The Nigerian Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh has revealed not less than 130,000 graduate youth have been given employment as agricultural extension officers.
The Minister who was ably represented by the Director of Extension Service department of the Ministry, Mrs. Karima Babangida at the 24th Agricultural Extension Society of Nigeria (AESON) Annual National Conference held in Abuja disclosed the youth were employed under the Social Investment Programme of the Federal Government.
He noted that revamping the extension service is a necessity in order to strengthen the government agricultural development process.
“Extension service has a crucial role to play in reviving the agricultural sector in the country.
“Our country has enormous potential for agricultural development.
“Besides production, support is also given to other value chains with processing equipment to farmers to add value to their produce and make more money.
“Farmers’ knowledge and skills need to be improved and enhanced to improve their commodities across all the value chains to facilitate improved agricultural productivity in the country.
“This is where extension services are required, in addition to strengthening the capacity of farmers to boost their productivity,” he said.
According to the Minister, Nigeria’s Agriculture extension programme is not currently in the best form to be able to deliver desired results.
“This is why the government is working towards bringing extension workers back to assist farmers with best practices,’’ he said.
“Agricultural extension plays a pivotal role in the value chain development of agro-raw materials from production by farmers and processing by industries down to marketing and beyond,” he said.
Ogbeh urged the Federal government to restore the glory of the extension service in the country in order to achieve an effective value chain development of agriculture commodities.
He called on the Federal Government to bring back the glory of the extension service in the country for effective value chain development of agricultural commodities.