Agricultural training key to food security

Education is a vital element in all parts of our lives and more so in improving agricultural production.

It is evident that agricultural education has declined drastically and has impacted negatively on our country's food security.

Under the millennium development goals, eradication of extreme poverty and hunger is the first objective and therefore agriculture features as a viable solution to food insecurity.

Despite the fact that agriculture is the backbone of our country's economy, the agricultural subject has largely been downplayed in the formal education system, where it has been scrapped off from the primary school syllabus, and is only an optional subject at the secondary level.

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Agricultural education and training in Kenya has not been re-oriented towards entrepreneurship and the private sector.

Furthermore, the out-dated curricula coupled with inadequate learning materials are some of the challenges hindering effective agricultural training.

Two decades ago, agricultural education was incorporated in the primary school curriculum and was an effective means of creating agricultural awareness and understanding at an early age.

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The Young Farmers Club and the 4K club had created an avenue where young children could learn and transfer new farming technologies to the communities.

Today, many small-scale farmers can attribute their farming skills to the humble and perfect agricultural education learned in primary school.

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Agricultural lessons became a perfect foundation for many smallholder farmers today, who are now considered the main drivers of the country's economy.

On the other hand, farmers' training centres played a vital role in capacity building for both large-scale and small-scale farmers on various techniques of crops and livestock farming.

There has been a sharp decline of farmers training centres because some of these have been taken over by universities.

While those that are still operating are faced by myriads of challenges, such as inadequate facilities for demonstration and poor funding, there seems to be an increase in small-scale farmers, which calls for more trainers and extension officers.

In addition, vocational training should be strengthened because it is an essential element for creating a skilled workforce that is relevant to strengthening economic growth and lifting individuals and communities out of poverty.

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Despite the fact that there are many challenges facing the agricultural sector, young people should be offered a good agricultural skills foundation and more specifically, they should be taught agribusiness.

In my opinion, it is imperative for all stakeholders in the educational system to ensure that practical agriculture is encouraged in schools to help the nation achieve its goal of food security for all.

There is need to review the agricultural education curriculum for schools with a view to matching it with current market demands, available resources and including all other stakeholders in order to harmonise the agricultural education curricululum.

Agricultural education should be structured with the aim of providing students with knowledge and skills in order to increase agricultural production and productivity.

Trainers should also be given refresher courses and proper incentives.

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Food security Agricultural