The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has made a case for intensive extension service that will link farmers to new technologies and research information, adding that the country’s agricultural sector has continued to suffer due to poor farming practices.
Obaseki made the submission while declaring open the maiden edition of the Edo Food and Agric Fair, holding at Imaguero College, in Benin City. The fair which commenced on December 10 will last till December 20th.
He said most farmers lack information about modern farming techniques as well as the understanding of the agricultural value chain, a situation which has led to the neglect of the sector.
He noted, “the help farmers need is not only cash. What they require is what we call extension service. Extension agents should be able to take research findings and information to farmers; help them to understand their peculiar needs and how they can get government support.
“Farmers need to have access to tools for mechanisation; they need to know the type of pesticides and fertiliser to use in order to increase their yield. In the past, extension agents took this information to farmers and our farmers did well.”
Noting that the role of government is to provide the people with solutions to improve their livelihood, the governor assured that his administration would advance innovate ways of tackling problems farmers are confronted with in the state.
He expressed optimism that subsequent editions of the Edo Food and Agric Fair would create a ready market for agricultural produce that would be produced in the state through government’s support.
Obaseki said, “This sort of fair from next year should create a market for people who we would have supported through various initiatives to bring their agricultural produce either in raw or processed form so that people from within and outside the state can come here and buy.”
He urged farmers in the state to be receptive to the assistance the state government would render to them, adding that in 2019, his administration will introduce the school feeding programme in the state with a plan to ensure that the food items are sourced from farms close to the schools.