The Benue House of Assembly, has called on the state government to revitalise the Benue Agricultural Training Centre, Mbatie in Buruku Local Government Area, Concise News reports.
This call followed a motion of urgent public importance moved by Torkuma Bunde (Buruku/PDP) at plenary on Thursday.
Bunde told the House that the centre was established as a farm training centre to offer nine months’ course in diverse fields of agriculture and to also be a commercial crop production centre.
“The aim of the centre is to train people in basic agriculture production practices so as to provide extension services to the teaming farming population in the state to boost agricultural productivity.
“This training offers a certificate, which qualifies graduates for National Diploma placement in Colleges of Agriculture and for employment as Agricultural Technical Field Attendants on grade level five in the civil service.
“The centre has 250 hectares of cultivatable land that can be used for commercial production of a variety of crops and ranching of livestock in addition to three large fish ponds with a capacity to hold 4,000 fingerlings each”.
However, the lawmaker expressed worry that the centre, which previously had a permanent staff strength of 32, had reduced to seven and the student population had also dropped from 1,000 to three.
He lamented that the declining fortunes of the centre both in infrastructure and manpower, had affected the state economically, with a loss of revenue generation and a termination in the links between the centre and other colleges of agriculture.
Seconding the motion, Baba Odeh (Otukpo/Akpa/APC), said that if the centre was revived, Benue being an agrarian state, would generate a lot of revenue through crop production and empower more youths to be gainfully employed.
In his ruling, the House Deputy Speaker, Christopher Adaji, mandated the state Ministry of Agriculture to embark on feasibility visit to the centre and report to the House standing committee on agriculture within two weeks for appropriate actions.