Nigerian agriculture continues to be an important contributor to the national economic growth. This contribution crucially depends on the productivity growth in the agriculture sector. The total factor productivity of Nigerian agriculture in turn depends on the innovation based knowledge famers have and apply in their crop, livestock, and fisheries production activities. Yet, the major source of knowledge and its delivery namely the public extension system has been facing institutional and capacity challenges in the past. There has been increased call for reforming the extension system in developing countries in the last 10 years and countries such as Brazil, China, and India have moved ahead with such reforms. In Nigeria, there is a similar need to design and implement the extension policy and system reforms to achieve the expected productivity growth envisioned both in the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) and more recently with the Agriculture Promotion Policy (APP).
Against this background, on 20 and 21 February 2018, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) facilitated a training workshop with the theme “Planning, Design and Implementation of Extension Policy Reforms” in Abuja. The 29 participants (21 males, 8 females) at the training workshop included key policy makers and implementers including, but not limited to, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture (FMARD), the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN) and other relevant organizations at the federal level who are responsible for designing and implementing extension system and policy reforms in Nigeria.
The aim of the training workshop was to develop national and state level capacity for designing and implementing policy reforms in the country’s extension and rural advisory services. The training workshop focused on analytical frameworks for effective policy change, planning and implementation such as the Kaleidoscope Model developed by IFPRI researchers. The two-day training workshop was led by Dr. Suresh Babu, Senior Research Fellow & Head of IFPRI’s Capacity Strengthening Unit in Washington DC, with opening remarks delivered by Mrs. Kamira Babangida, FMARD’s Director of Agricultural Extension, and Dr. George Mavrotas, Head of IFPRI’s Abuja Office. Also present at the workshop was the Chairman of the Eighth Senate’s Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Distinguished Senator, Dr. Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi.
This training workshop was part of the activities of the third year of the Feed the Future Nigeria Agricultural Policy Project. The project is jointly implemented by IFPRI’s Nigeria Strategy Support Program and Michigan State University with generous funding from the United States Agency for International Development.