The government has hinted at its plan to use technology to aid extension workers in reaching out to farmers on postharvest management of high-value crops like yam, sustainable natural resource management.
The Director Federal Department of Agriculture of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mrs Karim Babangida, disclosed this in Ogun during a training workshop organized for South West Extension workers by Yam Value Chain, Root and Tuber Expansion Programme, Ijebu –Ife.
She said Agricultural Extension Services (AES) systems play an indispensable role at the frontline in communicating with the rural farmers.
“However, to adapt to the emergency context within the government regulations, AES providers need to rapidly change their mode of operations through the adoption of modern technology.
“Providing agricultural extension services to farmers is costly and challenging because of several reasons: farmers are geographically dispersed in difficult-to-reach places; some of their information requirements are highly localized, and large-scale extension provision faces several governance challenges. Under this situation, ICT becomes an alternative option.
“ICT applications have the potential to address some of the challenges. Compared to face-to-face extension, they are cheaper because they do not rely on costly and time-consuming travelling. It allows for more timely and regular provision of farming advice to farmers in their local dialects.”
She said a holistic approach to agricultural extension service goes beyond technology transfer for major crops. She said it also includes enhancing the management and technical skills of farm households relating to production, and postharvest management of high-value crops like yam; sustainable natural resource management; family health care and nutrition.
The Programme Manager Root and Tuber Expansion Programme, Ijebu –Ife, Deola Lordbanjou, said it is hoped that at the end of the workshop, participants will be equipped with better knowledge on how to strategize in dealing with farmers for food security in the face of COVID–19 era.
“You will all agree with me that under COVID-19, extension workers have not been able to meet with farmers as regular they should but with better technology, this can be done without putting anybody at risk.
“Again, yam production has gone through a lot of transformation in recent time and extension workers need to acquaint themselves of the processes in order to advise the farmers properly,” he added.
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FG plans to deploy technology to aid agriculture extension services
Nigeria recorded a slight reduction in the number of COVID-19 infections, recoveries and deaths last week, Tribune Online analysis shows.
Last week (February 14 to 20), 5,849 new cases were reported in the country, the lowest in seven weeks.
The last time Nigeria recorded such a low figure was in the December 27 to January 2 week, when it reported 5,681 cases…FG plans to deploy technology to aid agriculture extension services