Federal Government must restore extension services and produce improved seedlings to boost agricultural production in the country
A university don has said Government must as a matter of priority restore extension services and produce improved seedlings in order to boost agricultural production in the country. Prof. Friday Omoregbe who is a lecturer at the Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension Services, University of Benin, said while speaking to in Benin City, the Edo State Capital.
He is quoted as saying that not much achievement was recorded in the sector, 55 years after the country got independence, except for those recorded in the previous administrations.
The don said that the extension practice in the country had gone comatose, noting that without efficient extensionservices, meaningful progress would not be made in the country’s agriculture sector. “Before the previous administration, achievement in the agriculture sector was low but there has been a tremendous change which started in the previous administration of President Goodluck Jonathan.
“Most crops that were only seen as food crops and not cash crops, such as cassava, maize, beans and oil palm are now cash crops.
“But there is a decline in the production of some cash crops such as cocoa, rubber, oil palm that used to earn foreign exchange for the country.
“The key information needed by farmers especially to those in the rural areas to boost production should be provided.
“There is technological advancement in the agriculture sector since independence but the challenge is the rate of adoption of these technologies by farmers.
We have to encourage rural extension services which should be a multiple service approach, including government, private sector and NGOs to disseminate information to these famers,’’ he said.
Speaking on Nigeria “Beyond 55 years’’, the don said that there would be a revolution in the agriculture sector.
“With the increase rate of unemployment in the country, and having more graduates go into agriculture, agriculture will become a business. It will no longer be seen as a profession for old persons and illiterates but as a viable enterprise,’’ he said.
– Agric extension workers at work