The University’s Agricultural Media Resources and Extension Centre (AMREC), is re-designing an effective strategy of bridging the gap between research and extension activities toward revitalising the nation’s agricultural fortune. This effort became a reality during the Stakeholders’ Forum themed, “Bridging the Gap between Research and Extension”.
The Stakeholders’ Forum was attended by agricultural researchers, extension personnel, farmers, input suppliers, processors and marketers in the South-West geo-political zone of the country. Declaring the programme open, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Olusola Oyewole, represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Professor Adekojo Waheed, applauded the Federal Government’s initiative at shifting focus from the oil sector to agriculture, because of the dwindling global oil price.
The Vice-Chancellor enjoined stakeholders in agriculture to effectively collaborate in providing the needed support for the government’s initiative at moving agricultural production from the subsistence to a sustainable enterprise level. He also opined that the only way to achieve the new initiative on agricultural development was through the review and implementation of holistic agricultural policies such as agricultural enterprises, value chain and cluster development for commodities, as well as institutional framework and support for agri-business investment.
The Director of AMREC, Professor Victor Olowe, observed that the current gap between researchers and extension personnel, if not curtailed, would keep farmers perpetually impoverished and ultimately pose serious threat to national food sufficiency. Delivering the Keynote Address, the Director of Grants Management, Professor Kolawole Adebayo, berated the neglect of extension, which used to make research information readily available to end-users by advocating for the adoption of an inclusive farmers-researchers’ and extensionists relationship that would foster demand driven and problem-solving research efforts.
Professor Adebayo frowned at the high rate of corruption in the nation’s agricultural sector, making a case for a better funding for the nation’s Universities of Agriculture in order to attain appropriate capital development in agriculture while soliciting for the scaling-down of national policies on agriculture, to specific ecological zones’ requirement. Several stakeholders at the forum spoke on the need for farm mechanisation, input and financial assistance, as well as agricultural insurance and re-appraisal of the extension and agent-farmer ratio.
Similarly, the Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Unit of AMREC has organised a workshop on Monitoring and Evaluation in Agriculture and Rural Development, to empower farmers in tracing and documenting the results of development and intervention in modern agricultural practice. Speaking during the flag-off of the training programme, the Director of AMREC, Professor Victor Olowe, who was represented by the Programme Leader, Gender Issues and Youth Development of the Centre, Dr. Olufunmilayo Oluwalana, enjoined participants at the workshop to make planning and evaluation a regular practice in order to achieve full re-vitalisation of agriculture. The Director expressed optimism that proper monitoring and evaluation of agricultural projects would enable the country retrace its steps towards the path of greatness, especially in the face of dwindling fortune in the oil sector.
He lamented the shortage of adequate skilled personnel among extension service professionals on the subject of Monitoring and Evaluation, which had necessitated the quest by AMREC to organise the workshop to equip members of staff of the various research and extension outfits to effectively manage results and outputs of agricultural projects through measurement and assessment of performance in relation to the set objectives.
Earlier, the Acting Programme Leader of the Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Unit of AMREC, Mrs. Tayo Adebayo, said the workshop was organised to identify the best practices, as well as develop tools and guidelines for effective monitoring and evaluation in agriculture and rural development. Participants were drawn from the Ogun State Government, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ogun-Oshun River Basin Development Authority, the Ogun State Agricultural Development Programme, as well as staff of Research and Extension-related arms of the University.