Plateau ADP decries paucity of agric extension workers




Mr Luka Kefas, Director of Technical Services, Plateau Agricultural and Development Programme (PADP), on Tuesday decried the paucity of agricultural extension workers in the state.
Kefas said this when Mrs Ngizan Chahul, National President, Nigerian Association of Women in Agriculture (NAWIA), visited him in Jos.
He said that the shortage of agricultural extension workers had posed a serious challenge to the fulfilment of agricultural activities in the state.
“One of the greatest challenge facing agricultural activities on the Plateau is the inadequacy of extension workers.
“Agricultural activities cannot thrive without the input of this category of experts because they are the engine room of the agricultural sector.
“They educate farmers in the urban and rural areas on the new trends in agriculture.
“According to the Work Bank standard, one extension worker is supposed to handle 800 farmers but in our own case here, it is one extension officer to 7,000 farmers.
“Some of our farmers don’t even interact with an extension worker within the span of four years; a situation which I feel is disastrous.
“So, in such scenario, how can farmers know the latest innovations and trends in farming? Certainly, they can’t,’’ he said.
Kefas, however, said that state government had directed the Ministry of Agriculture to employ 400 ad hoc extension workers, adding that the engagement process was ongoing.
He also said that some extension workers were recently posted to the ministry under the Federal Government’s N-Power programme.
“I strongly believe that with these two interventions, the state’s agriculture sector will soon achieve some positive results,’’ he said.
Earlier, Chahul urged the Plateau Government to make agriculture a priority by giving the sector the requisite attention it deserved.

She also urged the government to formulate an agricultural policy that would make farming a lucrative and attractive venture.

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