The National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) has grabduated 269 soil doctors and agriculture extension workers.
They also gave test kits to facilitate their field operations, in Maiduguri , the Borno state capital.
This followed their successful completion of a two week intensive training exercise organized by the NALDA in collaboration with the Borno state government.
The trainees comprising graduates with agriculture and science related educational backgrounds and corp members, were trained in areas of soil sample collection, soil testing as well as extension services.
At the certificate award ceremony, the Excecutive Secretary of the National Agricultural Land Development Authourity, Prince Paul Ikonne, expressed optimism that the entry of the trainees into the Nigerian agricultural system will address issues associated with soil testing and food quality.
He said “ It is expected that the injection of soil doctors and extension service providers into the Nigerian agricultural system will correct the anomalies of non-soil testing so that farming becomes healthy for the environment, humanity and quality food production”.
The governor of Borno state Professor Babagana Zulum, commended NALDA for giving the state such an opportunity as that was the first time the head of any agency would approach him with such intervention since he assumed office.
According to the governor , “ it is the first in the history of my administration in Borno state that a Chief Excecutive of a federal agency called and told me, Mr Governor, I am in receipt of funding from the federal government , come so that we can work together.”
He said no other state has Borno’s agriculture potentials and water is not a limiting factor as irrigation engineers are being continually called upon to design structures that could handle the natural supply of water.
The Borno state governor said he will keep working towards improving the food supply and agriculture value chain to ensure the nation and the state has food sustainability.
The governor said the state has a total land mass of over seventy six thousand square kilometers with over seventy percent of it arable and under no circumstances should it miss this singular opportunity of developing the region.
Zulum said “ This effort by NALDA and her development partners by training and providing well designed soil testing kits to one thousand youths shall provide effective and adequate number of experts on soil, to our farmers in time, for Borno to engage in scientific cultivation which should be anchored on sustainable development”.
The governor highlighted problems faced in the state’s agriculture system to include lack of adequate extension workers, poor funding, inadequate logistics services for field staff and wants NALDA to provide extension support services.
He congratulated the graduates and enjoined farmers to cooperate to make the intervention a success.
Senate President Ahmed Lawan, who was at the event with other members of the National Assembly, on his part said the choice of Borno to kickstart the training is very apt and commended the state government for taking advantage of the opportunity offered through the programme by engaging with NALDA on the project.