Agricultural experts have called on the government at all levels in the country to support Agricultural Development Programmes (ADPs) in order to boost agricultural production.
The call was contained in a communique issued at the end of the Steering Committee meeting of the South West (SW) Zone Research Extension Farmers Input Linkage Systems (REFILS) which was attended by 44 participants from the ADPs of Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun, Osun and Oyo states; National Agricultural Research Institute (NARIs) such as NIHORT; NAERLS and IAR&T; as well as FADAMA Osun state and AFAN. T
The meeting which held at the Osun State Agricultural Development Programme (OSSADEP) headquarters in Iwo, Osun State was officially opened by the Osun State Honourable Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Security, Hon. Adedayo Adewole.
The SC meeting, co-sponsored by Institute of Agricultural Research & Training (IAR&T, the coordinating research institute for REFILS) and OSSADEP, was hosted by OSSADEP under the leadership of the Programme Manager, Mrs Adegbemisola Fayoyin.
At the meeting, REFILS leaders from across the South West (SW) shared knowledge on how to tap the enormous potential of extension services to drive sustainable agricultural development in the region.
Participants called for a paradigm shift from petroleum to agriculture, regional collaboration among the South West states and the commitment of the state governors to agricultural growth and development. Hon. Adewole urged that the REFILS family in the region should lay emphasis on success stories championed by ADPs in SW states.
According to the communique, participants acknowledged that REFILS has been able to disseminate proven and adoptable technologies which have greatly improved the livelihoods of farmers and their families over the years. They however regretted that their activities have been hampered by poor funding, poor staff strength, inadequate mobility facilities and establishment of parallel agencies usurping roles of ADPs.
They noted that the relegation of REFILS to the background has hampered the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals as it relates to agricultural sector.
Experts at the meeting then urged the governments of South West states to take ownership of REFILS at the zonal level and support ADP activities. They also sought the support of the government for ADPs in sensitising stakeholders on the use of farmers’ helpline through TV, radio and other extension activities.