By Ginika Okoye
Zaria (Kaduna State) – The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, on Friday distributed no fewer than 370 motorcycles to support extension services across the country in order to boost agricultural activities.
Ogbeh, while distributing the motorcycles to extension agents in Zaria, said the move was to educate farmers on best agronomic practices.
He charged them to ensure easy and prompt access to farmers across the country.
Ogbeh said that the Federal Government would soon sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Agricultural Extension Research and Liaison Services (NAERLS) to train more extension agents in the country.
He decried the collapse of extension services following the termination of the World Bank sponsored Agriculture Development Programme (ADP).
The minister noted that the training would enable the youths to meet international standard on crop production.
“We want to set up extension offices in the states so that these youths will acquire knowledge on best agronomic practices,” Ogbeh said.
Prof. Ibrahim Garba, the Vice Chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Prof. Kabiru Bala, appealed to the Federal Government for promptly release of funds to agricultural institutes.
Earlier, Prof. Mohammed Othman, the Director of NAERLS, said the service had launched farmers’ helpline centre to solve the inability of farmers to reach extension officers.
Othman said the helpline would help provide information to farmers in all areas of agriculture and bridge knowledge gaps with encompassing experience in extension services.
“We are planning to disburse N200 million to small-scale farmers in 2018.
“We appeal for the increase of our personnel to enable extension services to reach farmers across the country,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the minister was in the state to inspect the Agriculture and Veterinary Complex in ABU.(NAN)