The Minister of Agriculture and Rural DevelopmentChief Audu Ogbeh, at the weekend, officially commissioned the National farmers Help Line NFHL as part of the effort to boost agricultural production in Nigeria.
The Director of NAERLS, Prof.Muhammad Khalid Othman lauded the Minister for officially launched farmers’ helpline centre which will solve the inability of farmers to reach extension officers.
Othman said the helpline would help provide information to farmers in all areas of agriculture and bridge knowledge gaps with encompassing experience in extension services.
The occassion that took place at the National Agricultural Extension Research and Liason Service NAERLS Ahmadu Bello University Zaria on Saturday said the centre would promote agricultural activities in the country
According to him such innovation would infact farmers urge them to ensure easy and prompt access to the centre as it would broaden their knowledge on agriculture.
He said in no distant future the Federal Government would sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Agricultural Extension Research and Liaison Services (NAERLS) to train more extension agents in the country.
He decried the collapse of extension services following the termination of the World Bank sponsored Agriculture Development Programme (ADP).
The minister noted that the training would enable the youths to meet international standard on crop production. “We want to set up extension offices in the states so that these youths will acquire knowledge on best agronomic practices,” Ogbeh said.
“We are planning to disburse N200 million to small-scale farmers in 2018. “We appeal for the increase of our personnel to enable extension services to reach farmers across the country,” he said. He decried of law funding as one of their challenges, urged farmers to utilise the centre to boost agricultural production in the country.
The minister also inspects projects and some of the activities of ABU Agricultural Complex includes IAR, NAPRI, NAERLS the Agriculture and Veterinary Complex in ABU.
Expectations are high for Nigeria’s agribusiness sector in 2018.