By Gami Tadanyigbe

The Federal Govtnment has commenced the training of over 50 Agric Extension Workers on modern agricultural value chain in the country.

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is undertaking the training on extension tools, methodologies and selected agricultural value chain in Gwagwalada Area Council of FCT on behalf of the federal government.

Dr Mohammad Abubakar, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said on Thursday that the training was one of government plans in pursuing the revitalisation agenda of food and job creation in the country.

Represented by the state Coordinator, Mr Abdulrahaman Gurin, the minister said that the exercise was the third batch of training aimed at empowering extension workers with knowledge to enhance service delivery to farmers.

Abubakar explained that the training would also equip the extension workers with production practices and equipment for technical support.

According to him, agricultural extension delivery is the driver of all agricultural policies and research, without which all efforts in the agricultural ecosystem may not realise its intended goals.

“Over the years, the fortunes of agricultural extension system have declined majorly due to decreased funding, policy changes, reduced manpower and lack of interest of young people in agricultural entrepreneurship.

“It is the desire of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the ministry and every Nigerian to see that our Agricultural Extension delivery system meets global competitiveness to augment our foreign earning,” he said.

The Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mr Ernest Umakhihe, said the training was a key activity in the implementation of the government policy on revitalisation of agricultural extension delivery in Nigeria.

Umakhihe said the drive by the administration to revitalise agricultural extension services was to help farmers and value chain actors create jobs and promote sustainable agricultural and socio-economic development of the country.

While commending the federal government for providing the platform to train agric extension workers consistently, the director charged the extension agents to take the training seriously and make sure they train other farmers after the exercise.

Mr Frank Kudla, the Director, Federal Department of Agricultural Extension, FMARD, said the training was a turning point as the first among several recommendations of a special technical committee established by the minister to assist the ministry.

Kudla, represented by Mrs Obiageli Nwabuisi, Federal Department of Agricultural Extension, said the factors causing the decline in the national agricultural extension delivery system include decreasing number of extension agents caused by retirements, deaths and non-replacement.

Nwabuisi said the extension agents were selected across the six Area Councils in FCT, with three value chains based on comparative advantage with extension delivery.

“The training of the extension agents, among other interventions for the ADPs, will serve as a floodgate for many opportunities such as providing them with tools that will give more practical service to farmers,” she said.

Mr Ajaefobi Innocent D/FCT-ADP, the program manager, on his part said the intervention from FMARD is geared towards enhancing the ability of existing Extension Agents in the field and infusing new skills in the youth who are interested in the sector.

Innocent said it is predictable that an effective ADP system will disseminate and transfer the needed technologies for productivity enhancement and Rural income generation for youth and farmers, consequently stemming the challenges of food supply and Employment.

He added that the resource persons are seasoned practitioners both in research, knowledge sharing and learning in the agricultural extension subsector.

“Therefore, I implore you to take advantage of their presence and interactions with you to build your capacity and knowledge base, which will prepare you to face the challenges of the emerging world of agriculture and technology, ” he said.

A participant, Mrs Caroline Apeh, also thanked the federal government for providing the platform for the training and promised to use the knowledge acquired to retrain other farmers in FCT.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the training is holding in the 37 headquarters of agricultural development projects in Nigeria. (NAN)

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