An agricultural extension officer, Mr Ismail Olawale, has called for appropriate application of the Federal Government’s N13 billion approved Pest Control Intervention Fund.

Olawale made this call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Lagos.

The Federal Government recently approved N13 billion as intervention fund for pest control in 12 northern states to reduce the effects of COVID-19 on the nation’s food sector.

The 12 frontline states to benefit from the fund are Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Katsina, Kano, Jigawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Adamawa, Taraba, Yobe and Borno.

“It is a laudable intervention from the government but we may likely get it wrong if we do not get the right people to communicate the right information to the target beneficiary of the funds.

“We should not just rejoice over the approval of the funds but we should consider the value chain of the implementation and what is the importance of communication along the value chain,’’ he said.

He said that the intervention would be effective if extension officers were carried along.

“It is not all about the money but the structure on which the intervention will be implemented,” he said.

Olawale called for a proper communication strategy in the application of the funds and appropriate training of local farmers in the application of pest control chemicals.

“It is going to be dangerous if the farmers are not educated on the application of pest control materials.

“We need vigorous media enlightenment to be part of this project so that farmers in the 12 states that are beneficiaries of the fund will be well thought.

“We should be wary of spreading the chemicals in an uncoordinated manner or in a non-complaint way the producers of the chemicals prescribed,’’ Olawale said.

NAN reports that the Federal Government approved N13 billion as Pest Control Intervention funds to cushion the effects of COVID-19 pandemic on the nation’s agriculture sector. (NAN)