Poverty is one of the global phenomena that has left the level of food insecurity in developing countries at alarming proportions. Overwhelmingly, the majority of people living on less than $1.25 a day reside in two regions—Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa—and they account for about 80 percent of the global total of extremely poor people (United Nations, 2015). Although the decline of poverty has accelerated in the past decade, the region continues to lag behind. Nearly 60 percent of the world’s one billion extremely poor people live in just five countries: India, Nigeria, China, Bangladesh and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (United Nations, 2015).
Although Nigeria, a country in sub-Saharan Africa is blessed with abundant agro-ecological resources and diversity, it is also one of the largest food importers in sub-Saharan Africa (Idachaba, 2009). According to the World Bank (2014), Nigeria has one of the world’s highest economic growth rates, averaging 7.4% but with 2010 poverty estimates still significant at 82.2% using the poverty headcount ratio at $2 a day.
In order to deal with the problems of poverty and food security, the Federal Government of Nigeria has taken several extension initiatives over the years to attain food security. Extension as a service has been described as the process of enabling change in individuals, communities and industries involved in the primary industry sector and in natural resource management (State Extension Leaders Network (SELN), 2006). Agricultural extension is the entire set of organisations that support and facilitate people engaged in agricultural production to solve problems and to obtain information, skills, and technologies to improve their livelihoods and well-being (Birner et al., 2009). This can include different governmental agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), producer organisations and other farmer organisations, and private sector actors including input suppliers, purchasers of agricultural products, training organisations, and media groups (Neuchâtel Group, 1999).
Extension services are among the most important agricultural services in developing countries (Faye & Deininger, 2005). Investment in extension services is among the largest in the agricultural sector. Returns to agricultural extension in many cases exceed returns to agricultural research. Review of the social rate of returns to research and extension from 95 developing countries showed that the returns on agricultural extension were 80%, and 50% for research (Alston and Pardey. 2000). Dercon, Gilligan, Hoddinott and Woldehanna in 2008, shows that one agricultural extension visit reduced poverty by 9.8% and increased consumption growth by 7.1% in Ethiopia.
How extension services are delivered (including individual or group-based approaches, conventional extension, or farmer field schools) shows that public extension visits are a key medium for delivering information and knowledge to farmers (World Bank and IFPRI 2010). This does not, however, mean that private-sector NGOs and community-based extension service providers are not playing a role in technology dissemination and extension in many contexts. Extension services are a range of information, advice, training, and knowledge related to agriculture or livestock production, processing, and marketing. This service can be provided by governments or by a private organisation with the intent to increase farmers’ ability to improve their productivity and income. Extension services may be delivered in the form of individual or group visits, organised meetings, use of information and communication technologies (ICTs), or teaching through the use of demonstration plots, model farms, or farmer field schools (FFSs) (Birner et al. 2009).
Extension services in Nigeria have been expressed in a number of agricultural interventions targeted at poverty alleviation and food safety. Some of these interventions include: National Accelerated Food Production Programme (NAFPP-1972), Agricultural Development Projects (ADP-1974), Operation Feed the Nation (OFN-1976), River Basin Development Authorities (RBDAs-1976), Green Revolution (GR-1980), Directorate for Food Roads and Rural Infrastructure (DFRRI-1986), Better Life Programme (BLP-1987), National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA-1992), Family Support Programme (FSP)/ Family Economic Advancement Programme (FSP- 1994/FEAP-1996), National Fadama Development Project (NFDP I-1993), National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS-1999), National, Special Programme on Food Security (NSPFS-2002), Root and Tuber Expansion Programme (RTEP-2003) (Iwuchukwu and Igbokwe, 2012), National Fadama Development Project (FADAMA II-2005) (Nwalieji and Ajayi, 2008). National Fadama Development Project (FADAMA III-2008) (Dimelu, Emodi, and Okeke, 2014).
The National Fadama Development Project (NFDP) was established to ensure all year round production of crops in all the states of the federation through the exploitation of shallow aquifers and surface water potentials in each state using tube well, wash bore and petrol – driven pumps technology. There are claims that the project was successful both nationally and international (Blench and Ingawa, 2004). Bature, Sanni & Adebayo (2013) however questions this success.
