The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development says it will continue to strengthen its agricultural research institutes and extension services to collectively deliver on its mandate.
The Minister of State for Agriculture, Mustapha Shehuri, disclosed this on Thursday in Abuja.
In a statement by Ezeaja Ikemefuna, Chief Information Officer in the ministry of Agriculture, Shehuri made this known during a courtesy call on the Governor of Edo, Mr Godwin Obaseki, in Benin.
He said ‘’the new paradigm shift focuses on the Research and Development, good Extension Services, Input deliveries and provision of Integrated Rural Infrastructures to support farmers and other stakeholders.”
Shehuri said that research Institutes were to engage in farmers driven and coordinated research activities that would yield immediate benefits to farmers.
This, he said, is being supported with good Extension Services for the farmers to take maximum advantage of research output.
He pointed out that the ministry is mandated to ensure that food and nutritional security are attained by working closely with all state governments, private sectors and other relevant stakeholders.
“A total of 1,100 extension agents are trained in the first batch of the training comprising, 30 from each state of the federation and the FCT.
“The training exercise is a train-the-trainer approach and the extension agents are to step down the new innovations acquired to farmers in their communities.
“Edo is among the leading states in the production of Rice, Cassava and Maize, amongst the food crops.
“On access of tree crops, Edo is a clear leader in Oil Palm, Rubber and of recent, cocoa production in the state has stepped up to rival other states such as Ondo and Osun states,” he said.
He highlighted some of the intervention projects of the ministry in Edo that were ongoing or had been completed in the rural communities of the state meant to augment state efforts.
“These interventions include asphalting Rural Roads, Solar Powered/Motorized Boreholes and Solar Street Lights in different parts of Rural Communities in Edo State,” he said.
He noted that the Nigeria Institute of Oil Palm Research (NIFOR) and the Rubber Research Institute of Nigeria (RRIN) were amongst the two oldest research institutes located in Edo.
In his remarks, Gov. Obaseki said the agricultural policies of the state are in tune with Federal Government’s programme of diversification of the economy through agriculture.
He expressed the need to streamline some of the agricultural institutes in the country, which would help government to reduce running costs and curb wastage.
“There is the need for robust partnerships and collaboration with the Federal Government towards achieving food security and fast tracking the economic growth of the nation,” he said.
The minister concluded his working visit to some states in the South South Geopolitical zone by visiting the one-stop Extension Delivery Centre in Ovia South West, which was meant to provide capacity building for small holder farmers and enhance food production in the state.
He charged the benefiting communities to utilise the platform to their advantage to enable boost local production. (NAN)