March 12, 2024

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Following the need to strengthen the extension service system in Nigeria, stakeholders including Commissioners of Agriculture, Permanent Secretaries in State Ministries of Agriculture and some key Heads of government agencies on Wednesday met on the updated Draft Agricultural Extension Service Delivery Revitalization Bill.

According to the stakeholders at the Women Farmers Advancement Network (WOFAN-ICON) Project, this move will be a pillar to economic growth and livelihood improvement in Nigeria. 

The Executive Director of WOFAN, Hajia Salamatu Garba, while at the Stakeholders meeting, said there are Commissioners of Agriculture from 11 states present, some Permanent Secretaries and value chain key players to look at agricultural policy and translate it into bill hoping that it will be passed by the National Assembly. 

She said a lot of research works have been done but they have not been translated into action, “we need all the inputs we can get from various stakeholders to make a successful bill so as not to be turned down. 

“We have reached a stage where we look indepthly at the agricultural policy and have translated it into a bill which we are hoping to pass to the National Assembly”, Salamatu said. 

Salamatu further said the reason for involving stakeholders was for them to claim ownership of the bill, “that is why the commissioners are here and the suggestions of the technical committee on agriculture and the three tiers of government is needed.” 

Also, the Commissioner for Agriculture in Kebbi state, Maigari Dakingari, said ” Nigeria is passing through a shortage of food, the ADPS before made agriculture successful because of the type of extension services delivery they provided. 

“Now the problem agriculture is having is poor funding, there is need to improve on this. We need to allow private extension services to play and contribute to the agricultural sector and boost food sufficiency,” he said. 

He pledged the support of the state government to domesticate the bill and ensure its speedy passage. 

In the same vein, the Commissioner of Agriculture from Bauchi State, Professor Simon Yalams, advocated capacity building and inclusiveness to promote the agriculture sector. 

Johnson Ebokpo, Commissioner for Agriculture and Irrigation Development, Cross River State said that Nigeria has about 70 percent of farmers that cannot meet up 50 percent of food demand in the country.

Ebokpo said the problem of Agriculture in Nigeria is extension, adding that in the United kingdom, extension service has legislative backing. He stated that the effect of not having a clear legal framework around the extension service delivery was apparent.

According to him, extension bridges the gap between research and the farmers “in terms of funding and other forms of resources required to drive extension in Nigeria we will continue to face food insecurity challenge.”