In its resolve to further enhance the capacity of Frontline Extension Agents on Cassava Agronomy in the State and expose them to modern ways of farming, Ogun State Government has commenced a 4-day Refresher Train of Trainer (TOT) workshop for them.
Declaring open the training, which was in collaboration with the Africa Cassava Agronomy Initiative (ACAI), Cassava Adding Value for Africa II (CAVA II), the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), among others, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Adeola Odedina charged participants to seize the opportunity to provide seamless step down training for cassava farmers across the State.
Dr. Odedina said the training became necessary in order to adopt technology in farming, which could make them realise between 25-30 tons of yield per acre, as against the usual 10-12 tons, adding that, “with the involvement of Frontline Extension Agents and supplementary training for everyone participating in cassava programme, in line with Ogun State agricultural agenda, would assist in increased productivity.
‘’We are in the agriculture focused era, as actors around the globe are partnering with us to boost agriculture. We also have other donor agencies bringing various kinds of training to our farmers. The greatest focus now is on the State’s agriculture because our land resources and the commitment of our governor in driving agriculture”, he said.
In his lecture, a member of the State’s Anchor Borrowers Steering Committee, Prof. Lateef Sanni, submitted that it was important for Extension Agents to develop a strategic mode of information dissemination to farmers, as well as get them acquainted to new Cassava seed variety, disease control, fertilizer application, spacing, among others, appreciating government for making agriculture its top priority.
Speaking, the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Dotun Sorunke, said government was deploying technology in agri-business, which he said, must be successful in Ogun State.
“If the farmers realise over 25 tons per hectre, they will be able to pay back their loans to Central Bank of Nigeria and still make profit. We are poised to leave no stone unturned at ensuring maximum yields and profits for cassava farmers under Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, as well as other programmes”, he said.
Also speaking, a representative of International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Dr. Thompson Ogunsanmi, eulogised participants for the knowledge displayed, expressing optimism that they would impart positively on the farmers.
Speaking earlier, the Programme Manager, Ogun State Agricultural Development Programme (OGADEP), Deaconess Taiwo Ayansanwo, revealed that, as Frontline Extension Agents, being equipped with modern Cassava Agronomy practice would assist farmers to adopt best practices in cassava production.