ABUJA – The Federal Government has flagged off the training of extension service workers across the 36 States of the Federation and Abuja.
Muhammad Sabo Nanono, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, who flagged- off the exercise held at the FCT Agricultural Development Project (ADP) headquarters, Gwagwalada, Abuja, said the exercise was part of the Federal Government’s efforts to promote agriculture extension services with the aim of improving productivity of crops,livestock and ensure food security in the country.
He said agricultural extension delivery was the driver of all agricultural policies and research, without which all effort in the agricultural ecosystem may not realise its intended goals.
He noted that the fortunes of the agricultural extension system has declined majorly due to decreased funding, policy changes, reduced man-power and lack of the interest of the youths in agricultural entrepreneurship the country.
He added that this situation has affected food production as it has exposed the country to danger of unemployment, youth restiveness and economic instability.
Nanono explained that an earlier committee on the revitalisation of agricultural extension service in Nigeria had been constituted to recommend appropriate institutional structures, arrangements and capacity building for effective and efficient pluralistic agricultural extension and advisory services in Nigeria, using globally acceptable approaches and platforms.
He reassured the trainees that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development through its technical department the Federal Department of Agricultural Extension had selected Resource Persons who would bring their expertise and experience to drive the training and also well prepared technical reference materials, to ensure that they received the best.
The minister also urged the trainees to take the training seriously, stating that “by the time you finish this training you will regard yourselves not only as an extension worker but also as a farmer that will contribute his quota to the Gross Domestic Product(GDP) of this country.”
In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary , Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Ernest Umakhihe, represented by the Director, Federal Department of Agricultural Extension Services,Engr Frank Kudla, said that the current situation posed by COVID-19 has brought new challenges to food supply and youth employment.
He added that an effective ADP system would disseminate and transfer the needed technologies for productivity enhancement and rural income generation for youth farmers, consequently, stemming the challenges of food supply and unemployment in the country.