Agricultural stakeholders have called on the government to leverage the REFILS strategy in order to create innovative platforms for agro-commodities to thrive in the local & global markets.
REFILS which stands for Research Extension-Farmers-Input Linkage System is a veritable extension instrument for effective technology transfer by linking research to policy and development in Nigeria’s agro-industry.
The submission was made at a seminar organized by the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), which held at the Institute’s training hall in Ibadan, Oyo State.
Themed “Effectiveness of Research Extension-Farmers-Input Linkage System on Maize Production in Nigeria”, the seminar took a holistic look at the needful impact of extension and research in the grain sub-sector, most notably, maize.
In her introductory remarks, IAR&T Director, Prof. Veronica Obatolu admonished policymakers and implementors in Nigeria, particularly the South-West Governors, to improve on the funding of agricultural extension programmes, as well as research efforts by various institutes.
The director emphasized that extension services were necessary for maize farmers to increase productivity, as the same approach was been effected by policymakers in the Northern region of the country.
Speaking also in his presentation, Head of the Public Relations Unit, IAR&T, Dr. Adeniyi Amusat, noted that maize production was germane to Nigeria’s food security drive, adding that its comparative advantage places it as one of the top agro-commodities capable of opening up streams of revenue.
According to him, effective linkages among researchers, extension agents, agro-dealers, and farmers resulted in the high potency of REFILS among maize farmers.
Amusat implored the government to increase budgetary allocation to agricultural research and extension, while also encouraging partnership between the private and public sectors in this regard.
He further stated that there was need for the recruitment of more extension agents in the South-West, where majority of them were on the verge of retirement.
Farmers, on the stakeholders part, should also be largely involved in the formulation of policies and pre-workshop meetings, so as to play an active role in upscaling the grain sub-sector in the region.
The event had in attendance professors and dons of key institutions, research scientists, farmers and agricultural stakeholders from across Nigeria.