Local farming: Agric ministry trained, deployed 82,547 extension workers – Minister

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar, declared Friday in Abuja that not less than 82, 547 extension workers have been trained and deployed by the Ministry from 2019 till date, to aid and promote local farming in Nigeria.

The Minister who stated this during an interface with the Senate Committee on Agriculture, said extension in agriculture is a service that assists farmers through educational procedures in improving farming methods and techniques as well as increasing production efficiency.

Programmes on Youth employment in agriculture, youth and women in agric business development etc, he added, have also been implemented within the stated period.

“The training of the extension officers was designed to reduce the ratio of extension services agent to farmers in line with international best practices for increased production of agricultural commodities Nigeria.

“We had also engage in land clearing and development of over 4000 hectares in collaboration with the state and local governments to reduce rural poverty.

“To support value addition, input delivery and untimately generate employment opportunities, the ministry has constructed several agro-industrial estates,agro-processing centres,farm markets and integrated cooperative service centres.

“Over 3 million direct and in direct jobs, have been created via the activities of the ministry in the sector,” he said.

On self -sufficiency in rice production, the Minister disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari approved an intervention fund for completion of 10 large scale rice mills with a combined minimum capacity of 320 metric tonnes per day in 10 states.

The states according to him, are Jigawa, Kano, Adamawa, Niger, Kaduna, Gombe, Ekiti, Ogun, Bayelsa and FCT.

For food sufficiency , the minister explained further his ministry successful facilitated 134 million dollars from AFDB to scale up food production and ensure sufficieny in wheat production in Nigeria by 2032.

The facility he explained, was expected to result in cultivation of 250,000 hectares by 250,000 farmers at one farmer per hectare, at an average of three metric tonnes per hactare.

He however lamented that less than 2 per cent of the national budget was been committed to agriculture as against 10 per cent agreed by Africa Heads ofs states at the Malabo declaration, among other challenges.

On IGR,he said the ministry had a revenue target of N271 million, while N307 million has been realised as at July 2022.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Agriculture, Senator Abdulahi Yahaya (PDP Kebbi North), said the success recorded in the release of funds to the ministry was occasioned by the timely passage of the budget by 9th National Assembly before end of every year.