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
|Extension Personnel in Ikom|
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.
The University Dons however, suggested the following solutions/recommendations for reviving extension service delivery in Nigeria which include;
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 policywhich 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 apply HERE.
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