Kirinyaga County has taken a significant step towards becoming a leader in agricultural practices with Governor Anne Waiguru signing the Kirinyaga County Agricultural Technical and Vocational Education and Training Centre Act, 2023.

This act paves the way for the revitalization of the existing Kamweti Agricultural Training Center (ATC) into a top-tier Agricultural Technical and Vocational Education and Training (ATVET) Center.

Governor Waiguru outlined the act's goals, stating, "This will pave the way for the county to transform the facility into an institution recognized countrywide as a benchmarking centre for best farming practices."

The centre aims to be a one-stop shop for both farmers and students, providing access to high-quality seeds, training programs, and cutting-edge agricultural techniques.

The act brings a multitude of benefits. Firstly, it allows the county to significantly increase funding for the institution.

This investment will be used to expand capacity in terms of equipment, personnel, 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," Waiguru further explained.

Secondly, the act repeals the outdated Kirinyaga County Agricultural Training Centre Act, 2004.

This ensures a modern legal framework for the establishment, administration, and funding of the ATVET Center. The act also clearly defines the centre's functions, governance structure, training and research objectives, financial provisions, and commitment to quality and relevant training programs.

Waiguru elaborated on the centre's expanded offerings, stating, "The ATVET Centre 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."

The center will also serve as a valuable resource for the community, preserving and improving access to information on agricultural advancements and development matters.

Additionally, it will provide facilities for research, experimentation, and the promotion of agribusiness within the county's agricultural sector.

The act establishes a framework for effective training, research, and technology transfer, all geared towards propelling agricultural development in Kirinyaga County.

Waiguru emphasized, "The act also provides for a framework for funding the functions of the centre."

The act outlines a comprehensive Board of Management structure to oversee the ATVET Center. The board will be chaired by a non-executive member appointed by the Governor and approved by the County Assembly.

Other board members will represent various stakeholders, including the County's agricultural and financial departments, farmers from all five sub-counties, an agricultural research organization, a youth representative, a person with a disability (PWD), and the ATVET Center's principal who will serve as an ex-officio member and secretary. Staff 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," Waiguru explained.

The board will also be responsible for administering policies and guidelines governing the establishment and accreditation of the centre.

Governor Waiguru expressed her gratitude to the Members of the County Assembly (MCAs) for their role in making the act a reality.

The MCAs, led by Majority Leader David Kibinga, echoed their commitment to a collaborative working relationship with the executive branch to ensure the successful implementation of development projects and effective oversight.

This collaborative spirit positions Kirinyaga County for a thriving agricultural future.