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Saturday, 20 January 2018

Agric Ministry distributes 370 motorcycles to extension agents

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on Saturday distributed 370 motorcycles to extension agents to further enhance service delivery to Nigerian farmers.

Motorcycles were given to the agents as soft loan at 50 per cent discount.

NAN also reports that the minister, Chief Audu Ogbeh, had earlier commissioned a "National Farmer Help Line (NFHL) Centre", meant to provide a linkage between extension workers and farmers across Nigeria.

Ogbeh, flagging-off the distribution exercise at the National Agricultural Extension Research and Liaisons Services (NAERLS), Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, said the motorcycles were to improve efficiency.

"It is a great privilege for me to launch and flag-off the distribution of these motorcycles to the frontline agricultural extension workers in the Agricultural Development Projects (ADPs) in various states.

"It has become imperative and indeed compelling for Nigeria to diversify its economy, having been virtually dependent on petroleum for four decades.

"The country has realised that the most apparent sector to achieve this is the agriculture sector, which presents the greatest potential for sustainable economic development of Nigeria in terms of resource-based approach to growth," he said.

Ogbeh said that the country must therefore transit from oil-dependency to a more diversified economy, as the domestic economy is always susceptible to external revenue shocks when oil prices fall.

According to him, that informs the imperativeness for the economic diversification from oil as a depleting asset, since the country is too richly endowed with abundant natural assets for it to concentrate on tapping just one.

He said the country needed an economic diversification model that would help absorb fiscal shocks, fend-off monetary instability and provide employment opportunities for the teeming energetic work-force.

The minister said it was in realisation of this that President Muhammadu Buhari directed the setting up of four special committees, one of which is on "Revitalisation of Agricultural Extension Services in Nigeria".

Ogbeh lamented that extension service delivery in the country fell into hard times since the closure of the World Bank loans in the early 2000.
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