FG, Kebbi train agric extension agents
The Kebbi State Government and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture have trained agricultural extension agents in the state. The three-day training, which was held in Birnin Kebbi, was to boost food production and promote adoption of latest agricultural technologies and products.
The state Commissioner for Agriculture and Mineral Resources, Alhaji Maigari Abdullahi Dakingari, said the ongoing training would boost agricultural production and enhance food security in the state.
“Our farmers are eager; they are prepared and they have farm equipment and inputs that are necessary, but without them having the knowledge on the utilisation of the modern equipment, they may not make good use of them.
“This training is very important because of the fact that agriculture is not static; it is dynamic, and there are innovations,” he said.
The commissioner commended the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) for organising the training programme, saying that the initiative would boost yields and operations in agriculture.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Muhammad Mahmood Abubakar, said agricultural extension had metamorphosed from one stage to another.
The minister, who was represented by the Director, Federal Ministry of Agriculture in the state, Shehu Abdullahi, said agricultural extension was crucial to rural and semi-urban development, food and job production for the fast-growing population, especially in emerging economies such as Nigeria.
“Over the years, the fortune of the agricultural extension system has declined due to decreased funding, policy changes, reduced manpower and lack of interest of young people in agricultural entrepreneurship.
“This situation has affected food production, exposing the country to the dangers of unemployment, youth restiveness and economic instability.
“This training is one of the several strategies by the FMARD to halt the drift in the agricultural extension system with the aim of pursuing the revitalisation agenda of the Nigerian economy by the Federal Government,” he said.
Principal Agricultural Officer, Federal Department of Agricultural Extension, FMARD, Alhaji Abubakar Bello, said the factors causing the decline in the national agricultural extension delivery system included the decreasing number of extension agents caused by retirements, deaths and non-replacements.
Bello said youth unwillingness to embrace agricultural entrepreneurship, poor capacity of existing extension agents to deliver due to lack or low quality of training, and the general poor funding of the sub-sector were other factors.
“This training is designed to empower participants with skills in the use of extension delivery methodologies and tools, as well as the best global practices in agricultural value chains, as chosen by your state.
“The training also provides you with necessary logistics and reference manuals in tune with emerging technologies, innovations and practices in the sub-sector.
“The resource persons have been carefully selected from agricultural research institutes, universities, colleges of agriculture and the Agricultural Development Programmes (ADP), and few private sector partners,” he said.