For a Safer Earth, Healthier Climate

Group Tasks FG On Prioritizing Extension, Advisory Services

By Ruth Tene Natsa, Abuja

The President of Sasakawa Africa Association, Dr Makoto Kitanaka has called on the Nigerian government to give greater attention to extension and advisory services as a sustainable pathway to agricultural transformation on the continent.

Speaking while addressing a global audience of agricultural extension professionals in Africa, the SAA president spoke at the 6th Africa-wide Agricultural Extension Week which opened on Monday and will end on Saturday in Abuja Nigeria.

Dr Makoto described the theme of the extension week, “Harnessing Agricultural Extension & Advisory Services in Scaling Regenerative Agriculture and Nature Based Solutions for Food System Transformation in Africa”, as not only timely but also imperative.

Dr Kitanaka stated that “Recognizing that across the globe, efforts from research organizations have the potential to amplify food production; but however noted, a gap regarding the dissemination of innovations in the sector.

He noted that SAA had dedicated 37 years to enhancing agricultural extension services across 17 nations.

“We have supported farming communities to more than double their yields and improve incomes, food and nutrition security. Our renewed focus on regenerative agriculture as the core of our intervention ensures that we are not only addressing productivity puzzles but also enhancing soil health and mitigating the impact of climate change,” he explained.

Dr Kitanaka said that merely developing a groundbreaking technology isn’t the finish line.

“Its real success lies in its effective dissemination to our farmers, which ensures adoption, and this is where an efficient and dynamic extension system comes into play,” he added.

He commended the African Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services (AFAAS) for championing the cause of agricultural extension across Africa through initiatives such as Extension Week and establishing focal points across countries.

Mr Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, Nigeria’s Minister of State for Agriculture & Food Security, while presenting an award of excellence to SAA, commended the organization for its efforts in transforming the extension system in Nigeria.

The minister called for a demand-driven agricultural research approach that responds to the needs of farmers, stressing that the government of Nigeria wants to make a significant change in agriculture.

Emphasizing the need for extension, Mr Abdullahi said the government would prioritize advisory services, adding that the success of agricultural investment depends on the quality of extension services.

Top officials of SAA including the Strategic Partnership Director, Dr Mel Oluoch; Ethiopia Country Director, Dr Fentahun Mengistu; and Nigeria Country Director, Dr Godwin Atser are attending the Extension Week.

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