Agrotechnology: Expert insists on improved extension services to local farmers

An agriculture expert, Mr Akin Alabi, has called for improved extension services to educate local farmers on the adoption of modern agriculture technology to boost productivity.

Alabi, the co-founder of Corporate Farmers International, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Lagos.

The expert said the dearth of extension service agents had limited the growth of local farmers and their adoption of modern farming techniques.

“To get modern technology innovations across to local farmers, we must improve our extension services.

“Local farmers are basically in the hinterlands, it is only the extension agents that can take the information from the private sector, government or investors and educate them.

“They will teach the farmers how to adopt and implement modern technology into what they are doing.

“We need to rely more and invest more in extension service roles across the value chain; they are the middlemen that will bring the farmers up to date.

“This is the only way what we are doing in terms of modern agriculture innovations can get closer to the local farmers,” Alabi said.

He also called for youth inclusion in boosting extension services across the country by training them to fit into the value chain.

“Boosting extension services in Nigeria is not just about funding alone but orientation.

“We have a large number of youths who studied agriculture but are struggling to find a value chain where they can actually play their roles.

“Let us start by training them to become extension agents as we currently have dearth of the service in the country.

“We have a large number of youths that are ready to go into agriculture; but they have a lot of questions on where they can fit in. What roles can they actually play?

“They do not have to till the ground or be involved in cultivation or the dirty part of agriculture if they do not want to.

“Youths need to get the requisite knowledge of extension services and then transfer the knowledge to the local farmers who are based in the villages and things will be easy for everybody,” Alabi said. (NAN)

•PHOTO: Mr Akin Alabi