A research report by a Non-Governmental Organisation, NGO, ActionAid Nigeria, has revealed that access of smallholder women farmers to extension services in Kwara is abysmally low.
The report was presented to stakeholders on Wednesday in Ilorin by the Centre for Community Empowerment and Poverty Eradication, CCEPE, a partner of the ActionAid.
Making the presentation, Abdulrahman Ayuba, a Senior Programme Officer, CCEPE in Kwara, rated the state poor in the provision of extension technical support services to farmers.
The presentation was titled: “Community Participatory Assessment of Government Expenditure on Agriculture/Community Score Cards on Smallholders Women Farmers Access to Extension Services.”
Mr Ayuba said the study, which was carried out by reputable agricultural researchers, revealed that less than 20 per cent of women farmers had access to available agricultural resources in the country.
According to him, the studies carried out in seven states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory showed that 67 per cent of the farmers were aware of extension services, but zero per cent of them could access it.
Mr Ayuba expressed worry that despite the fact that women made up to 70 per cent of agricultural labour in the country, they lacked requisite capacity building opportunities to significantly improve their productivity, incomes and quality of life.
The report which, he said, covered 2012 to 2016 revealed that there was no prevailing agricultural policy in the state.
The CCEPE official disclosed that the report recommended the enactment of an agricultural extension policy to guide and regulate the practice of agricultural extension and advisory services in Nigeria.
He said it also suggested that all state Agricultural Development Projects, ADPs, should urgently deploy the use of Information and Communication Technologies for increased extension services delivery.
“The report recommends significant improvement in the funding of public agricultural extension service by the state government.
“It also seeks a review of conditions of service of extension agents to make the service attractive, particularly among the youth,” Mr Ayuba said.
NAN reports that members of the Small-scale Women Farmers Organisation in Nigeria, SWOFON, state government officials and heads of Civil Society Organisations were all in attendance.