By Kingsley Braide
The Federal Government in collaboration with the Bayelsa State government, has commenced a four-day training programme for extension workers as part of strategy to address the neglect of agricultural extension service delivery and to boost food security.
Manager of Agricultural Development Programme, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Jackson Diegbegha, said the first batch of training of thirty extension workers, ongoing across the nation is aimed at equipping farmers with the necessary prerequisites in farming.
Mr. Diegbegha, who stressed that the federal government desire is to train one thousand, one hundred and ten agriculture extension workers, commended the state government for the partnership and creating the enablement to carry out the programme.
The Programme manager also hinted that the exercise would be of important benefit to the rural farmers and noted that it would turn around agricultural extension delivery with a view to enhancing the productivity and livelihood of rural farmers, just as he charged them to take the exercise seriously.
Declaring the Programme open, State Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Chief David Alagoa, said the training is aimed at educating rural farmers on modern and improved farming techniques in order to increase their yield.
Chief Alagoa, who stressed that government is poised in diversifying the economy through agriculture, charged participants to take the training important, as critical stakeholders towards making the state a food hub in the country.
While calling for a paradigm shift from over-dependent on oil to agriculture, the commissioner said government is making determined effort to ensure sufficiency of food to sustain the local economy.
Earlier, Minister of Agric, Alhaji Muhammed Nanono, frowned at the decline of Agric extension system in the country due to funding, policy changes, reduced-manpower and agriculture entrepreneurs and called for a concerted effort to change the narrative.
Describing the training as among federal government strategies to halt the drift in agriculture extension system with aim of pursuing the revitalization agenda, Alhaji Nanono, who was represented, advised participants to be focused in order to effectively train the rural farmers.
He said it is the desire of the federal government to see that agric extension delivery programme meets global competitiveness to ensure adequate food for the populace and some to augment the country’s foreign earnings.
Appreciating the state government for the collaborative effort in ensuring that rural farms are trained on modern techniques in farming, participants, Mr. Timi Momoemi and Miss Martha George-Will assured of judicious use of the training to enhance food security.