Agricultural Extension in Nigeria's Transformation Agenda: Key Recommendations Based on a Field Study
Nigeria’s smallholder farmers constitute about 70 percent of the nation’s population and giving them access to agricultural extension services is critical to successful agricultural transformation agenda. This study addressed a fundamental issue on whether Nigeria’s extension practitioners have the capacity to address smallholder farmers’ needs.
Multi-stage sampling procedure was used to sample 47 extension workers in the six geo-political zones of Nigeria. We used structured questionnaire to elicit information on respondents’ job satisfaction, training needs, and effectiveness of extension workers.
Significant challenges facing extension which must be tackled to avoid impeding the transformation agenda include: a) training and equipping extension workers with information and communication technologies that will expand their ability to reach large numbers of smallholder farmers deep in the rural hinterlands; b) enlarging their knowledge and skills of development and communication to facilitate integrated rural development programming; and c) improving performance by adopting creative ways for motivating workers.
All these challenges can be tackled easily by adopting a “Communication for Development” (C4D) approach the World Bank and the Food and Agriculture Organization contend is essential to “achieving the Millennium Development Goals”. By adopting C4D Nigeria could be the first in Sub-Saharan Africa in demonstrating the impact of communication on development.
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