With only 15,000 extension workers to serve a farming population of 70 million, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono, has said the sector is in dire need of extension workers.
The minister, who stated this when he received agricultural development partners recently in Abuja, said it calls for urgent action in the agricultural sector.
According to him, “Agricultural extension workers are vital in the development of agricultural value chains and also serve the need to boost food production so as to ensure food security, alleviate poverty as well as to create job opportunity for the teaming Nigeria youths.
“Extension workers will help train peasant farmers in the proper use of fertilizer and other related agricultural inputs to boost food production,” he said.
The minister, therefore, appealed to the development partners to review their strategy and initiate a programme to train more extension workers. This he said would help lift the Nigerian farmers from subsistence level to a mechanized level.
The development partners that were in attendance included French Development Bank, World Bank, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Asian Development Bank (ADB), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation, Islamic Development Bank, amongst others.
The delegates led by Dr. Samba Kawa of the United States Agency for International Development, (USAID), assured the minister of their unalloyed support to deliver the federal government strategic goals in agriculture.
They promised to train more extension workers to support the 70 million farmers in order to enhance food production. Also in attendance was the Minister of State, Hon. Mustapha Shehuri and Permanent Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Bello Umar.