Federal government yesterday lamented a decline in agricultural extension in the country, citing decreased funding, policy changes, reduced man-power and lack of interest of young people in agricultural entrepreneurship as reasons.
Minister of Agriculture, Alhaji Muhammed Sabo Nanono, stated this in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State capital during training of Agricultural Extension Agents in the state. Nanono, who was represented by Ebonyi State Programme Manager of Agricultural Development Programme (EBADEP), Chief Chima Okoro said the decline had affected food production which had exposed the country to dangers of unemployment, youth restiveness and economic instability.
He explained that agricultural extension delivery was the driver of all agricultural policies and research without which all effort in the agricultural ecosystem may not realize its goals.
However, in a remark, Director, Federal Department of Agricultural Extension, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Engr. Frank Kudla identified factors causing decline in National Agricultural extension delivery system to include decreasing number of Extension Agents being caused by retirements, deaths and non-replacement, youth unwillingness to embrace agricultural entrepreneurship, poor capacity of existing extension agents to deliver and general poor funding of the sub-sector.
“This training of the Agricultural Extension Agents, among other interventions for the ADPs, will serve as a floodgate for many opportunities such as providing them with tools that will help them to give, not only agronomic, but also more practical services to farmers that will engender efficiency and more income”, he said