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By Mu’azu Shehu

Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has commenced training of 50 Agric Extension Workers to enhance production practices and equipment for technical support to farmers in Kebbi.

Declaring the three-day training open in Birnin Kebbi on Thursday, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, said the training was one of the ministry’s plans to halt the drift in the agricultural extension system.

“The training also aimed at pursuing the revitalization agenda of the Nigerian economy by the Federal Government.

“The training is one of a series of batches that will empower you with the knowledge that will enhance service delivery to farmers both in terms of production practices and equipment for technical support,” he said.

Abubakar said that the government desired to see that the extension delivery system met global competitiveness to ensure adequate food security and foreign earnings.

“It is a great pleasure for me to address you today on this auspicious occasion of the opening ceremony of the training of Agricultural Extension Agents across the 36 states and the FCT holding in the 37 states agricultural development projects in Nigeria.

“It is the desire of the Nigerian President, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and every Nigerian to see that our agricultural extension delivery system meets global competitiveness.

“This will also ensure we have adequate food for our population and some to augment our foreign earnings,” he said.

The minister, represented by the state Coordinator of the ministry, Alhaji Shehu Abdullahi, urged the participants to consider the training very important to enable them to deliver with efficiency.

Earlier, the Director of the Federal Department of Agricultural Extension in the ministry, Mr Frank Satumari-Kudla, attributed the decrease in the number of extension workers to retirements, deaths and non-replacements.

“These are in addition to youth unwillingness to embrace agricultural entrepreneurship, the poor capacity of existing extension agents to deliver due to lack of low quality of training and the general poor funding of the sub-sector,” he said.

Satumari-Kudla, represented by the Programme Manager of the ministry, Alhaji Lawal Ahmed, expressed optimism that the beneficiaries would cascade down the training to their farmers with the help of the Agricultural Development Projects.

A cross-section of the participants when interviewed commended the FG for the training and assured that they would conduct step-down training and prepare for future capacity building, inputs services and technology support to their farmers.

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