The Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission, NUC, Abubakar Rasheed, has said that six universities have adopted the Sasakawa Fund for Agricultural Extension Education, SAFE, initiative to ease the method of farming in the country.
The official who was represented by Rahmon Yusuf, Director of Research, Information and Technology of the commission said this at a stakeholders workshop with Vice Chancellors of Specialised Universities of Agriculture in Abuja on Wednesday.
The theme of the workshop is tagged ” Sasakawa Fund for Agricultural Extension Education, Adoption and Sustainability in Nigerian Universities.”
He said the institutions running the programmes are the Ahmadu Bello university, Zaria; Bayero University Kano; University of Ilorin; Usman Danfodiyo University Sokoto; Federal University Dutse and Adamawa University Mubi.
The official said agricultural extension education, which is an informal way of teaching farmers modern techniques in farming is vital.
According to him, SAFE has been committed to its mandate in ensuring the implementation of global competitiveness.
“SAFE as so far diffused the concept into nine African countries- Ghana, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda, Burkina Faso, Benin republic, Malawi and Nigeria.
“In line with its foremost development mantra to make African agriculture higher education fully involved and committed to the agriculture and rural development process, it has continued this innovation programmes through the initiative”, he said
He also said that there was need to constantly review the curriculum and teaching methodology which would in turn translates research to the small scale farming communities.
“SAFE has in consultation with relevant stakeholders developed curriculum on agricultural extension education and has introduced the program to some tertiary institutions in Africa”, he said.
He said the commission is in the process of embarking on ”holistic study of university system for better service delivery.”
Similarly, Ruth Oniang’o, the board chairman of SAFE commended Nigeria for adopting the programme while calling on other universities to come on board.
“Africa Continent cannot be hungry because we are the best prople on earth and hence the need for the SAFE model”, she said.
Mrs. Oniang said there was need for Nigeria to shift attention from oil and focus more on agriculture that would yield the country’s revenue.
“The continent will move forward if Nigeria takes her place in Africa”, she said.
The SAFE was established in 1991 by the board of Sasakawa Africa Association to strengthen Africa’s dwindling agricultural extension institutions for effective extension delivery based on farmers yields and demands.