Govt to employ 2,700 extension officers

Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto,Minister of Food Agriculture

Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto,Minister of Food Agriculture

Government is to employ 2,700 extension officers, this year, to replace the 80 per cent of current officers who would be retiring by the year 2021, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Minister of Agriculture, has disclosed.

Dr Akoto, who dropped the hint today, expressed concern about the few extension officers in the agricultural industry, and noted that the situation was contributing to the numerous challenges farmers faced in the implementation of new agricultural technologies.

The number of extension officers, according to the minister, stood less than 1,600 as at 2017, which he said, was not enough for the delivery of quality extension services to farmers.

He made this known during a visit to the Ejura Agricultural College and Mechanisation Centre during his first day of a two-day working tour of the Ashanti Region.

Dr Akoto said government was going to improve on the working conditions of the extension officers by providing motorbikes, vehicles and other equipment of which 260 of vehicles had been provided by the Canadian government to enhance their work.

The principal of the college, Reverend Benjamin Asante Mensah, appealed to the government to resource the college with some teaching and learning logistics as well as provide infrastructure like assembly hall and dormitories to enable it function more effectively.

Rev. Mensah noted that, the institution had not experienced any major transformation since its establishment in 1964, but had managed to train numerous technical people in the agricultural industry.

The first day of the tour took the minister and his entourage to PEE Farms, a 300 acre maize farm at Ejura, owned by Alhaji Mohammed Pangabu, a former Member of Parliament for Ejura, and the National Service Scheme Farms also at Ejura.

He proceeded to inspect a state warehouse, and a newly built 300,000 metric tonne capacity World Food Programme warehouse, funded by Global Affairs Canada at Ejura for farmer-based organisations.

The minister and his entourage also visited a 5,000-capacity Ejura Sheep Breeding Station, which is one of the seven livestock breeding stations under the Animal Production Directorate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.

FROM FAUSTINA KWABEA OSEI, EJURA

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