Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in collaboration with the National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services has trained 30 agricultural extension workers in Enugu State.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammed Nanono, who was represented by the Zonal Director in the ministry, Mr Felix Kehise said this while speaking during the flag off ceremony on Monday.
Nanono said that the training was part of a series of knowledge that would enhance service delivery to farmers both in terms of production process and equipment for technical support.
In its bid to improve the agricultural sector through the application of scientific research, the ministry organised a 4-day training for extension agents on extension tools, methodologies and selected agricultural value chains.
It brought together critical stakeholders in the Agricultural sector.
Nanono said that it was part of strategies planned by the ministry to check the drift in the Agricultural extension system with the aim of pursuing the revitalisation agenda of the Nigerian economy by the Federal Government.
Also speaking, the Enugu State Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Dr Mathew Idu, advised the beneficiaries to pay attention in the training so they could step down the knowledge gained to their various locations.
Earlier in his address of welcome, the Programme Manager, Enugu State Agricultural Development Programme, Dr Mathias Onu said that the training would provide a total of 30 extension workers from Enugu State an opportunity to improve on their knowledge of agricultural practices.
Onu advised the beneficiaries to ensure they learn and improve on their knowledge of the application of scientific research to agricultural practices.
He explained that challenges facing the world of Agricultural Extension at both the Federal, State and Local government levels identified during the training include weak and fragmented farmer-based organizations.
He noted that others were poor access to credit by small scale producers to back the Agricultural extension and advisory service for sustainable and profitable production.
The programme manager said that the Nigerian government had over the years, improved its investment in the Agricultural sector in a bid to reduce the over dependence on crude oil as the mainstay of the country’s economy.
He, however, said that government, through the ministry of agriculture had severally underscored the need for the Nigerian population, the younger generation especially, to return to agriculture.
On his part, the Coordinator of the National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services (NAERL), Prof. Emmanuel Ikana said that time had come for Nigerians to begin to depend less on the government and more on themselves to earn a living.
According to him, “If you are knowledgeable about agricultural practices, you do not need to wait for the government to employ you.
“You can begin your own agricultural business just in your backyard,’’ he said. (NAN)