The President of Sasakawa Africa Association, Dr Makoto Kitanaka, has called for greater attention to extension and advisory services as a sustainable pathway to agricultural transformation in the continent.
The SAA president made the call at the 6th Africa-wide Agricultural Extension Week while addressing a global audience of agricultural extension professionals in Africa.
Dr Kitanaka described the theme of the extension week, “Harnessing Agricultural Extension and Advisory Services in Scaling Regenerative Agriculture and Nature Based Solutions for Food System Transformation in Africa”, as not only timely but also imperative.
Recognising that across the globe, efforts from research organizations have the potential to amplify food production, Dr Kitanaka noted that there was, however, a gap regarding the dissemination of innovations in the sector.
He noted that SAA had dedicated 37 years to enhancing agricultural extension services across 17 nations.
He said, “We have supported farming communities to more than double their yields and improve incomes, food and nutrition security. Our renewed focus on regenerative agriculture as the core of our intervention ensures that we are not only addressing productivity puzzles but also enhancing soil health and mitigating the impact of climate change.”
Dr Kitanaka said that merely developing a groundbreaking technology isn’t the finish line.
“Its real success lies in its effective dissemination to our farmers, which ensures adoption, and this is where an efficient and dynamic extension system comes into play,” he added.
He commended the African Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services for championing the cause of agricultural extension across Africa through initiatives such as Extension Week and establishing focal points across countries.
Nigeria’s Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Security, Mr Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, while presenting an award of excellence to SAA, commended the organisation for its efforts in transforming the extension system in Nigeria.
The minister called for a demand-driven agricultural research approach that responds to the needs of farmers, stressing that the government of Nigeria wants to make a significant change in agriculture.