No fewer than a hundred extension agents and farmers in Kwara state have been trained on the production of small ruminants and crop residue processing for improved utilization by ruminants.

The extension agents and farmers were drawn from the 16 local government areas of the state for the training programme towards improving food security situation in the state and Nigeria at large.

The programme was organized by the Kwara state government, the Kwara state Livestock Productivity and Resilience Support Project (L-PRES) and with support from the Centre for Dryland Agriculture (CDA) and the World Bank.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the programme, packaged by Synergy Impact Consultants Limited, the minister of state for Agriculture and Food Security, Dr Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, said that extension agents and farmers are very important in sensitization activities, adding that they would be carried along in the L-PRES programme.

Represented by the national project coordinator, L-PRES, Mallam Abubakar Sanusi, the minister said that about 70 per cent of the animal feasibility study is done through sensitization, describing it as key in ascertaining the nature and needs of animals.

He advised extension agents to work closely with farmers to improve livestock productivity.

The minister, who said that Kwara state is one of the 20 states in which the programme was being run in the country, added that the essence of the initiative was to improve productivity in animal production.

He also said that the programme was being executed in collaboration with research institutes in the country to improve pasture development.

Also speaking, the state Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Oloruntoyosi Thomas, said that the state government was targeting over 1,000 extension agents in the next two years, adding that the government planned to provide each local government a motorcycle for effective operation.

She also commended roles of agriculture extension agents and farmers in the state towards improving agriculture productivity and food chain.

The commissioner, who said that the state government was committed to ensuring food security, added that the present administration in the state has deployed simple and practical steps to achieve food security in crop and livestock production.

“That’s what we’re focusing on. One of the activities of government that sets us apart is what we’re doing today. We’re passionate about developing our extension agents as we believe they can ensure food security. We’ve always invested in our extension agents and farmers”.

One of the participants at the training programme, Oyeleke Raufu, commended organizers of the programme, saying that the training programme took them through the rearing of small ruminants that produce meat with low cholesterol, animal feeds using farm wastes as well as meat production, among other agricultural value chains.

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by Biola Azeez