FG to establish agric extension offices in LGAs, says Ogbeh
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh says the Federal Government will establish one agricultural extension office in each Local Government Area within the next three years.
Ogbeh disclosed this while speaking at the ongoing Sectoral Debate on Nigeria Economy at the House of Representatives on Wednesday in Abuja.
The Minister explained that the extension offices would further keep the farmers abreast with daily research findings targeted at boosting agriculture in the country.
He said extension officers would also convey challenges faced in the farm by the farmers to research institutes to find appropriate solutions.
Ogbeh said delegates from the ministry would be touring all the research institutes in the country with the aim of finding out why they are not performing as expected.
The minister, however, decried the low budgetary allocation to the agriculture sector, describing the current 1.6 per cent of the national budget allocated to the sector as “pathetic.’’
“If agriculture is going to come back to prominence again, it then means all of us will have to do whatever we can to sympathise with agriculture.
“The elites have generally walked away from this area of business and they even look down on it with scorn.
“Budget allocations are always pathetically low; the Maputo Declaration says 10 per cent of national budget.
“In future when we bring budget proposals, please show sympathy and understanding,’’ the minister urged.
On Genetically Modified Organism (GMO), the minister said government was a little hesitant, saying that the present administration would not accept or refuse it in a hurry.
He explained that the debate on the safety of GMOs and its rejection in some European countries calls for caution, saying that government would decide on the use of GMOs very soon.
The minister also expressed concern over the removal of Colleges of Agriculture from Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) support, saying that the ministry is making case for them.
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