By Segun Awofadeji
The federal government, through the federal ministry of agriculture, has organised training for agricultural extension workers in Bauchi State on extension tools, methodologies and selected agricultural value chains.
Declaring the workshop open yesterday at the conference hall of the Bauchi State Agricultural Development Programme (BSADP), the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammed Mahmood Abubakar, explained that the workshop was meant to improve extension services and food production.
Represented by the state Director at the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Daniel Abarshi, the minister pointed out that over the years, the fortunes of agricultural extension system has declined due to decreased funding, policy changes, reduced manpower and lack of interest of young people in it.
He lamented that the situation has affected food production and exposed the country to the dangers of unemployment, youth restiveness and economic instability.
According to the minister, “This training is one of the several strategies planned by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to halt the drift in the agricultural extension system with the aim of pursuing the revitalisation agenda of the Nigerian economy by the federal government.
He said the training, which would be done in all the 36 states of the federation, targets 75, 000 extension workers who would be taught new farming skills and techniques.
Also speaking, the Director in charge of agricultural extension of the ministry, Frank Satumari Kudla, represented by a senior agricultural officer of the ministry Mr. Tambul Halilu Buba, said the department decided to initiate trainings on extension services in view of the decreasing number of extension workers to cater for the teeming farmers in the country.
In his remarks, the Programme Manager of the Bauchi State Agricultural Development Programme (BSADP), Alhaji Jafaru Ilelah, lauded the federal government for organising the training for extension workers in the state, saying it would boost their knowledge and empower them with skills in the best global practices as well as in the agricultural value chains.
Ilelah added that at the end of the training, the participants would be provided with sprayers and pesticides so that they could help farmers in their areas of postings for extension services.
The BSADP boss noted that this was the second time the federal government was training extension workers in the state.