The Federal Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono has been praised for taking it in his stride to initiate the mechanization and extension programmes to curb the challenges facing Nigeria’s agriculture.
Nanono had earlier this year introduced the Agricultural Mechanization Programme in 632 Local Government Areas of the country.
The programme involved a full technology transfer package covering all stages, from agricultural production to industrial processing and down to marketing.
The minister also in May, inaugurated a committee on the revitalisation of agricultural extension service workers, with a view to training at least 75,000 extension service providers across the country.
These programmes have so far gotten commendation from experts in the field of agriculture.
Lauding Nanono’s revitalization strategy in a chat with AgroNigeria, Agronomic don, Professor Musa Tukur Yakasai of Kano University of Technology, Wudil, said that the programmes were significant milestones in Nigeria’s agriculture, capable of employing millions of Nigerian youths.
He said, “I think we have to appreciate the initiative by the Honourable Minister of Agriculture, Alhaji Sabo Nanono for coming up with two giant programmes that will ultimately address the principal challenges facing agriculture in this country. And these are the programmes of mechanization and extension.
“Recently an approval was given for the sum of 1.2 billion dollars for mechanization which will result in projection and supply of more than 10,000 tractors to six Hundred and thirty-two local governments across the country,
“This is capable of creating more than thirty million direct and indirect employment across the agriculture value chain. This is a very important milestone that never been recorded in the history of agriculture in this country.
“The second important move is that of the recent inauguration of the Ministerial Task Force assigned to look at the proposed deployment of over 75,000 agricultural extension workers to serve the agricultural extension system in the country.
Prof. Yakasai added that the two programmes will directly result in the increase of farmers’ yields per hectare by modern double digits.
He said he was certain that Nanono’s efforts would yield positive results and assist farmers in engaging actively in agricultural production, as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari in his Eid address to Nigerian farmers
“I think the effort by the minister will go a long way in assisting farmers to achieve that and at the same time, it will complement the efforts made by other agencies and CBN and other arms of the government.
“Recently the National Bureau of Statistics has projected and has confirmed about 24 percent increase in production due to the recent border closure which has necessitated people going back to plan for agri-production.
“The effort by the Federal Minister of Agriculture will further support this initiative by President Muhammadu Buhari in addressing food shortage in the country,” Prof. Yakasai noted.