Agricultural Extension Agents in the Ogun State Ministry of Agric have been charged to give all categories of Cassava farmers, the needed orientation and farming practices before the commencement of any farming activity.
Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Adeola Odedina gave the charge while declaring open a 2-Day pre-season train the trainer’s session on Cassava production, under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP), held at the premises of Ogun State Agricultural Development Programme (OGADEP), Idi-Aba, Abeokuta.
Dr. Odedina, who noted that after farmers in the cassava value chain of the State’s ABP have been linked with land, credit and the subsequent distribution of inputs, it became necessary for them to be exposed to modern ways of usage through the assistance of extension agents, saying this was why they must be trained.
“One of our key mandates is to support small holder farmer for improved outputs. The average ton of Cassava in Nigeria is between six to eight tons per hectare, the potential of Cassava is 100 ton per hectare. The purpose of this training therefore, is for you as Extension Agents to move farmers from their present levels of production to 50 tons per hectare”, he said.
The Commissioner noted that the State, through the Governor’s support was running the biggest Anchor Borrowers’ Programme and as such, all hands must be on deck to ensure its sustainability, advising the agents to replicate the knowledge they acquired to farmers, which would serve as a step down training for them to have good profit after harvest.
“We cannot gather all the farmers together, but we can gather Extension Agents, who will in turn train the farmers, we are not saying these farmers should hit 100 tons at a go, but they can start by taking it from 10 tons to 35 tons and so on, the success of this Anchor Borrower’s Programme depends on you, so you must locate and monitor all the farms under Anchor Borrower’s Programme “, he advised.
In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Dotun Sorunke, said Extension Agents were foot soldiers and must not relent in educating famers saying, “we have the desire to make a success of what we are doing, cutting across all the Agricultural value chains”.
Ahmed Taofeek & Tunwase Dokunmu,
Press officers, Ministry of Agric