The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono has reaffirmed the Federal Government’s commitment towards improving agricultural extension services, boost food production and increase the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the Agric sector.
He stated that the agricultural sector has been identified by government as key for economic recovery and social transformation particularly in the effort to attaining national food security, diversifying foreign earnings base of the country, improving rural livelihood as well as providing employment for the teeming young Nigerians.
The Minister, represented by the Director, Federal Department of Agricultural Extension, Engr. Frank Kudla, disclosed this during the Sensitization Workshop on Revitalization of Agricultural Extension in Nigeria held on Tuesday, 1st December, 2020, at the NAF Conference Hall, Kado, Abuja, which has the Theme: Catalyzing Effective Agricultural Extension Service Delivery at the Grassroots.
Nanono stated that the Ministry has taken the onerous responsibility and renewed its commitment to increase agriculture contribution to the GDP ‘’the revitalization of the National Extension System comes as a veritable means to further boost our efforts’’
The Minister tasked the stakeholders on some key areas for robust discussions at the workshop. These include” redefining the roles and responsibilities of the three tiers of government in the agricultural extension services and establishment of evaluation strategy with possible reprisal for actors that fail in their responsibilities in order to ensure accountability and commitment’’.
The Minister also stated the need for participants to; recommend a favorable policy environment for active private sector investment in the management, operation and funding of extension service delivery as the Government alone cannot shoulder the responsibility of supporting effective extension service delivery.
He urged the stakeholders to, ‘’ bring up innovations that will foster and encourage aggressive training of necessary manpower and ensuring professionalism in agricultural extension services ,this I believe will make the extension system knowledge based and a desirable service to be patronized by farmers’’.
He pointed out the need for incentives that will foster and encourage the mobilization and development of farmer groups around clusters to enhance agricultural extension services delivery to them through the Agric. Extension Service Providers (AESP)
The Minister appealed for “a review on ways and means to redress the gap in the dearth of female Extension Workers in order to enhance access towards knowledge and productive resources by women farmers”.
In his welcome address, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Abdulkadir Mu’azu, represented by the Director, Farm Inputs Support Services (FISS), Engr. Tunde Bello stated that the workshop offers a great opportunity to further discuss and assess the efforts in place to resuscitate the national agricultural extension system and come up with all inclusive implementable strategies in line with international best practices for practitioners in both the public and private sector.
Dr Mu’azu commended experts and development partners especially the National Agricultural Foundation of Nigeria (NAFN), International Food Policy and Research Institute (IFPRI), among others for their collaboration towards the success of the workshop.
He also informed that ‘’ the Ministry through the Federal Department of Agricultural Extension is well advance in putting in place sustainable agricultural extension service backed by law”. He said, “Participants in this workshop will be enlisted as part of the army of supporters and advocates that will foster the finalization of the process for the enactment of this instrument which will guide operations and ensure effective agricultural extension service delivery in Nigeria’’
In his Goodwill Message, the Chairman, House of Representative, Committee on Agricultural Colleges and Institutes, Hon. Munir Dan Agundi, pledged that the National Assembly would continue to support the Ministry and make robust laws that would ensure increase in food production, create employment for the teeming youths of Nigeria as well as boost the economy.
Chief Information Officer
For: Director, Information (FMARD)