Noah Cheploen @Cheploennoah
The government is staring at a crisis following revelations that a large number of workers are nearing retirement with the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Irrigation most affected.
Irrigation Principal Secretary Fred Segor said the government was grappling with an ageing workforce, adding that most workers would be retiring in the next two or three years which, therefore, leaves the public service in a tight spot.
The problem is compounded by the fact that counties are also facing similar challenges with biting shortage of extension officers and agriculture experts being the biggest stumbling block to food security.
Speaking after touring dams in Mogotio, Baringo county, being built by the National Irrigation Board under the ongoing National Household Water Storage project, Segor said the Jubilee administration is determined to alleviate hunger and poverty.
“This is my sixth year in the ministry and I can assure you many of our staff are almost retiring and that is one of the problematic issues we’re facing,” he said at Lozich Equator Resort in Mogotio, where he met local farmers.
The woes are compounded by the fact that the average age of farmers is 60 years yet the youth are reluctant to take up the baton; instead they are busy looking for white-collar jobs.
The country is also experiencing shortage of extension officers and other expert services.
Baringo Governor Stanley Kiptis said his administration had prioritised agriculture, adding that plans to hire extension officers were almost complete.
“We are working hard to address the issues because agriculture is the backbone of the economy,” Kiptis said.
He said Baringo was also grappling with budgetary constraints after its allocation was slashed by about Sh400 million.
Segor, who was accompanied NIB chief executive Gitonga Mugambi and Grace Kiptui (board member), said the government plans to build some 125,000 small dams in individual farms in the next five years.
Already, 130 small dams have been completed in Mogotio (Baringo) and 107 in Kabazi in Subukia, Nakuru county.