History of Agricultural Extension

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ALE, A.B (AEE/09/8837)



JUNE, 2010

The history of a particular subject, people, profession or any phenomenon provides a record of events which took place in the past to enable us to appreciate the status, strengths and weaknesses of the events which took place in the past. This serves as a guide to others so as not to fall into the pitfalls of predecessors. A lot of researchers have documented these in the past and they are given in their own words. A summary is then made from all the various accounts of how agricultural extension began in Nigeria. Before giving a coincise account of the evolution of Agricultural extension in Nigeria, and attempt is made to describe its origin in the world. History of Agricultural Extension in the World

The term extension was derived from the practice of British universities of having one educational programme within the premises of the university and another away from the university buildings. The programme conducted outside the university was described as ‘’extension education’’. The expression connoted an extension of knowledge from the university to places and people far beyond. The term ‘’Extension Education’’ was first introduced in 1873 by Cambridge University in England to describe a particular system dedicated to the dissemination of knowledge to rural people where they lived and worked. Within a short time, the idea had spread to other parts of Britain, Europe and North America. Extension work is an out of school system of education in which adults and young people learn by doing. It is a partnership between the government, the land-grant institutions, and the people, which provides services and education designed to meet the needs of the people (Kelsey and Hearne, 1966). The term ‘’Agricultural Extension’’ was only adopted in 1914 when the United States Federal Smith-Lever Act of 1914 formalized a nation wide cooperative federal-state-county programme and gave operational responsibility for this to the land grant colleges and Universities. In the beginning, agricultural extension was concerned primarily with the improvement of agriculture, using conventional teaching methods. As time went on, home economics, youth programmes and rural community resource development were included. Agricultural extension spread to tropical Africa, the Caribbean, Asia and Latin America following the involvement of the United States of America (USA) in bilateral AID programmes after the Second World War.

History of Agricultural Extension in Nigeria
The history of agricultural extension in Nigeria is interwoven with that of agricultural development in general. This is because Agricultural extension is concerned with all areas of agriculture. It is difficult to say precisely when Agricultural extension work began in Nigeria, this is because extension services did not start on the basis of educational information. However, to state the time depend on the concept of agricultural extension which is been used. The history could then be dated back to government intervention in agriculture production. The history of agricultural extension on this basis will then date back to 1803 when a department of botanical research was established near Olokemeji. In 1905, the British cotton growers association acquired a 4-mile square piece of land at Moore Plantation Ibadan for the production of cotton for the British textile industries, both projects failed to accomplish its objectives and had to be abandoned. If extension is defined from the perspective of educational services performed by an organization like ministry of Agriculture of ADP charged specifically to disseminate information to rural people then extension could be said to have started in 1910 with the establishment of the Department of Agriculture at Moore Plantation, Ibadan and...
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