An agricultural Extention Professor at the Rivers State University, Professor George Nwimene Emah, has tasked the Federal government of Nigeria to increase its funding in the Agricultural sector in other to better improve food production in the country and also enhance the services of agricultural extension in the country.
Prof. Nwimene who made this known while delivering an inaugural lecture at the 58th Inaugural lecture of the Rivers State University, Nkpolu-Oroworuko, Port Harcourt, identified poor funding and inefficient policies of government as the remote causes of the ineffectiveness of extension services in the country.
According to him, Extension is part of Agriculture and with adequate funds and good policies, definitely, extension and agriculture will grow in this country.
“Not actually planning, without implementation. The basic thing should be legislation, the highest level of legislation from both the House of Representative and the Senate. If they do that and they pass it into law, policies of Agriculture will become stronger and effective, but right now, the government itself are not doing well”
Speaking on a topic, ‘Challenges of Effective Agricultural Extension Service Delivery in Nigeria’, the Prof.stressed that, previous intervention programs of government in the country failed woefully despite their good intentions, a situation he attributed to, poor planning, lack of continuity, corruption, as well as hijack of such programs’ benefits by officials of government.
He maintained that Until government allows agriculture extension service to be part of the planning and implementation of state and national agriculture programs, the success of extension services in Nigeria will remain a mirage for years to come.
In addressing the challenges at hand, the Agriculturist recommended other things; an involvement of relevant stakeholders in planning and implementation of all local, State and Federal government agricultural development programs in other to avoid the usual top-bottom approach to planning, as well as provision of those logistics that will encourage a smooth working condition for extension agents and the farmers.
The scholar urged the government to take adequate steps towards Agricultural extension workers in the country in other to increase food production and sufficiency.
He acknowledged the role of stakeholders in complementing the efforts of government in improving agriculture for the benefit of all citizens.
“Like as I said, government don’t need to be told that extension of Agriculture is very essential because it is Agriculture that provides the food in Nigeria that we eat, not any other thing.
If you are an Engineer, a Lawyer, if there is no food, you can’t survive, so they should provide money and policy that can sustain Agriculture.
“Like you can see, we were talking about extension farmer ratio where one extension worker is expected to cover about five thousand people, it is not possible. Meaning that, in a whole village of over five hundred people, only one extension worker is available.
“The stakeholders have a meagre role to play because if the money is there, and they are functioning properly, definitely, extension workers will be able to extend vital information to farmers.
In another development, the Vice Chancellor of the Rivers State University, Professor Blessing Didia commended professor Nwimene for the informative and insightful lecture.