ActionAid, SWOFON make case for extension workers, rural women farmers

ActionAid Nigeria and Small-Scale Women Farmers Organisation in Nigeria (SWOFON) have called for the harmonization and improvement funding agricultural extension services by the federal and state government in the country.

The Country Director of ActionAid Nigeria, Ene Obi, at the live Zoom webinar meeting on the ‘Challenges facing Smallholder Women Farmers’ access to extension services and inputs during and post COVID-19’ said the government has ignored the extension services.

She also called on regular capacity building for extension workers adding that there is a lot of development for extension staff in the Agricultural Development Program.

She also said there is need to look at the enactment of agricultural extension policy to guide and regulate the extension services in Nigeria for assured services.

“People are creative and there is the need for Nigeria to realize that the Agric sector is a place to go. We also believe that Nigeria can move faster when we move through the right channel,” she said.

The National President of Small-Scale Women Farmers Organisation in Nigeria (SWOFON), Mary Afan, expressed concern that majority of rural women farmers are the ones training their children in school and they need to be supported to ensure their children are educated.

Also, the Executive Director, National Agricultural Extension and Research Liason Services, Professor Mohammed Kalid Othman, said one of the most critical thing to be done is to increase investment in agriculture generally not only by the federal government but also the state government.

He recalled that up till August 2019, only 10 states out 37 states released funds for extension services, adding that agriculture is time bound and if the funds are not disbursed at the appropriate time, it purpose cannot be fulfilled .

He also called for synergy between the state and federal government so as to have an available data and coordinate researches.

 “Our aim is to look at productivity of farmers and the need for concerted efforts to educate farmers”. He said.

While responding, the Director, Federal Department Agriculture and Extension Service, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural development, Engr Frank Kudla, said a committee was recently constituted to see how extension services can be revitalized in the country.

He explained that the Committee was given 8 term of reference, adding that the agenda is the immediate training of 75,000 extension workers and they have drawn out modules that will be adopted for the training.

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