ActionAid Nigeria in collaboration with Participation Initiative for Behavioural Change in Development (PIBCID) has called on the Kogi State government to ensure significant improvement in the funding of public agricultural extension services to small holder women farmers to boost agricultural productivity in the state.
The call was made in Lokoja during a dissemination meeting of Community Participatory Assessment of Government Expenditure on Agriculture/Community Score Cards on Smallholder Women Farmers Access to Extension Services.
A member of the Public Financing of Agriculture (PFA) project of ActionAid in Kogi State, Mr Hamza Aliyu, made the call while presenting report of a study done across eight targeted states of Bauchi, Delta, Ebonyi, Gombe, Kogi, Kwara, Ondo and FCT to determine small scale women farmers’ access to agricultural extension and advisory services.
According to the study, Kogi ranked very poor in its rating in the provisions of extension technical support services to small scale women farmers in the state.
The study particularly rated Kogi poor in the aspects of inputs facilitation, land preparation services, market information services, post harvest management, on-farm demonstrations, radio/television programmes, training and workshops, amongst others.
It, therefore, called for enactment of an agricultural extension policy to guide and regulate the practice of agricultural extension and advisory services in Nigeria for assured and sustainable funding mechanism and quality control.
The study finds that Agricultural Development Programmes (ADP) in all the states were still using analogue method in extension services and therefore called for urgent deployment of ICTs for increased extension services especially now that youths were being encouraged to go into agriculture.
It equally recommends provisions of adequate mobility for extension workers; recruitment of adequate and qualified extension workers; building of capacity of extension workers and ensuring better condition of service for extension workers to enhance better extension and advisory services in the country.
The study amongst others, called for a synergy between donor-assisted projects located within the ministry of agriculture and ADP activities to avoid duplication, wastage and unhealthy rivalry.
Earlier, the Programme Officer of Public Financing of Agriculture in the state, Mrs Inikpi Ali expressed worries that the rating of Kogi State in extension technical support services was very poor and therefore called on all the stakeholders to rise up and change the negative narrative of extension services in the state for the better.
She said the dissemination programme was designed to keep officials from the state ministry of agriculture, the ADP and other stakeholders abreast of the findings with a view to charting a better way forward.