Food scarcity threat: Expert calls for investment in extension service

As experts continue to warn on the possibility of food scarcity within the year, a Professor of Agricultural Extension Johnson Ekpere, has called on the government to invest in agricultural extension services to help farmers adopt and use modern technologies.

In an exclusive interview with Blueprint, Prof. Ekpere urged the government to secure farming communities, farmers and their farms saying it is one of the major causes of food scarcity.

The Professor of Agriculture Extension, who noted that the present situation was predicted long ago but authorities failed to act on it.

According to him, “It was predicted, but those who should take action did little or nothing.

“But several options are available to solve these challenges; Nigeria has adequate appropriate agricultural technology to become food secure, safe and nutrition self-sufficient. Nigeria should invest in a well-staffed, adequately funded, functionally supported and well-equipped agricultural extension service to help farmers adopt and use the available technologies.

“Invest in a functional, effective and efficient agricultural extension and advisory service to provide education, training, farming skill and agricultural technology adoption and use assistance to enable farmers produce nutritious packed food at highest yield level.

“Secure farming communities, farmers and their farms.”

On the efforts of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in the sector under the previous administration, Prof. Ekpere said CBN funding agriculture was a usurpation of the mandate of the Bank of Agriculture.

According to him, CBN is a regulatory bank, and not a lending institution adding that the result of current effort can be better assessed after harvest.

On whether the adoption of Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) would fill the gap, Prof Ekpere said; “Say No To GMO, I say it is not the appropriate technology. GMO is not the answer. It is not the answer.”