According to Baba and Singh (1998), fadama lands have high potentials and agricultural values several times more than the adjacent upland. Fadama development is a typical form of small-scale practice characterised by the flexibility of farming operations, low inputs requirement, high economic values, and minimal social and environmental impact. Hence it conforms to the general criteria for sustainable development (Akinbile, Ashimolowo and Oladoja, 2006). The NFDP (Fadama) is widely being implemented in all the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), which have been categorised into the core states and the facility states. The core states include Bauchi, Gombe, Jigawa, Kano, Kebbi, Zamfara and Sokoto, while the remaining states and the FCT constitute the facility states (Baba and Singh, 1998). The main objective of the programme was to build on the achievements of the agricultural development projects (ADPs) (Mohan, 2002) and sustainably increase the incomes of fadama users. By increasing their incomes, the project would help reduce rural poverty, increase food security and contribute to the achievement of a key millennium development goal, food security. The programme also hoped to sustain the increase of incomes of fadama resource users by directly delivering resources to the beneficiary rural communities, efficiently and effectively, and empowering them to collectively decide on how resources are allocated and managed for their livelihood activities and to participate in the design and execution of their sub projects. The fadama projects were implemented in three phases. The Fadama I and II have been evaluated and the findings lead to design and implementation of Fadama III.
The Fadama 1 project, which was the first phase of the project focused on supplementary water supply for irrigation and other uses. According to Agbarevo and Okwoche (2014), the objectives of the Fadama1 project include: construction of about 50,000 shallow tube wells in fadama land for small-scale irrigation; simplifying drilling technology for shallow tube wells; construction of fadama infrastructure such as roads, culverts, storage sheds, etc.; organization of fadama farmers for irrigation management, cost recovery and easy management of credit, marketing products, etc.; carrying out aquifer studies; monitoring and upgrading of irrigation technologies; and completion of environmental assessment of future fadama development activities.
Fadama I focused mainly on production but largely neglected downstream activities such as processing, preservation and conservation and rural infrastructure to ensure the efficient evacuation of farm output to markets (African Development Fund, (ADF) 2003). In addition, the project did not take into consideration other resource uses such as those for livestock and fisheries production. This resulted not only in increased conflicts between the users but also restricted benefits to only those accruing from crop production.
The Fadama II was a follow-up to the successful implementation of the National Fadama Development Project (Fadama I) over 1993-1999, with support from the World Bank. Following the widespread adoption of simple and low-cost improved irrigation technologies, farmers realised income increases from various crops of up to 65% for vegetables, 334% for wheat, and 497% for paddy rice (ADF, 2003). The economic rate of return at completion was 40% compared to an estimated 24% at appraisal (ADF, 2003). Fadama II implemented an innovative local development planning (LDP) tool and built on the success of the community-driven development mechanisms (Bature et al., 2013). The Second National Fadama Development Project was initiated to address some of the factors that militated against the full realisation of the potential benefits of agricultural production activities – some of which were the poor development of rural infrastructure, storage, processing and marketing facilities. Others were a low investment in irrigation technology, poor organisation of fadama farmers as well as the lack of adequate techniques for greater productivity in particular. The lessons learnt in the implementation of the First National Fadama Development Project (NFDP) were addressed (Echeme and Nwachukwu, 2010).
The first fadama project (Fadama I) focused exclusively on irrigation farming while both Fadama II and Fadama III are more of agricultural diversification programmes, providing financing for the diverse livelihood activities which the beneficiaries themselves identify and design, with appropriate facilitation support (Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources, FMAWR, 2009). The Fadama III operation was designed to support the financing and implementation of six main components designed to transfer financial and technical resources to the beneficiaries. The project is a comprehensive five-year action programme developed by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources (FMAWR) in close collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Environment (FME) and other federal and state government ministries, local governments and key stakeholders (donors, private operators, NGOs) (FMAWR, 2009). The Project implementation was initially for a period of five years, from 2008 to 2013. The Project was anchored on the CDD approach. Community organisations decide on how the resources are to be allocated among the priorities that they themselves identify and they manage the funds. Extensive facilitation, training, and technical assistance were provided through the Project to ensure that poor rural communities, including women and vulnerable groups, especially the physically challenged, participate in the collective decision-making process. The Project helps by giving voice to the communities as well as promotes the principles of transparency and accountability in planning and management of public investments within the LGAs.
