The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono, has restated the Federal Government’s commitment to training more than 50,000 agricultural extension workers to boost agricultural production in Nigeria.
The minister disclosed this during a 3-day Annual National Stakeholders Review and Planning Workshop on Wednesday in Zaria.
Represented by Mr Frank Satumari, Director of Extension of the ministry, Nanono said Nigeria was faced with the issue of ageing in agricultural extension services.
He noted that the young officers were not being trained to take over from the senior officers that were retiring.
The Minister said there was Youth and Gender Division in the Department of Agricultural Extension where the ministry used to train women and youth in the agriculture as part of the activities to revamp extension services.
He said the ministry would also strengthen partnership with the private sector for in-depth analysis into the shortfall of extension workers with a view to addressing the challenge.
He expressed optimism that the target of training the 50,000 agricultural extension workers would be achieved before the expiration of the tenure of the present administration.
“I assure you that in the next two years there will be a drastic departure from what we are seeing now,’’ he said.
Nanono recalled that the collaboration between the ministry and the training partners, Sasakawa Africa Association and Sasakawa Global 2000 SAA/SG2000 started in 1992.
He explained that the partnership was to provide a platform for extension service delivery, using extension approaches and tools that are demand-driven and market-oriented.
He added that the issue of crop post-harvest handling and access to the market is also part of the training package.
“The workshop has always been timely in that it complements the agenda of the ministry where smallholder farmers are the target of farmer’s education activities in the crop value chain that the ministry is promoting,’’ the minister said.
Prof. Sani Miko, Country Director, SAA/SG2000, said the workshop was aimed at getting feedback from previous year’s activity implementation efforts from partners.
He added that the workshop would present SG2000 activities for the year 2020 for better contribution from the key stakeholders towards addressing perennial problems affecting smallholder farmers along the value chains.
Also, Mr Maina Binus, Programme Manager, Gombe State Agricultural Development Project (SADP) while speaking on behalf of the Programme Managers of State Agricultural Development Project, lamented that the SADP were relegated to the background in the various states.
He advised government and key stakeholders to revive the SADP in order to address many social and economic challenges in the country.