Farmers require a different range of information to
run their farm enterprises successfully. 70% of Nigeria’s food production
depends on smallholder farmers. Agricultural
extension service remains a veritable tool for bridging the information gap
between rural farmers and research. Extension is critically important because
without it farmers will lack access to supportive and improved services required
to boost their farm production. Agricultural development in Nigeria will still
be a mirage if there is no proper investment in research and extension service.
N-Power is an initiative of Federal Government of
Nigeria (FGN) aimed at addressing the challenge of youth unemployment by
providing a structure for large scale and relevant work skills acquisition and
development while linking its core and outcomes to fixing inadequate public
services and stimulating the larger economy. The modular programmes under
N-Power will ensure that each participant will learn and practice most of what
is necessary to find or create work. The N-Power Teacher Corp involves a
massive deployment of 500,000 trained graduates who will assist to improve the
inadequacies in the public services in education, health and civic education. Some of these graduates will also help in
actualising Nigeria’s economic and strategic aspirations of achieving food
security and self-sufficiency through N-Power Agro programme.
FGN will engage qualified young Nigerians through N-Power
Agro programme to function as intermediaries between research and farmers. They
will operate as facilitators and communicators, helping farmers in their
decision-making and ensuring that appropriate knowledge is implemented to
obtain the best results on farms. N-Agro will also rely on the use of
technology as the country aspires to identify soil types, farm sizes,
irrigation data, and ensure that our farmers are operating optimally. In addition,
these young people will also benefit from a compulsory employability and
entrepreneurship skills development programme.
Agriculture extension in Nigeria is already going
into extinction having many problems bedevilling it. Constraints identified long
ago by Fabusoro and Adebayo (2008) in their presentation titled “That Extension
will not go into Extinction” during 8th European IFSA Symposium in France
include; Inadequate funding, Ineffective technology transfer, Inadequate Staffing
and Supply-driven/top-down nature of extension service delivery.
No research, no extension and of course no agricultural
development. It is unfortunate that the nation
research institutes have no
competent research personnel, lack proper tools and equipment to work with and of
course produce grains instead seeds. Farmers, agropreneurs and marketers import
seeds mostly hybrid and other inputs to cater for this deficit in the nation
research output. Federal Agricultural Universities, Polytechnics
and Colleges cannot produce food and farm produces that will sufficiently feed their school and host communities.
|Extension Personnel in Ikom|
The University Dons however, suggested the following
solutions/recommendations for reviving extension service delivery in Nigeria which
There should be adequate
funding which should adopt; Cost recovery mechanism, Strong political
commitment, Collaborations with partners and funding organisation and Putting
farmers/rural people as drivers in service delivery chain.
Subsidy for agricultural
inputs most especially farm machinery
There is need to
strengthen research-extension linkage
There is need
for strong agricultural policy
which should ensure transitioning to pluralistic extension systems, especially
to increase private sector participation, build capacity and facilitate
participation and commitment to the implementation of such policy.
As Nigeria is diversifying into agriculture to reclaim
her lost glory, it is imperative that Buhari-led administration revive independent
national research institutes and empower Federal Agricultural Universities, Polytechnics
and Colleges with needed resources and put them in good shape to compete globally in the area of agriculture.
Federal Agricultural Universities, Polytechnics
and Colleges should be challenged to feed the school and host communities with their research outputs and farm products, through that they not only generate revenue but generate employment opportunity for the young people.
N-Power Agro programme is still recruiting graduates
with Higher National Diploma (HND) or Bachelors Degree qualification. Kindly
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