FG targets 75,000 extension workers in 4 years to improve agriculture


The federal government has said that it targets to train 75,000 extension workers in four years to improve the agriculture sector in Nigeria.

The Director of Extension, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Engr. Frank Satumari Kudla who stated this in an interview with newsmen at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan recently said that by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) records, Nigeria supposed to have one extension worker to eight hundred farmers adding that recent assessment by the Ministry showed that the country had one extension worker to thirty thousand farmers which, according to him, was grossly inadequate.

While stating that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development had thought it necessary to do an aggressive training of extension workers, he added that “We are targeting 75,000 extension workers within the period of four years.”

He, however, disclosed that so far, the Ministry had trained over two thousand extension workers and was targeting training another two to three thousand this year under the 2022 budget.

“Hopefully, by the end of the year, we would have trained these extension workers and there are some private sectors too that are into training of these extension workers. We are synergizing with them to see that we can bridge the gap as soon as possible because it is like the pillar of agriculture. If you don’t have extension workers, nobody, all these researches that we are doing, they are good but they cannot get to the grassroots if the extension workers are not there.

“So, we see it as a matter of urgency and importance to, by whatsoever means get these extension workers trained and in the short run, definitely, you will see the difference.”

On efforts to bring Nigeria to its past glory in cocoa production globally, the Director observed that the federal government through the Ministry of Agriculture, had been intervening by supporting farmers by way of providing hybrid Cocoa pods and then, supporting the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN) in the production of seeds.

“Above all, we are also trying to promote mechanization so that we can have a better yields and injecting youths into cocoa farming business because most of those who are into cocoa farming are ageing and youths are not being encouraged mostly because of drudgery and that is why the federal government is looking very seriously towards the angle of mechanization.

“So, these are some of the interventions so far that I know and that I was involved. I am saying that we promote cocoa farming more especially in cocoa producing states”, he submitted.

Speaking on efforts to curb deforestation and ensure availability of land for cocoa farmers, he said, “You know, agriculture is on the concurrent list and most of these lands are owned by states. We regulate and support the state governments in achieving our own goals.

“In terms of deforestation, I know as a matter of fact that the federal government through the Ministry of Environment and its agencies has done a great deal of services by planting trees in the desert encroaching states. I have seen for myself in one of the states in the north where they are doing tree planting to fight against the desert and there are some projects too which I know in the Ministry of Environment which are promoting the use of modern stuff which is being provided for rural women to discourage tree felling.

“And of course, at our own end, we promote the use of tree planting to our farmers to fight soil erosion and not only desertification, there’s soil erosion in farm lands. So, these are the few things I can tell you that we are doing to mitigate against desert encroachment.”

On whether there are incentives being put in place by the federal government to attract the youth into cocoa farming, Engr. Kudla said, “Yes, the incentives, as I said, when we go for capacity building, we also support the Youths with improved varieties of these cocoa pods and some few machineries that we have that can reduce drudgery. And of course, we are targeting the youths and the rural women because they are the main stakeholders in the farming of this cocoa.”

Photo: Dr. Mohammed Mahmood, Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Send your press invite, news, press releases/articles to augustinenwadinamuo@yahoo.com. Also, follow us on Twitter @ptreporters and on Facebook on facebook.com/primetimereporters or call the editor on 07030661526, 08053908817.


Leave A Reply