The Vice-Chancellor (VC), Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB) Professor Kolawole Salako, has described agricultural extension services as the key to agricultural development in Nigeria.
Represented by Dean of college of Biological Sciences (COLBIOS), Professor Oluseyi Akinloye, the VC said agricultural extension which is geared towards extension delivery in all aspects of sustainable agriculture and rural development, would bring about food security, poverty reduction, rural empowerment and environment management.
He stated this during the opening of the extension orientation workshop for University Academic Staff and Agricultural Development Staff in South West, Nigeria, organized by the Agricultural Media Resources and Extension Centre (AMREC).
AMREC was created in November 1991 with the sole aim of strengthening client capacity in utilizing innovative approaches through participatory research, training and skills development.
Professor Kolawole expressed dissatisfaction at the existing weak link between research and extension, adding that, agricultural extension has been kept in a struggling position to prove its relevance and importance to sustainable agricultural development globally.
Speaking further, he said, agricultural research and extension institutions can help bring increased production, adding that institutions cannot operate in a vacuum, irrespective of how good they may be.
He suggested government commitment to agriculture, research, extension, and good working relationship between research and extension organizations as prerequisites for smooth operation.
In a related report, the UN High-Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) has noted that national research and extension systems need full attention and investments from governments and donor communities.
This sentiment is also mirrored by the Food and Agricultural Organization which stated that research and extension systems play a vital role in agricultural and rural development, and they are central to realizing the potentials of agricultural innovation.