By Akanimo Sampson
As part of its capacity strengthening activities in Nigeria under the Feed the Future Nigeria Agricultural Policy Project, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) has further supported Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) in its move to coordinate the development of an extension policy for the country.
IFPRI provides research-based policy solutions to sustainably reduce poverty and end hunger and malnutrition in developing countries. Established in 1975, IFPRI currently has more than 600 employees working in over 50 countries. It is a research center of CGIAR, a worldwide partnership engaged in agricultural research for development.
Last May, precisely from 14-24, IFPRI’s Senior Research Fellow and Head of Capacity Strengthening Dr Suresh Babu, worked closely with the ministry’s Department of Agricultural Extension (FDAE) in Abuja and the Niger State Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources on the following areas:
* Workshop on Extension Policy implementation for ministry staff that included the Departments of Agricultural Extension, and Planning and Policy Coordination held in Abuja May14, 2019.
* A seminar for Directors from the federal ministry in Niger, the Agricultural Development Programme and the state’s Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources on May 15.
* A workshop for key stakeholders on Extension Policy Implementation in Niger with participants from various organisations along the value chain including research institutions, farmers’ organisations, processors, policy makers, extension agents etc.
* A consultative meeting with directors from Niger to finalise the Extension implementation plan for state, and a presentation to the Permanent Secretary and all the directors of the federal ministry of the pilot implementation plan for the National Agricultural Extension Policy.
Director of Extension at the ministry, Mrs. Karima Babangida, in expressing her thanks stated that ‘’through these activities, the Department has been able to sensitise the key stakeholders on the policy objectives, shared information with the various public and private organizations intervening in extension system and consulted with a variety of stakeholders on implementation design. This process was inclusive, and will no doubt promote ownership of the policy and its implementation.’’
Continuing, she said the ministry was confident that it could now carry out an extensive mapping of the various actors and their activities in Niger State with a view to identifying the gaps that require attention and, to finalise the implementation design for Niger State.
Since 2018, IFPRI has been working with the federal ministry on building its institutional capacity to develop of the Extension Policy for Nigeria with previously organised workshops in February and May 2018 held in Abuja and Zaria, Kaduna State respectively.
These have been part of the capacity-strengthening activities of the Feed the Future Nigeria Agricultural Policy Project which is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID/Nigeria) and jointly implemented by Michigan State University and IFPRI’s Nigeria Strategy Support Programme.