Prof. James Adediran, the Executive Director of Institute of Agricultural Research and Training, Ibadan, has appealed to governors in the South West Zone to boost the funding of the Agricultural Development Programmes.
He made the appeal on Tuesday at the 32nd South-West Zonal Workshop of Research Extension Farmers Input Linkage System held at IAR&T, Ibadan.
Adediran explained that doing this would help in actualising the goal of the ADPs to improve the economic well-being of resource-poor farmers.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the workshop had as its theme: “ Promoting Agribusiness and Strengthening Stakeholders’ Linkages in Adapting to Climate Change.’’
The institute’s boss expressed concern at the level of performance of most ADPs, saying it was below average due to insufficient funding by their state governments.
Adediran said food security and sufficiency could only be attained when the environment was sustained through effective and proper implementation of government policy supported by adequate funding.
He also urged the governors to factor into their annual budget funds for REFILS as a priority list to develop agriculture as well as reduce poverty in the South-West Zone and Nigeria at large.
Adediran noted that IAR&T had been partnering rural farmers, industries and the public to deliver improved and cost effective agricultural technologies inspite of the effects of global climate change.
He added: “We don’t only make quality seeds available to farmers at affordable prices and at the right time, we provide technical advice and support to them.
“In the last one year, series of on-farm trials were conducted and technologies have been disseminated through the ADPs in the six states in South-West Zone.’’
In his keynote address, a professor of Agricultural Economics, Adeduro Adegeye, said Nigeria should look beyond peasant production system for development to take place.
He said the immediate solution was in developing the agribusiness sector so as to have more investments in agriculture, more innovations, processing of raw materials, organised distribution and marketing system among others.
He said: “Except we go for well-meaning revolution in agriculture we may not be able to go beyond hoes and cutlasses in years to come.
“Through innovations at various levels, we can increase the farmers’ productivity while thinking about how to modernise agriculture to meet the demand for food and other raw materials for industries.”
Also speaking, Ogunwale Adeniyi, the South-West Regional Director in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, urged research institutes to come up with improved seeds, processing technologies, quality control measures and work closely with extension agents to disseminate research findings to farmers.
He said the workshop’s theme was important to the development of agricultural production in the country as well as in line with the green alternative initiative of the government.
Adeniyi noted that the ministry was involved in the construction of earth dams, rural feeder roads, water treatment plants and supply of irrigation facilities.
Earlier, the Zonal Coordinator, South-West REFILS, Dr Olukemi Lawal, said the theme was carefully chosen to meet the current issues in agribusiness such as credit facilitation, marketing and climate change.
Lawal said: “Farmers’ productivity is being hindered due to lack of accessibility to credit and output market; climate change has become major agricultural challenge of our time.
“The erratic rainfall, flooding and extreme temperature call for adaptation to reduce the effects of climate change.
“There is need to strengthen linkages among agricultural stakeholders if we want farmers to remain in business and produce for both local and international markets.”
The highlight of the occasion was the launch of the workshop’s proceedings and exhibition by NARIs, farmers’ organisations, input supply agencies and non-governmental organisations.