The main objective of the Third National Fadama Development Project (FADAMA III) in Nigeria is to develop a sustainable income of rural land and water resources users. It has 6 main components each of which has sub-components. The Project was designed to be coordinated by the National Fadama Coordination Office (NFCO) of the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA), the implementing agency of the FMAWR, while the day-to-day implementation was mainly to take place at the state level (FMAWR, 2009). The Project aimed to cover an estimated 7,400 fadama community associations in 36 participating states and the FCT. Each new participating state was to implement the project activities in up to 20 Local Government Areas (LGAs) while the old Fadama II states will implement in 10 additional LGAs (FMAWR, 2009). The government was to make all necessary arrangements to ensure timely mobilisation of the counterpart funds needed for project implementation.
Anambra state is a key participant in the Third National Fadama Development Project. The state did not participate in Fadama II programme, therefore, the project is being implemented in 20 of the 21 LGAs of the state (. Within the period of six years, the Fadama III is expected to have achieved its pre-determined objectives especially, with respect to advisory services offered by Fadama III to farmers in Anambra State. Of the $39.50 Million Advisory Services and Input Support Fund, Anambra State is one of the few States that successfully implemented the construction/rehabilitation of the Agricultural Equipment Hiring Enterprises (AEHE) centre (World Bank, 2016). The other states are Niger and Kogi states.
There is growing concern for the provision of effective and sustainable agricultural extension service to the majority of resource-poor farmers in whose hands the bulk of agricultural production is left. The importance of agricultural extension system, therefore, remains that of a service to enhance the ability of farm families to respond to old problems and meet new opportunities. Anandajayasekeram, Puskur, Workneh and Hoekstra (2008) posits that extension is a component of a system operating with other agro-support systems in the context of agricultural and technology development.
The success or failure of extension delivery is widely based on the level of adoption without considering the effectiveness of extension service delivery. Oguremi and Olatunji (2013) describe extension service delivery as the process by which extension providers bring extension services in form of advice on technology, credits and other farm inputs, on marketing and on all other innovation from the research institutes to the farmer. They stressed that extension providers have the responsibility of providing learning situations, making farmers aware of research findings and persuading them to change their behaviours in favour of the services. The effectiveness of an extension programme is therefore based on the change in the behaviour of farmers towards adopting extension services.
Madukwe (2006) stresses that the failure of the various extension delivery approaches in developing countries to effectively engineer significant and sustainable productivity and net income growth has become a major concern to all stakeholders, including the donor community. The concerns according to him have been fuelled by the wave of pluralism, market liberalisation and globalisation sweeping across the world and giving rise to initiatives that will enhance efficiency and effectiveness of not only the sub-components of extension delivery but the entire system of technology generation, dissemination and use.
With a rapidly expanding population, environmental degradation, political instability, economic failure and the declining budget, there is, therefore, need to re-assess donor driven extension delivery in particular and its effectiveness and sustainability in the face of an almost non-existent agricultural extension policy. Fadama III, which is donor driven, sought to empower local communities and improve government’s capacity to reach out specifically to the poor and vulnerable groups (Nwachukwu and Ezeh, 2007). However, many studies (Ogbonna and Agwu, 2013; Agwu, Ekwueme and Anyanwu, 2008; Agwu, 2004) have pointed out the low level of extension contacts with rural farmers. This raises concerns as to farmer’s involvement and access to extension services offered by Fadama III. This programme, with its additional financing component, is billed to end in 2017. Has fadama programme achieved its purpose of helping the federal government to boost access to extension services? Or do we need, yet again, another fadama?
The overall purpose of this study was to assess participant farmers’ access to components of Fadama III in Anambra State, Nigeria. Specifically, the study was designed to:
- ascertain the socioeconomic determinants of farmers for benefiting in Fadama III;
- assess Fadama III farmers’ participation level in research activities offered by the programme;
- describe Fadama III farmers’ access level to extension services;
- determine Fadama III farmers’ sources of agricultural inputs; and
- determine Fadama III farmers’ perception on the accessibility of agricultural inputs
The major contribution of the study is its approach to investigating the actual contribution of advisory services component of Fadama III project in the benefiting communities and households. Suggestions will be made to improve the level of agricultural advisory project success and their impact on beneficiaries. The findings will enable researchers to find areas that need to be improved upon and carry out research on such areas in other to strengthen the delivery of extension services in Nigeria.
The findings will also help government, policy makers, private investors and donor agencies to identify and prioritise areas of intervention, investment needs for success and bridge the gaps leading to increased production and marking of agricultural produce