The National Organising Committee of the 2023 Africa-wide Agricultural Extension Week met with the Committee head, the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Dr Ernest A. Umakhihe, on Wednesday 10th May 2023 at the FMARD headquarter in Abuja. Although the meeting was its third, after the inauguration in November 2022, it was the first with the Permanent Secretary physically in attendance. It was a meeting of all stakeholders, which was held as a hybrid, with some of the members participating virtually, via Zoom App.
The PS in his Opening Remarks, stated that the Federal Ministry is fully ready and prepared to host the rest of Africa. Part of his speech read:
“I would like to seize this golden opportunity to assure you all, on behalf of the Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Dr. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar, that Nigeria is ready to host the conference successfully come November 2023. I am glad to inform you that, already the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) has approved the Forum’s financial contribution in the 2023 budget.
“I am also aware that the African Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services (AFAAS) is a Continental body that brings National Agricultural Extension and Advisory Services (AEAS) stakeholders in Africa under one umbrella. I am also aware that AFAAS organizes this kind of meeting bi-annually through the Host Countries and Institutions that expresses interest in the collaboration with the respective Country Fora (CFs).
“It should be noted that the Africa Wide Agricultural Extension Week (AAEW) is an international event that brings together Agricultural Extension and Advisory Services (AEAS) stakeholders and other value chain actors across Africa and globally to deliberate on selected strategic and topical subjects on AEAS for sustainable development in Africa. Fundamentally, the AAEW is to facilitate processes for improving access to and use of knowledge, technologies and innovations by agricultural value chain actors to achieve their individual, national and global development goals.
“Accordingly, this meeting has therefore become very important as this will be the first time the National Organizing Committee (NoC) members, stakeholders, AFAAS, NIFAAS, and the Ministry are coming together under the same roof to plan the hosting of this meeting. This is apart from the meeting of AFAAS, Nigerian Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services (NIFAAS) and the National Organizing Committee (NoC) Technical Team which prepared the grounds for input from the NoC and State Actors. FMARD and the other relevant stakeholders have critically reviewed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for final signature.
“Permit me distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen to inform you that NIFAAS Executive Officers have been in constant touch with my office updating me of the activities of the Forum, through the office of the Director, Agricultural Extension Services on the journey so far. I am aware that the first call for submission of Technical presentation is out in 2 Languages, namely English and French are currently out to the public.
“Permit me at this juncture to assure the Executive Director of AFAAS and Mr Max Olupot, AFAAS Director of Programs in particular, that the African Agricultural Extension week (AAEW) coming up in November 2023 will be organized to the envy of all partners in this Forum and would want to implore the organizers that they should feel free to invite all the African member countries and other stakeholders to Nigeria to participate in the week long activities in November, 2023.
The meeting was also attended by the NOC Co-Chair, Max Olupot of the African Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services (AFAAS) and the leadership of NIFAAS, as well as the leadership of the Federal Department of Agricultural Extension (FDAE) and the Legal Department of FMARD. Also present were two members of AFAAS Board of Directors, Professor Tunji Arokoyo and Dr Mercy Akeredolu.