From Raji Bello, Sokoto
The Federal Government is to revitalise extension services among Nigeria farmers, as part of efforts to make farming lucrative business and ensure food security and production.
This was revealed by the Director, Extension Services of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Eniayeju Damilola in Sokoto, yesterday.
He spoke at the two-day Stakeholders’ Validation workshop on NEEDS Assessment for Mid-Career Agricultural Extension Training, under the Sasakawa Africa Fund for Agricultural Extension Education (SAFE), held at the auditorium of Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto.
Damilola revealed that the federal government has entered an agreement with SAFE to revitalise extension services in the country to institutionalise the programme in selected tertiary institutions.
He noted that the present administration is making frantic effort to make Nigerians see farming as a lucrative business in the country, adding that “this was what informed the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) by President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration”.
“So much has being done on revolutionising agricultural business in the country. We have targeted both commercial and peasant farmers in this transformation agenda on food security. We are no longer talking about the theory, but how we can practicalise it, to enable Nigeria meet its targeted vision on food production and security,” Damilola explained.
He added that their target was to create 25 million jobs, in addition to 20 million metric tonnes of food by 2015, saying, in order to identify genuine farmers, the ministry has so far captured over 10 million farmers on its data base.
While declaring the workshop open, the vice-chancellor of the university, Professor Riskuwa Arabu Shehu, represented by his deputy (Academics), Professor A. A. Bagudu, said all the necessary arrangements have been concluded for the commencement of degree programme on extension services in the 2014/15 academic session.