Yobe Needs More Agricultural Extension Workers to Boost Food Production, Says Lecturer
A lecturer at the Department of Agricultural Extension, Yobe State College of Agriculture Science and Technology, Mr Nuruddeen Babaji, has called on the government to employ more agricultural extension workers in the state.
Babaji made the call in an interview with our Correspondent in Damaturu on Thursday.
“To be candid, we do not have a sufficient number of agricultural extension workers in the state,” he said.
He cited a 2018 research conducted under the Yobe State Agricultural Development Programme (ADP), initiated by the World Bank, which revealed that there were only 58 technical staff in a state with about four million people.
“This gap provided a basis for rebranding the extension system in the state,” he said. “It calls for the need to train and engage more community-based extension workers in order to assist in facilitating most of the extension services in the state.”
He further advised policymakers to employ more extension workers to educate farmers on the latest agricultural services.
Babaji also observed that certain government policies are affecting extension service delivery in the state.
“For instance, a ban on the use of urea fertilizer in the state due to the activities of insurgents has affected farmers and extension services.
“The interests of the farmers should always be put into cognisance before formulating policies and programmes,” he said.
He also appealed to the government to revive the ADP. The programme, according to him, had a wide range of coverage and impact on farmers and extension services in the state.
In a separate interview, Dr Ali Musa Usur, a lecturer at the Department of Animal Health and Production Technology at the same institution, said that veterinary services in the state are functioning optimally.
“We have a sufficient number of veterinary doctors and animal health assistants in the state.
“Even here in this College, we produce the animal health extension workers and animal health protection workers. Obviously, one can see that the facilities in the state are functioning very well because we have manpower,” he said.
He added that people are very much aware of veterinary services in the state’s facilities and are patronising the services.
Usur also said the state’s ministry of agriculture has formed a task force team to monitor and ensure compliance with regulations governing the slaughter of animals in abattoirs.
“The sole aim, according to him, is to ensure that the meat people consume is not adulterated and free from any disease.
“The meat has to pass through ante-mortem and post-mortem examinations. This means, veterinary doctors have to examine the animals before and after slaughter before approving it for human consumption,” he explained.
The doctor, therefore, encouraged people to buy meat from abattoirs, adding that sensitisation is ongoing in the state to enlighten people on the importance of meat inspection.
He also enjoined the public to ensure they consult genuine veterinary doctors, not quacks. He advised the public to contact them through their respective association, designated offices, and facilities across the state.