Nigeria’s agricultural extension service is proving to be the weak link in the country’s plan of revolutionizing the sector. Nigerian smallholder farmers have continued to lag behind their peers, owing to their inability to raise productivity due to the collapse of the country’s agric extension service delivery.
The inability of farmers to access vital information that is beneficial to them and inadequate dissemination of information by extension agents have reduced agricultural productivity in the country for decades. Agricultural extension service is the application of scientific research and new knowledge to agricultural practices through farmers’ education. The extension agents function as the link between farmers, research institutes and the government.
Experts say that the country’s agricultural sector will only become income-generating commercial activity when extension services to farmers are restructured to be efficient and effective. They have noted that lack of farmers’ education is the major challenge confronting Nigerian smallholder farmers, saying that farmers are yet to increase their yield per hectare because they lack the information on good farming practices. The experts called on the government to revive Nigeria’s agricultural extension service, saying it is the major way information is being disseminated to farmers mostly in the rural areas.
“We need to revive our farm extension services to educate farmers on good agric practices,” said African Farmer Mogaji, head-agribusiness group, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI). Currently, farm extension service delivery in Nigeria is currently marred with lots of challenges ranging from poor funding, road infrastructures, aging agents as well as policy flip-flops. Business Day