An Agriculture Extension Officer in Nigeria, Mr Samuel Adeniyi has advised local farmers to embrace newly improved farming techniques to boost their production and income.
Adeniyi told Journalists in Omu-Aran, Kwara state that majority of farmers, especially at the grassroots, were still using the old method of cutlass and hoe in farming.
According to him, such development accounted for huge post-harvest losses and poor yields being experience by farmers in various communities lately.
Adeniyi said most of the farmers were not up- to- date with vital information and methods needed to improve and sustain their businesses.
“Majority of peasant farmers, especially in remote towns and villages, still adopt the olden day’s system of farming with hoe and cutlass in spite of major breakthrough in mechanized farming, use of pesticides and insecticides, adequate weather forecast, new improved irrigation system and storage facility.
“Most farmers in this category still lack adequate information on such initiative at their disposal.
“It becomes more compounded as these information centres are concentrated in the state capitals far from the local farmers,” he said.
The agriculture extension officer also stressed said the need for government to prioritize empowering agriculture extension workers, for optimum performance.
According to him, such intervention will assist in educating farmers on the best practices required to achieve maximum yield.
“Also, the farmers do not have access to periodic warning on weather and climatic conditions by forecasting agency, to avoid incurring losses.
“Our concern is with regards to local farmers in remote communities who yearly post huge losses due to poor farming technique.
“In the past, we had extension workers mobilised in the communities, to assist farmers with useful tips that could enhance production; but now, the case is different.
“It is nearly impossible for most farmers to travel long distances to the ministries in state capitals for such information.
“It has become an urgent obligation for government to address these challenges.
“This is important as such farmers, especially at the grassroots, can be carried along in transforming the sector, to ensure its growth and development,’’ he added.
Adeniyi suggested the restructuring of agriculture departments in local councils, to ensure prompt and adequate access to information and incentives by farmers.
He also advocated for the registration and data capturing of farmers by the councils for easy access to them.
“The local councils remained the closest to the grassroots; and if well-equipped to serve the farmers, it will bring about the desired result.
“With adequate data of farmers, the councils can make use of electronic SMS via mobile phones, to get the farmers informed periodically,” he said.