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Farmers want more extension officers employed to boost agricultural production

Farmers have asked the Laikipia county government to employ more agriculture extension officers to boost farm production.

The county which has more than 105,000 farmers, has only 100 extension officers to advise residents on the best farming practices, which had resulted in poor yield since they were not enough to traverse the vast region. Each agriculture extension officer is expected to serve about 500 farmers.

Agricultural Society of Kenya, Nanyuki branch chairman Newton Kabuthia acknowledged the need for the counties to have enough extension officers to offer technical support for farmers aimed at boosting food productivity.

“Agriculture is a devolved function and therefore we call upon the county government to give a boost in the sector and bring back the extension officers to advice the local farmers for best crop production,” said Kabuthia , adding that there was a challenge in the agriculture sector since farmers lacked know-how, leading to poor yield.

Additionally, Kabuthia said that, agriculture being a devolved function, counties were mandated to allocate sufficient funds to employ extension officers who were significant in communicating to farmers about best farm inputs and chemicals to use for best result in bid to alleviate hunger.

“Funds are being released to the county government and they should consider allocating a budget geared towards sensitizing farmers through agriculture extension officers, they are significant in best farming practices,” Kabuthia pointed out.

Kabuthia further emphasised the need to strengthen 4K clubs in school as a way of training children at an early age on how to embrace farming since agriculture is Kenya’s economic backbone.

At the same time Kabuthia encouraged learners to choose agriculture as a learning subject to improve their knowledge in the sector.

The national ASK Chief Executive Officer Batram Muthoka revealed that they had developed a young farmer’s management portal to promote agriculture.

Meanwhile, they called on residents to prepare for the upcoming agriculture exhibitions next month where various agricultural technologies will be showcased.

By Muturi Mwangi

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