The National Agricultural Extension Research and Liaison Services (NAERLS), Zaria said on Monday that the institute had devised a plan to transform the lives of 360,000 smallholder farmers of maize and soybeans through modern farming techniques.
The Executive Director of the institute, Prof. Mohammed Kabir-Othman, made this known at the opening of a three-day Stakeholders’ Inception Meeting in Kaduna, northern Nigeria.
The meeting was tagged: “Building the Capacity of Community-Based Advisors for Improved Productivity of Maize, Rice, and Soybeans in Niger and Kaduna States” a project under the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), NAERLS, and Community Based Advisors for Improved Productivity (CBA).
According to Othman, NAERLS was privileged to receive a grant of over $1 million for the project that will be implemented in two states of Kaduna and Niger in the next two years.
“The essence of the project is to increase the productivity and income of 360,000 smallholder farmers in the two states.
“The whole idea is to galvanise the establishment of private extension agents but when we talk of private, we are not talking about those who are going to make profit.
“We are talking about the farmers themselves should be the extension personnel by acquiring knowledge and sharing it among themselves,” he explained.
Othman noted that the public extension system was on the verge of collapsing, adding that in the past 30 years the services being rendered by extension agents had drastically reduced.
He also promised that the institute would do everything possible to ensure that the aims and objectives of the project is fully achieved, adding that all hands must be on deck to attainment the set objectives.
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