Agric Extension Agents Urged on Quality Service Delivery to Farmers
By Victor Essang
No fewer than 30 Agricultural Extension Agents in Akwa Ibom State have benefited from a 4 day capacity building training on Extension Tools, Methodologies and Agricultural value chain with a charge on them to ensure quality service delivery to farmers to boost food production.
The training, which was organized by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Department of Agricultural Extension in collaboration with National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services (NAERLS), Sasakara-Africa Association/Global 2000, took place in Uyo.
Addressing the participants during the opening ceremony, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Sabo Nanono who’s address was read by the Akwa Ibom State director, Federal ministry of Agriculture, Dr Uyobong Uko, said the training was one of the several strategic plans by the ministry to halt the drift in Agricultural Extension System with the aim of pursuing the revitalization agenda of Nigerian economy by the Federal government.
Nanono noted, “Agricultural Extension delivery is the driver of all agricultural policies and research without which all efforts in the agricultural ecosystem may not realize its intended goals”.
“Over the years, fortunes of agricultural extension system have declined majorly due to decreased funding, policy changes, reduced man power and lack of interest of young people in agricultural entrepreneurship. This situation has affected food production, exposing our country to dangers of unemployment, youth restiveness and economic instability”.
The Minister posited that the training was first in the series of batches that will empower the agricultural extension agents with knowledge that will enhance service delivery to farmers both in terms of production practices and equipment for technical support.
Nanono who stressed that it was the desire of the federal government to see our agricultural extension delivery system meet global competitiveness to ensure we have adequate food for our population, urged the participants to take the training serious.
Declaring the training open, the commissioner for Agriculture, Dr Glory Edet lauded the initiative of the federal ministry of agriculture and rural development in partnering with the state to continue to build the capacity of extension agents in the state.
Edet, represented by the programme manager, Akwa Ibom State Agricultural Development Programme (AKADEP), Mr Okon Ndehedehe, the commissioner said the state governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel was passionate about agriculture capacity building of farmers. She recalled that the governor had trained farmers on goat production and smart agriculture, adding that farmers at the green house were continuously being exposed for training with the intention to promote food sufficiency in the state.
While thanking the Federal government for packaging the training, the commissioner expressed hope that its effects would be seen in food production by farmers.
The State director, federal ministry of agriculture and rural development, Dr Uyobong Uko, assured of continued partnership with AKADEP to ensure the development of agriculture in the state.
Uko said their projects on agricultural development were fully executed all over the state, especially in the rural areas, ranging from solar light, transformer, rural roads, water supply among others.
He said agriculture was a money-spinner and a big business that can make one a millionaire and urged them to take the training very important for the objectives to be achieved. The programme manager, Mr Okon Ndehedehe, while welcoming the participants to the training said it was organised to uplift the productivity of the farmers and enhance agricultural production in the state.
The coordinator of the training workshop, Mr David Mevayekuku said the training would involve sessions of interaction which is aimed at energising the knowledge and innovation of the participants. High point of the training was presentation of lectures in areas of overview of Nigeria’s Extension services, oil palm, cassava and poultry value chain.