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IFAD Equips 116 Nigerian Extension Agents with Agronomic Practices, Data Management


No less than 116 Nigerian extension agents have been equipped with good agronomic practices and data management by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

The move according to IFAD was aimed to empower extension agents with the knowledge, skills, and tools to educate farmers on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and how to double cassava and rice yield cost-effectively in their communities.

At different workshops under the IFAD-funded Zero Hunger project for extension agents in Benue, Ebonyi, and Ogun states in August and September 2021, the trainers also taught the extension agents how to manage the data collected from the farmers effectively.

IFAD said the workshops were part of efforts to support Nigeria to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 2 (Zero Hunger) in partnership with IITA and AfricaRice.

The IFAD-funded Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) in the three states on GAP and data management was informed after the needs assessment survey conducted on the extension agents in the states and agreements reached with the project stakeholders in various meetings with the commissioners of agriculture and the VCDP state coordinators.

A total of 45 and 46 extension agents drawn from different local governments in Ogun and Benue States, respectively, attended the IITA-led training program in August, and 25 extension agents participated in the training organized by AfricaRice in Ebonyi State in September 2021.

The Training of Trainers (ToT) covered topics such as Importance of the Cassava Seed System, Six Steps to Cassava Weed Management, and Best Planting Practices, Safe Use of Herbicides, Identification and Management of Cassava Pests and Diseases, Business Case for Cassava Seed Production: The IITA GoSeed perspective, Cassava Seed Field certification by NASC, Record Keeping and Data Management, Monitoring and Evaluation, and introduction to IITA developed Herbicide calculator, Akilimo and Seed tracker applications as well as the use of Open Data Kits (ODK) tool for data.

For rice, the extension officers were introduced to GAP, best management practices in rice harvest and postharvest handling, and RiceAdvice—a digital technology helping extension agents give advice and rice farmers to make informed decisions. The extension agents and lead farmers were also taught the need for digital data capturing and reporting using the ODK collect tool for data survey.

The workshops were flagged off in Ogun and Benue States on behalf of the commissioners of agriculture by the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Dotun Sorunke, in Ogun State, and Director for Agricultural Services Mr. Thomas Unongo in Benue State. The Commissioner of Agriculture in Ebonyi, Mr. Moses Nomeh, opened the training in the state.

Speaking at the opening ceremony at the different states, the commissioners of agriculture assured the Zero Hunger Project (ZHP) team of the states’ commitment and charged the extension agents and lead farmers to take the knowledge from the training to more farmers to ensure the states achieve zero hunger.

They unanimously appreciated IITA and AfricaRice for the partnership and IFAD for funding the much-needed zero hunger project in the state.

The VCDP State Programme Coordinators, namely Mr. Sunday Ituma, in Ebonyi; Mr. Samuel Adeogun in Ogun, and Mr. Emmanuel Igbaukum in Benue, also registered their commitments to partner with the zero hunger project team to work towards contributing to zero hunger in the three states during the project life cycle.