Farmers tender a rice belt
By Sunny A. David, Awka
Lack of manpower and inadequate funding appear to be the major challenge facing agricultural extension services in Nigeria.
The Deputy Director, Department of Agricultural Extension, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural development, Mr. Ifidon Ohiomoba stated this in Awka during a meeting for private sector involvement in One Stop Shop Centre for agricultural extension service delivery in Nigeria organized by the Anambra State Ministry of Agriculture through the Anambra State Agricultural development programme, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Department of Agricultural Extension.
Mr. Ohiomoba, who decried the decline in the agricultural output across the country due to poor delivery by the agricultural extension, stressed the need for private sector involvement as well as other financial institutions to help boost productivity that is anchored on quality and standards.
He noted that the meeting targets bridging the gap between farmers and extension services which occurred as a result of budget constraints and shortage of manpower.
In an interview, the Anambra State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr. Nnamdi Onukwuba who described agricultural extension service delivery as a vital tool for fostering agricultural development.
He commended the one stop shop centre initiative by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and expressed the hope that the agricultural extension service if properly managed will yield positive results.
On their parts the co-ordinator Federal Ministry of agricultural activities in Anambra State Mr. Benedict Ndibe and Anambra State Agricultural Development programme Manager Mr. Jude Nwankwo, called for the review of interest rates attached to loans been provided to farmers.
A farmer Mr. Augustine Ileka who noted that government is not paying adequate attention to agricultural extension services and advised financial institutions to involve agricultural extension experts, into their system to ensure that the loans get to those that needed it for agricultural activities.