Written by Protus Simiyu
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The National Director of ATC institutions Phillip Makheti addressing farmers during the function[PHOTO|Protus Simiyu|Westfm]
The government has set aside KSh. 80 Million to construct 9 new Agriculture Training College institutions ATC in the country.
The National Director of ATC institutions Phillip Makheti said the move is part of the government policy to have at least one ATC institution in each of all the 47 counties in the country.
“This year the government has only allocated KSh.80 M to establish 9 ATC institutions in those counties that lack one, but as a government we are determined to ensure every county has its own ATC to assist farmers increase their production,” Makheti said.
The director was addressing farmers and other stakeholders at Mabanga ATC in Bungoma County where he said the government is using over KSh. 100 M every year to improve the existing ATC institutions in the country.
Mr. Makheti assured farmers and stakeholders that plans are in progress to have all the ATC institutions under one managing authority to enable them become autonomous in future.
The director said long term plans are also in progress to turn the ATC institutions into Agricultural Institutions saying they cannot allow the institutions to become University campuses.
“We need these institutions in future and we cannot accept the institutions to be elevated to University status, they are very important in terms of farmer training and food and technological advancements,” he said.
The director told farmers that the government is sourcing for funds to be channeled to the ATC institutions to necessitate them become strong Agriculture Institutions in the country.
He challenged farmers to make use of the institutions especially during open agriculture exhibitions to acquire new skills and technologies on how to improve their levels of production.
“The Ministry of Agriculture lacks enough field extension officers, it’s prudent for farmers to utilize such forums to acquire new farming skills and technologies,” Makheti urged.
Further, the director urged farmers to go back to organic farming saying production in Bungoma County is going down as a result of increase in acidic ph levels in the soils.
“Our soils become weaker every year and organic farming is the only way to go in order to reverse the trend” he assured.
He also challenged farmers in Bungoma County to increase production in poultry and livestock farming in order to benefit from the poultry slaughterhouse being established in the region.
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