executive Chairperson appointed by the Governor and approved by the County Assembly. Other members of the board will the County Chief Officer for Agriculture, Livestock Fisheries and Veterinary Services, Chief Officer for Finance and Economic Planning, five farmers representative drawn from the five sub counties, one member drawn from an agricultural research organization based in the county, one youth and one person living with disability(PWD) and the principal who shall be an ex-officio member and secretary of the board. The staff of the Center will be deployed by the County Government.

To ensure that standards, quality and relevance of training, the board shall liaise with the Technical and Vocational Education and Training Authority and establish standards and benchmarks for training.  It shall also administer policies and guidelines that govern the establishment and accreditation of the center,” the Governor added.

The governor thanked the Members of County Assembly for diligently working towards the achievement of the act.

On their part, the MCAs led by Kibinga reiterated their commitment for a harmonious working relationship between the assembly and the executive for successful implementation of development projects and oversight.

Last week, the center held a mini agricultural show meant to bring together researchers, experts, students and exhibitors from various value chains, cooperative societies and manufacturers of agricultural inputs to educate farmers on the latest best farming practices.

The farmers were educated on value addition, modern farming technologies and innovations among other best farming practices.

“This center has been of great help to us, we have been able to educate farmers on the different ways to add value on their products. Through the support of the County Government, I have been able to teach farmers on bee farming and in this way, I have gotten more customers for my bee hives,” said Fredrick Mutuota, one of the exhibitors.

Jackson Nyaga, a local farmer, expressed his gratitude towards the County Government for organizing such an informative training expo. He highlighted how the knowledge gained hassignificantly enhanced his farming practices.

The last season presented numerous challenges, particularly regarding seed selection. I lacked the understanding of which seeds to sow during short rains. However, through this training, Ihave gained valuable insights, as the new farming season approaches, the lessons I have learnt will enhance my yields and profitability,” Nyaga stated.

Revitalization of the ATC is part of Governor Waiguru’s agenda on sustainability and commercializing agriculture by leveraging on innovations and technologies for aggregation, agro-processing and export-oriented value addition through organized value chain-based farmers groups to form cooperative societies.

Through the Wezesha Program, the County Government supports farmers through initiatives such as training and establishing of various value chains.

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