By: Oluwatosin Iyun
Ahead of the 2021 farming season, the Nigerian government through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Thursday, completed training of about 30 Agricultural Extension Agents in Edo State.
It said the training became imperative to expose and equip the agents with the best global agricultural practices.
Speaking at the closing of the four-day training programme, which started, on Monday, March 8th and ended today (Thursday) in Benin, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, said the training would build the capacity of youth and existing practitioners in the agricultural extension delivery system.
Nanono who spoke through the State Director of Agriculture, Wellington Omoragbon, noted that fortunes of the agricultural extension systems had declined over the years.
He blamed this on decreased funding, policy changes, reduced manpower and lack of interest in agricultural entrepreneurship.
“This training is the first in a series of batches that will empower you with the knowledge that will enhance service delivery to farmers both in terms of production practices and equipment for technical support.
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“This situation has affected food production exposing the country to danger of unemployment, youth restiveness and economic instability,” Nanono said.
In view of this, he said: “The training is one of several strategies planned by the ministry to halt the drift in the agricultural extension system with the aim of pursuing the revitalisation agenda of the economy by the federal government.”
The Minister hints that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration desired to see that agricultural extension delivery system measured up to global competitiveness.
On his part, the Permanent Secretary, Mr Ernest Umakhihe, who was also represented by the Deputy Director, Extension Service, Mr Adekule Okunlaya, urged participants to take advantage of training to improve the agricultural sector.
Umakhihe noted that the training was being held in all the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.