A professor of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Olusegun Apantaku, has called for farmers’ involvement in agricultural research and extension.
This, he noted, would enhance agricultural productivity and national development.
Apantaku made this call while delivering the 57th inaugural lecture of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, titled, ‘The downplayed majority in Agric Extension: Imperatives for enhanced productivity.’
Apantaku, in a press release signed by the University’s Head of Public Relations, Dr. Linda Ogugua-Onwuka, said farmers should be involved in participatory agricultural research.
He described participatory agricultural research a “research approach in which farmers are allowed to take part actively as partners from conception, problem identification and prioritisation, to evaluation and technology design and production.”
The don stressed that agriculture was crucial to the mainstay of the economic development of most third world countries.
He added that research on the causes of development and underdevelopment had identified agriculture as the key to the economic emancipation of ailing states.
Apantaku also lamented that a country like Nigeria, which had a larger percentage of its population engaged in agriculture, had not given adequate attention to agriculture and rural development, yet the sector accounted for a significant proportion of her Gross Domestic Product.
He said that agriculture had been estimated to be the highest contributor to non-oil foreign exchange earnings, noting that the agricultural sector grew at 3.68 per cent and contributed 20.89 per cent to the GDP of the country in the second quarter of 2014, while crude petroleum and natural gas sector grew at 5.14 per cent and contributed 10.76 per cent to the GDP at the same period.
Apantaku pointed out that the contribution of agriculture to the national economy was still far below its potential and expectation, stressing that participatory agricultural research and extension would lead to real agricultural and farmers’ development.
The inaugural lecturer noted that for agriculture to get to its expected status and make an impact there should be enhanced productivity, increased income and a higher standard of living in a demand-driven economy for national development.
He, therefore, recommended that Nigerians must do everything possible to ensure responsive and responsible nepotism-free and incorruptible governance at all levels.
He called for the institutionalisation of a participatory agricultural research process, an institutionalisation of Participatory Agricultural Extension process, funding of Participatory Agricultural Research and Extension process, and sourcing for funds for extension service locally.
Earlier in his introductory remarks, the Vice-Chancellor of FUNAAB, Prof. Kolawole Salako, had stated that the 57th inaugural lecture was the third from the Department of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development, the sixth from the College of Agricultural Management and Rural Development and the fourth that he would be presiding over as the institution’s VC.
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