The Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa, AGRA recounted efforts made in implementing its mandate, which had reached over 11 million farmers.
The Country Director of AGRA, Rufus Idris, made the disclosure while receiving an award for AGRA contribution to development of agriculture extension services in Nigeria and Africa from Nigeria Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Abdullahi Sabi, at the just concluded Africa – Wide Agricultural Extension Week, AAEW, in Abuja .
He revealed that the beneficiaries were reached with new agriculture technologies through AGRA’s agriculture extension model called Community Based Advisory.
In his words: “We have been able to promote an agriculture model that has really worked, that is the community based advisory model which is mainly a model that is private sector driven and to ensure that farmers at the last mile get access to extension services.
“So far, a lot of community based advisors have been deployed out there to support and we have more than 11 million smallholder farmers that have now been reached through those avenues and now they have been able to access new technologies with other extension services as well.”
According to him, the Community Based Advisory model has been able to close the gap between extension agents to farmers from one extension agent to 5000 farmers to one extension agent to 500 farmers, and there are plans to further reduce it.
“It used to be one extension service agent to more than 5000 smallholder farmers, we have been able to close that to one extension agent to lower than 500 smallholder farmers and we are working harder to see how we can further close that gap.
“We are also trying to reduce the distance that farmers have to travel to access inputs. This I believe we have recorded significant achievements as well. We have reduced farmers having to travel more than 20km to access input, it has now been reduced to less than 10km for them to access inputs, we are still working to further reduce that as well,” Idris noted.
He further stated that AGRA has been able to promote an agriculture model that has really worked, noting that AGRA 3.0 strategy which was intended to scale up some of the works done and make more impact at a larger scale
Reacting to the award received, Idris said it is a recognition of the work that has been done for several decades in Africa, including promoting innovative extension services, closing the distance between smallholder farmers and access to extension services.
He noted that their programs were also to ensure that farmers get access to innovative extension services that are not just public sector driven but more of private sector collaboration as well that ensure sustainability in that particular process.
“This means a lot, and it is also a call to do more because we still have a lot more farmers in Nigeria and Africa that are still struggling to access the right kind of extension services, so we are still working more”, he added.