THE ROLE OF EXTENSION IN AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT
Department of Agricultural Extension, University of Nigeria, Nsukka
Agriculture is the science of cultivating crops and rearing animals for the benefit of man and also includes other processes such as processing, storage and marketing of agricultural produce. The agricultural sector is essential in the economic development and poverty alleviation drive of many sectors. The importance of this sector is more pronounced in developing countries, like Nigeria, where it is one of the main thrust of national development. In order to facilitate the development of the agricultural sector, agricultural extension service is a sine qua non. Agbamu (2005) defined extension as a comprehensive programme of services deliberately put in place for expanding, strengthening and empowering the capacity of the present and prospective farmers, farm families, other rural economic operators (processors, marketers, rural agro-industrialists, farm managers, farm labour force) farm associations and communities entrepreneurial, managerial and communication skills that are needed to succeed in farming and farm related occupations, through participatory stakeholdership with researchers, policy makers, educators, agro-investors and farmers themselves so as to put in place programmes in favour of improved agricultural programmes and farm investment environment. It is thus a farmer-centred programme aimed at building agriculture through the building of farmers. Obviously, extension programmes and projects as well as extension agents are aimed at developing the agricultural sector. Agricultural development is the process of increasing agricultural productivity with the resultant increase in the income and standard of living of farm families. Agricultural development goes beyond increasing agricultural productivity to embrace other issues such as improved livelihood, social networks, economic activities, agricultural...
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