The Federal Government has deployed 711 N-Power agricultural extension agents to Edo to boost agricultural activities in the state. The Programme Manager of the State Agricultural Development Programme (ADP), Mr Peter Aikhuomobhoebe, disclosed this in an interview with Newsmen in Benin on Monday.
Aikhuomobhoebe also disclosed that the Federal Government provided another 100 Knapsack sprayers to the state. He said that state’s extension agents was increased to 746 from its former 35, adding that state farmers would feel the direct impact of this intervention. He said the agents would be deployed across the three senatorial districts of the state to provide more technological support to farmers.
He, however, said the state would still need additional 698 extension agents to effectively provide the needed support to farmers across the state. “We have not had it this good in the area of extension agents for a very long time now. What we had before the Federal Government intervention through its N-Power programme was mere 35 that were expected to cover the whole state with no fewer than half a million farmers.
“Though we are aware that we need no fewer than 1,444 extension agents to be able to do a thorough job, the 711 that has been engaged by the federal government will make a tremendous impact in agricultural activities in the state.
“With the additional figure from the 35 we used to have, they will be able to reach out to more farmers next season. The farmers will have more technological support,” he stated. On the provision of Knapsack sprayers, Aikhuomobhoebe said it was also additional incentive to boost food production in the state.
He said handlers of the sprayers would be deployed to the field to assist farmers spray their farms with herbicides, pesticides and fungicides. “This is aimed at protecting their crops. This initiative of the federal government is good and will go a long way in encouraging farmers to increase their production as well as encourage others to go into agriculture,” he said. Aikhuomobhoebe said the state government has also introduced various initiatives to boost food production as well as provide employment opportunities through agriculture. “As a state, our Governor’s focus now is on agriculture. He is supporting a lot of initiatives on agriculture.
“There is the agric-preneur programme where 500 hectares of maize has been cultivated in Sobe area of the State. “With the initiatives by the state and also support being provided by the federal government, a whole lot will be happening in the sector next season.”