26 January 2013

Nigeria: Implement Policies On Agricultural Extension for Food Sustainability - DON

Photo: Mujahid Safodien/IRIN
Smallholder farmers from Swaziland’'s eastern Lubombo District are using conservation techniques to grow crops other than maize.

Prof. Oluwasegun Adekunle of the Department of Agricultural Extension, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Ilorin, has urged the Federal Government to implement policies on agricultural extension for food sustainability.

Adekunle, who made the call on Saturday while delivering a lecture entitled: "Key to Unlock" in Ilorin, said for any government to succeed in the agriculture sector, it must implement good policies on agricultural extension.

He said that the country was involved in too much food importation which was detrimental to the agriculture sector in the country.

Adekunle warned against high wage bill of food importation and made case for agricultural extension as a key to unlock the immense food potential in Nigeria.

According to him, a well focused agricultural transformation programme is usually sustainable, provided it is targeted at the small-scale farmers.

"The Federal Government should ensure that small-scale farmers are involved in the design and implementation on the onset of farming activities.

"This should also be manned by efficient personnel and supported by strong extension services," he said.

Adekunle observed that Nigeria was still a food-deficit nation that depended on imported grains, livestock products and fish.

He said that out of an estimated 71 million hectares of cultivable land, only half was currently used for farming.

"Any nation that has a quality extension system, listen to the needs of the farmers, motivate personnel and measure its impact, will record high agricultural productivity among small-scale farmers and global influence," he advised.

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