Speaking during the flag-off exercise held at the FCT Agricultural Development Project
, ADP, headquarter, Gwagwalada, Abuja, the Minister said Agricultural extension delivery is the driver of all agricultural policies and research, without which all effort in the agricultural ecosystem may not realize its intended goals.
Nanono said that the exercise is part of the Federal Government’s effort to promote Agriculture Extension services with the aim of improving the productivity of crops, livestock and to ensure food security in the country.
According to him, “the fortunes of Agricultural Extension system has declined majorly due to decreased funding, policy changes, reduced man-power and lack of the interest of the youths in Agricultural entrepreneurship the country.
He added that this situation has affected food Production, exposing the country to danger of unemployment, youth restiveness and economic instability.
Nanono further explained that an earlier committee on the revitalisation of Agricultural Extension Service in Nigeria had been constituted to recommend appropriate institutional structures, arrangements and capacity building for effective and efficient pluralistic Agricultural Extension and advisory services in Nigeria, using globally acceptable approaches and platforms.
A total of 1,100 extension agents are being trained in this first batch of the training comprising 30 from each state of the federation and the FCT.
“The training exercise is a train- the -trainer approach and the extension agents are expected to step down the new innovations acquired to the farmers in their communities,” he said.
While reassuring the trainees, he said that FMMARD through its technical department, the Federal Department of Agricultural Extension, has selected Resource Persons, who will bring their expertise and experience to drive the training and also well-prepared technical reference materials, to ensure that they receive the best.
The minister then urged the trainees to take the training seriously, adding that by the end of the exercise, they will regard themselves; not only as Extension workers but also as farmers that will contribute their quota to the Gross Domestic Product of this country.
In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mr Ernest. A. Umakhihe, represented by Director, Federal Department of Agricultural Extension Services, Engr Frank Kudla, said that the current situation posed by Covid-19 has brought new challenges to food supply and youth employment.
He noted that an effective ADP system will disseminate and transfer the needed technologies for productivity enhancement and rural income generation for youth farmers, consequently, stemming the challenges of food supply and employment in the country.
Also, the Regional Coordinator for the training in the North-Central States and a former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Sir Oloche Edache, thanked the minister for the laudable initiative to train more extension workers and improve efficiency, as he assured that the resource persons in the states across the zone will ensure that the participants received the best training.