Digitization of Agricultural Extension System for Effective Management of Emergency in Nigeria
Digitization of Agricultural Extension System
AbstractFarmers, especially in Nigeria, face a range of interconnected risks and emergencies and need access to relevant information on agriculture in a timely, reliable, and effective way to manage them. The traditional practice of providing agricultural information depends largely on agricultural extension workers visiting farmers to provide advisory services. Due to the limited number of extension staff and other challenges, the delivery of agricultural extension services through the traditional farm and home visits has been ineffective. This paper presents challenges that the agricultural extension system in Nigeria faces most especially during crises and emergencies, which necessitate the adoption of digitizing extension systems as a basis for improving access of farmers to extension services during emergencies. The emergence of ICTs has given rise to digitization, which is the delivery of agricultural advice via text message to an interactive voice response. A recent study has shown that agricultural extension professionals in Nigeria understand the potential and usage of digital tools in Nigeria and are well-positioned to embrace its introduction. Therefore, the paper recommends that efforts should be made to digitize the country's extension system, capitalizing on existing enthusiasm among extension practitioners, farmers, and lessons of best practice from elsewhere.
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