Demonstration of use of a simple portable miller/chopper that has been designed to mechanise feed value addition during a farmers’ workshop event. Photo courtesy.
The government has established Lari Technical Training Institute in Kiambu, adding on the list of technical institutes in Kenya to help farmers add value to their various produce such as milk, meat and tea among others to enable them success more value added agriculture-niche markets as opposed to selling the raw materials alone.
According to a 2014 study by a team of researchers from the University of Nairobi on Indicators of Value Added Agri-Businesses on Small Farms in Kenya and published by the Journal of Small Business and Entrepreneurship Development, value added initiative leads to increased net return per unit of the product sold.
It further indicates that Kenya’s agrarian economy is suffering from limited value addition as the statistics show that six per cent of small farmers add value to their agricultural produce.
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The new institute which was constructed at a cost of Sh155m and sits on a seven acre parcel of land in Nyanduma Sub Location, Kiambu County will see farmers gain special skills on agriculture through different workshops.
The institute already has two workshops, which were constructed and fully equipped by Avic International Company.
The dairy and meat workshops are aimed at processing the farm produce that will be provided by the community under a specialized agreement that the institute has signed with different community farming organizations.
“With these workshops, we will be able to produce yoghurt, milk, meat, milk powder, tea and other farm products,” said Mr Simon Njoroge, Lari TTI Principal.
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According to the TTI Vocational and Technical Training Principal Secretary, Dr Kevit Desai, Lari TTI is a centre of excellence in Value Add Agriculture training based on its location and the environs and it will seek to empower youth and women with technical skills as way of creating entrepreneurship among these groups who made up the bigger population.
The institute has a student capacity of 400 and by April this year it will be opened for learning. Apart from the main areas of focus which are mainly centered towards the agricultural sector, the TTI will also be offering Diploma and Certificate courses which are hands on related.
Diploma and Certificate levels will cut across the whole agricultural sector from Animal, Plant Management to Agri-business.
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However, the institute at the moment is still under Kiambu Institute of Science and Technology which will be overseeing its key operations for a period of time until when the institute ready to stand on its own.