Farmers seek decentralisation of helpline centers to grassroots
Farmers in Southeast states have lauded the establishment of Farmers Helpline Centers, across the six geopolitical zones of the country.
The center for the Southeast zone is located at the National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI), Umudike, Abia State, and overseen by Dr. Ekwuruchi Mbanaso, an Assistant Director of Extension Services of the Institute.
National Vice Chairman, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (ALFAN), Chief Daniel Okafor, during the advocacy, sensitisation and awareness creation of the centre, said though farmers welcomed the concept, it would be more effective if it is stepped down to states, to give farmers at the grassroots easy access to the service.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammed Umar, represented by Dr. (Mrs) Ngozi Odunze said the Farmers Helpline Center Telephone driven-device was established by the Federal Department of Agricultural Extension (FDAE).
She said the centers are meant to promote and facilitate efficient and effective agricultural extension services to farmers through dissemination of good agronomic practices electronically, using latest information and communication technology and strengthening partnership that will drive growth in National Agricultural Extension Service Delivery System.
Odunze, who is Deputy Director-Field Extension Services added that the ministry’s Department of Agricultural Extension will in collaboration with the National Agricultural Extension and Liaison Services (NAERLS) ensure continuous airing of Radio jingles to further enlighten farmers and general public within the zone in local languages and pidgin.
Describing the initiate as worthy innovation that will assist farmers and increase agricultural productivity, the Executive Director of the NRCRI Professor Ukpabi Joseph Ukpabi urged the farmers to make the best use of the center’s free service to ask questions and get the right answers to their farming problems.