The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) has started training for more than 50 Agric Extension Workers on extension tools, methodologies and selected agricultural value chain in Gwagwalada, FCT.
Dr Mohammad Abubakar, Minister of Agriculture and rural development, said the training was one of the ministry’s plans in pursuing the revitalisation agenda of food and job creation in the country.
Represented by FMARD State Coordinator, Abdulrahaman Gurin, Abubakar said that the exercise was the 3rd batch of training aimed at empowering extension workers with knowledge to enhance service delivery to farmers.
He 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, FMARD, Mr Ernest Umakhihe, maintained that the training was a key activity in the implementation of the Governments 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.
The director who thanked the federal government for providing the platform to train Agric Extension workers consistently, charged the extension agents to take the training seriously and make sure they trained other farmers after the exercise.
Mr Frank Kudla, 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.
A participant, Mrs Caroline Apeh, thanked the federal government for providing the platform for the training exercise and promised to use the knowledge acquired to retrain other farmers in FCT.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the three days training is holding in the 37 headquarters of Agricultural development projects in Nigeria. (NAN)