The 20th Annual Conference of the Agricultural Extension Society of Nigeria (AESON) held from the 11th to 14th May, 2015 at the Ahmadu Bello University, Samaru Zaria
The theme of the conference was “Agricultural Extension and Sustainable Family Farming in Nigeria”. The conference brought together 250 scientists, agricultural practitioners, farmers and policy makers to deliberate on the theme of the conference. One hundred scientific and position papers were presented.
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The participants scientifically investigated all aspects of family farming in the areas of food security and livelihoods, policy formulation, women and youth participation in family farming development, dissemination and adoption of technologies for family farming.
The conference concluded that:
· Family farming is a concept in agricultural production that is being promoted globally
· Family farming provides cheap labour which leads to increased yield and higher income,
· Inputs distribution should be focused more on the farm families
· Family farm practice should therefore be revitalized and sustained by government’s policies on agriculture, and other local and international funding agencies.
Furthermore, the conference:
· Noted the giant strides recorded in the agricultural sector in the last two years by the federal government;
· Was proud that finally, the Federal Government has established a Department of Agricultural Extension at the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development;
· Observed that farm inputs now get to the farmers through the Growth Enhancement Scheme. This has grossly reduced the high level of corruption associated with input distribution in Nigeria
· Congratulates General MohammaduBuhari for winning the presidential election in Nigeria;
· Advices the in-coming Federal Government to continue with the Agricultural Transformation Agenda of the Federal Government;
· In particular, wishes that the Government of General MohammaduBuhari strengthens the new Department of Agricultural Extension in the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development;
· Requests the state governments to revitalize and fund adequately the Agricultural Development Programme (ADP)
· Advices that the State and Local Governments recruit and equip more Extension Agents to the ratio of 1 to 1000 Farmers, in order to achieve sustainable food production in Nigeria.
Finally, the Agricultural Extension Society of Nigeria believes in the ability and capacity of the country to be food secure in the shortest possible time without hindering the health of human and the environment.
In the face of dwindling prices of oil, agriculture becomes the obvious sector for income generation and youth employment. The Government should therefore, fund the agricultural sector to the tune of 26% of the annual budget as recommended by the Africa Union.
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