President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the employment of over 30,000 graduates who would be trained on how to render extension services to farmers, collect soil samples and conduct soil test across the country.
The executive secretary of National Land Development Agency (NALDA), Prince Paul Ikonne, disclosed this during a media chat in Abuja.
He said the graduates who would be engaged under the National Young Farmers Scheme would embark on two weeks intensive training free of charge.
“They will be trained intensively for two weeks on soil sample collection and soil tests for them to acquire knowledge in the soil test and soil collection,” he said.
The NALDA boss said the graduates would have backgrounds in agriculture and Sciences.
He said after the training, the graduates would be given soil test kits and the soil collection samples kits at the end of the training.
He explained that farmers will be made to pay as low as N500 per sample collected, while NALDA will shoulder the rest including soil test kits and the soil collection samples kits.
“Fertiliser dealers take advantage of that to sell all kinds of fertilisers to farmers, at the end of the day the desired yield will not be achieved.
“We cannot achieve food security without understanding our soil, without getting our farmers to know what the soil requires.
“What this soil doctors will be doing is they will go to every farmland, meet farmers in their farms to conduct soil test first before any farming season in order to know what nutrient that the soil requires and what type of fertiliser the crop will need, with that we will begin to engage in the best agricultural practices.
“Nigerian agricultural sector has suffered over the years due to the absence of extension workers.”
“Over the years farmers go to the farm just do their normal thing, open the soil put their maize or their wheat without a soil test to ascertain the nutrient that the soil requires.
“Extension service providers are one of the key services that we have been missing in farming generally.
“The President has mandated NALDA to make sure that our soils begin to yield maximum output and farmers begin to get their returns on investment,” he said.