Abuja , March 28, 2019 (NAN) Dr Mel Oluoch, Regional Director of SASSAKAWA Africa, on Thursday stressed the need for Nigeria to boost its agricultural production through the adoption of modern technology, increased access to inputs and greater extension services.
He said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sideline of a two-day SAA/SG2000 Stakeholders National Annual Review and Planning Workshop.
The major objectives of SG2000-Nigeria are to raise the crop management skills of front-line extension staff and smallholder farmers to increase crop production and productivity.
Given the size of Nigeria, it was agreed that SG2000-Nigeria would work in the north, a high-potential agricultural area of the country.
NAN reports that the workshop, with a theme: « Take it to the Farmer », was held at the National Agricultural Extension Research and Liaisons Services (NAERLS), Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, Kaduna State.
Oluoch, who heads the SASSAKAWA Regional Office in Addis Ababa, said: « We face a lot of challenges but the biggest challenge that we have is that the productivity of agriculture in Nigeria is still very low, farmers yields are very low.
« There are many reasons behind that, first among them is lack of knowledge of the right agricultural technologies and practices, lack of access to inputs like seeds and fertilisers as well as lack of access to extension services.
« Lack of access to extension services is a major challenge which puts farmers in a difficult position because quite often, they really don’t have the knowledge they need to be able to carry out the best practices in agriculture to change farmers’ livelihood. »
According to him, the organisation has been able to transform the livelihood of millions of smallholder farmers.
« We covered a lot of grounds in Nigeria, SASSAKAWA Africa had been able to transform the lives of millions of smallholder farmers in Nigeria and work closely in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture.
« We also work in collaboration with Agricultural Development Programmes (ADPs) in different states, research institutes, different government agencies and private sectors.
« This is with a view to working across the entire value chain in the agricultural sector to make an impact on the livelihood of farmers in this country. »
Oluoch said the essence of the planning workshop was to take stock of the organisation’s achievements, take stock of the challenges and plan ahead to see what it could do to be able to help improve the agricultural transformation agenda of Nigeria.
Source: FAAPA FRFAAPA FR