The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammad Abubakar says the required growth in agriculture can only be achieved through an efficient and effective agricultural advisory system that integrates Climate Smart Agricultural (CSA) technologies and practices.
Dr. Abubakar stated this at the Regional Policy Dialogue on Integration of Climate Smart Agriculture, Cross Border Trade and Markets, and Foresight in the Agricultural Extension &Advisory Services (AEAS) Policy; and launching of Africa-wide Agricultural Extension Week 2023 (AAEW2023).
The dialogue which brought together stakeholders from across Africa was organized by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in conjunction with African Forum for Agricultural and Advisory Services (AFAAS), financed by the European Union and managed by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
According to the Minister, although Nigeria has been recording increases in agricultural production, the country is experiencing serious challenges with regards to meeting its food security needs in the face of a changing climate.
‘’These notwithstanding, the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has continued to demonstrate to all that agriculture is key to diversifying the economy. Several policies have been put in place to modernize the sector and promote agricultural productivity in line with changing global food systems and supply chains. These include the National Agricultural Technology and Innovation Policy (NATIP) and the 2021 Climate Change Act, which has a robust framework for mainstreaming climate actions in line with national development priorities”, he noted.
On the importance of the dialogue, Dr. Abubakar who maintained that cases of climate change challenges and issues which have retarded the Nigerian agricultural development also abound across Africa and urged the global community to take deliberate and dedicated measures to avert it.
He emphasized that there was no short cut to an effective agricultural extension and advisory services (AEAS) and pledged to assist and collaborate with any public or private organization in this regard.
‘’We believe that this meeting will proffer implementable strategies that can be used to resolve the identified problems. I, therefore, urge this gathering, to develop new strategies for integrating CSA issues in the Agricultural Extension and Advisory Services. The high point of this gathering will be to design actionable roadmaps that will guarantee effective agricultural extension and advisory services that will integrate into climate smart issues in the agricultural extension policy and practice in Nigeria and Africa”, the Minister said.
Benefits of Extension Services
Also, the Director programme of African Agricultural Advisory services, Max Olupot said the African wide extension week is an opportunity for researchers, farmers, scientists and value chain actors to meet and exchange ideas for the benefits of African countries
The President of the Nigeria Agricultural Advisory services, Professor Dele Tologbonse said the Nigerian chapter of the Advisory services had provided opportunity for farmers to upscale their production through effective and coordinated extension services.
Prof. Tologbonse called on government at all levels to embrace extension services towards accelerating food production and ultimately food security for the nation and the world at large.
Writing by Zaccheaus Babalola; Editing by Annabel Nwachukwu