By Bukola Adewumi
Stakeholders in the agricultural value chain convened in Abuja to discuss the new Federal Government policy on agricultural extension services.
The summit aimed to chart the way forward and develop strategies for enhancing extension service delivery in Nigeria.
The Executive Director of Women Farmers Advancement Network (WOFAN), Hajia Salamatu Garba, emphasised the importance of understanding and successfully implementing the policy at all levels.
The new policy is designed to empower farmers with rights and opportunities, contributing to food security in Nigeria.
WOFAN, in collaboration with Mastercard Foundation’s ‘Young Africa Works’ strategy, aims to uplift the lives of 627,000 people through the WOFAN-ICON2 project over five years.
The project focuses on improving extension services and involving the private sector to complement government efforts in addressing challenges in agriculture.
The strategy, she said, was aimed at enabling 30 million young people in Africa, especially young women, to secure employment they considered as dignified and fulfilling.
As part of YAW strategy, Garba said that the foundation would deepen its engagement in uplifting the living conditions of ultra poor people, including the physically- challenged.
The Business Manager of WOFAN, Mr Taiwo Olawale, said the foundation’s vision of uplifting the status of the people and giving them a sustainable capacity that would make them live a fulfilled life on their own aligned with WOFAN’s business model.
“At present, there is an estimated one extension worker to about 10,000 farmers in Nigeria, but with WOFAN ICON2 project, it is one extension worker to 15 groups, and each group is made up of 30 people”.
The Chairman, WOFAN Technical Advisory Board on Policy Change and Advisory Services, Prof.
Sani Miko, said that funding was critical in the area of extension services, urging the private sector to complement government efforts.
“We need to key in the private sector to tackle that opportunity and the resources to compliment the government effort,” he said.
Executive Director, National Extension and Research Liaison Services (NAERLS), Prof.
Emmanuel Ikani, underscored the significance of the policy in coordinating and regulating extension services.
He proposed the use of ICT to enhance outreach and communication with farmers.
Edited by ‘Wale Sadeeq