DETERMINED to develop the agricultural sector in the state, Bauchi State government has concluded arrangements to recruit and train 250 young persons as agricultural extension workers as a way of providing support services in agricultural technologies to Farmers.
The State Commissioner of Agriculture, Yakubu Kirfi stated this Thursday at a one-day meeting on community participatory assessment of community scorecards on smallholder women Farmers access to extension services, organised by Fahimta Women and Youth Development Initiative, (FAWOYDI) Women Youth in collaboration with ActionAid Nigeria held at the BIT plaza, Bauchi.
The objective of the meeting was to determine Small Scale Women Farmers, (SWOFAN) access to Agricultural extension and advisory Services in targeted states of Bauchi, Delta, Ebonyi, Gombe, Kogi, Kwara, Ondo state and FCT, using community participatory score card methodology.
Represented by the Director of the state ministry of Agriculture, Engineer Muhammad Saidu, the commissioner said that small Farmers dominate the agricultural sector and produce 90 per cent of the output, yet experience difficulties accessing agricultural extension services.
He said that the ministry this time around will be gender sensitive by giving more priority to women Farmers during the recruitment exercise, adding that the essence is to increase rural women’s productivity, income and quality of life.
“During the recruitment, we will also give considerations to Corp members who studied agriculture in their various institutions. This will increase their chances of securing permanent employment and lure others into the agricultural profession,” he said.
In his presentation on the public funding of agriculture extension service, the Programme Officer, Fahimta, Mr Tosin Suberu stated that in Bauchi state out of the 89.4 per cent of Farmers who were aware of the Agricultural Development programme, only 21.1 per cent had to access to extension services and credit.
The programme officer noted that public funding of agricultural extension services in the year 2015 was only 4 per cent, saying that N3,081,892,338 was budgeted, but N69,790,939.33 was released.
Speaking of the challenges limiting women’s access to effective Extension Delivery Services, Mr Tosin stated that women Farmers lacked access to production enhancing inputs such as seedlings, fertilisers and land preparation processing equipment.
“Other challenges include limited access to Farmers lands, limited access to agricultural extension Services, lack of capacity building opportunities, lack of access to credit, lack of access to processing and storage facilities and market information,” he said.
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