The executive director of National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Prof Mohammed Othman, has said that for extension officers to function optimally in Agriculture, they need the support of both the federal and state governments.
He made the statement today, while speaking during a Webinar on ‘Smallholder Women Farmers’ Access to Extension Services and Inputs within and Post COVID-19 Confirmation.’
According to Othman, extension officers play a major role to farmers and they need all the help they can get from both the federal and especially the state governments in order to be able to properly help the farmers to be more productive.
“Extension officers, though highly indispensable in Agricultural production, are unable to carry out their duties to farmers extensively as much as they should due to several challenges, which are:
“Logistics, extension officers, a lot of times, have to travel long distances to reach communities where the farmers are so that they can attend to them and many are unable to do so at times due to high cost of transportation.
“Infrastructural materials like computers, internet and smart phones are essential tools for them to function but many of them don’t have access to this, which is very unfortunate.
“There is need for continual capacity building for extension officers so that they can teach the farmers the right things and properly too. Extension officers need to be up to date and be well versed in the current trend of methods of farming and production so that they can teach the farmers correctly instead of being out of date. Then the Agricultural produce will be able to meet the international standards because of modern techniques and practices.
“Also, we have many organisations of Agriculture but there is need for proper Synergy among them so that each section can provide the right and unique requirements for proper growth and effectiveness of the Agricultural sector.
“Finally, the farmers also need to be properly educated. Many farmers need to be kept abreast of the current trend of things and also know how to use modern technology and materials like the internet to enhance their knowledge and improve the quality of their products,they need to be taught.
“The state and local governments need to come together to make sure that all these challenges are taken care of and the extension officers are well supported for the good of all and our Agricultural sector will be up to standard and highly productive.”