The Federal Government, on Monday, announced that it had trained over 30,000 workers as part of efforts to reinvigorate extension services and encourage agricultural productivity.
Alhaji Sabo Nanono, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, stated this at the National Wheat Farmers Field Day at Jakarade plantation in Danbatta Local Government Area of Kano state.
Nanono said the federal government planned to train 70,000 workers, adding that 30,000 of them had completed their training designed to expose them to modern farming techniques, fertiliser and chemical application.
He said the measure was imperative towards equipping farmers with modern farming techniques, crop processing and entrepreneurial skills, to add value to agricultural produce.
The minister said the Federal Government had initiated sound extension programmes, to transform agriculture and achieve food security, and urged state governments to engage them to enhance farmer support services at the grassroots.
According to him, the programme was focused on encouraging wheat production and processing, to reduce importation of the commodity into the country.
Nanono further urged state governments to encourage the development of small scale wheat processing mills to enhance availability of flour and other wheat products.
In his remark, the Kano State Deputy Governor, Nasiru Gawuna, said the state government had concluded plans to establish additional water bodies and upgrade existing dams to encourage wheat cultivation and other irrigation activities.
Gawuna said the government had embarked on the rehabilitation and desilting of Watari dam and upgrade of irrigation schemes in Bagwai LGA.
While reiterating the government’s commitment to support farmers, Gawuna urged the farmers to utilise the inputs to improve their productivity.
Also speaking, Alhaji Salihu Muhammad, Chairman, Wheat Farmers Association of Nigeria, called for the inclusion of wheat farmers into the Federal Government’s Anchor Borrower Programme (APB), because the exclusion of their 200,000 registered members had negatively affected wheat production in the country.
The Project Manager, Olam Crown Flour Mills, said that as a member of the Flour Milling Association of Nigeria (FMAN), the company was committed towards improving wheat production, through adequate financing and research in the country.
Danjuma said the programme had introduced Durum wheat variety and engaged the services of a well known seed scientists, Dr Bassi, to accelerate wheat production in the country.
“We wish to get new technologies in Nigeria to further build on the wheat initiative. We look forward to partnering with organisations across the wheat value chain, to improve farmers’ yields through high quality seeds, expanded extension services and improved access to irrigation,” Danjuma said
It was reported that FMAN had provided support to 800 farmers in Kano, Kebbi and Jigawa States to accelerate wheat cultivation.
The farmers were provided with improved seeds variety, fertilisers, chemicals and 50 threshers under a soft loan scheme designed to enhance farmer access to inputs and extension services.
FMAN, in collaboration with Oxfam and agricultural research institutes, had also established wheat farming service centres in 15 LGAs in the participating states, while plans were underway to expand the scope of the programme to mobilise additional participation.