The State Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu says his administration will continue to subsidize Agro inputs and encourage Agricultural technology to support farmers in the State.
Governor Ikpeazu who stated this during the Flag-Off of the Training of the second batch of Extension Workers in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory on Extension Tools, Methodologies and Selected Agricultural Value Chains organized by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Federal Department Agricultural Extension in collaboration with the National Agricultural and Research Liaison Services and Sasakawa-Africa Association noted that the goal of the extension workers is to get the new ecological improvement in Agro input seedlings in rural areas of the State.
The Governor represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Sir Charles Agbara said the government has partnered with some private sectors to revitalize Robber Estate in Amaeke and Ndi Oji Abam, Cashew Plantation in Umunneochi and Cocoa Plantations in the state to complement the efforts of the past leaders especially Dr Michael Okpara in Agricultural Sector while calling on the trainees to make use of the knowledge acquired to teach rural farmers to make use of the improved Cassava Stems, Seedlings as well as other techniques that can improve food production and nutrition in the state.
Speaking, the Federal Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Muhammad Abubakar represented by a Deputy Director in the Ministry, Dr Mrs Ngozi Odunze said the trainees will be empowered with 3 litres of Agro Chemical and Knapsack Sprayers, stressing that the training is one of the strategies of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to halt the drift in the Agricultural extension system which she said has declined due to decrease in funding, policy changes, reduced Man-power and lack of interest of young people in Agricultural entrepreneurship.
In a Welcome Adress, the Program Manager, Abia ADP, Chief Israel Amanze thanked the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development for their interventions as well as the State Government for its support to the ADP appealing for the employment and equipping of more extension workers and noted that the training will expose trainees to the rudiments of extension services and practical aspect of Agricultural system.
In their remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Ernest Afolabi represented by Mr Victor Ihediwa and the Director Federal Department of Agricultural Extension, Mr Frank Satumari Kudla represented by Mr Charles Ezendu named the factors causing the decline in the National Agricultural extension system include the youth unwillingness to embrace Agricultural entrepreneurship, retirement, non-replacement and poor funding of the sub-sector and called on the trainees to always be serious in the exercise.
In a vote of thanks, one of the trainees, Mr Ndudim Ikelua thanked the organizers for their efforts in revitalizing agriculture in Nigeria and promised to take the message to the farmers in the rural areas which will go a long way to impact positively on them.