Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum)

WHAT ROLE CAN AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION AND ADVISORY SERVICES PLAY IN REALIZING GENDER EQUALITY AND IMPROVED NUTRITION

Margaret J. Koyenikan
Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension services,
University of Benin, PMB 5114,
Benin-City, Nigeria.

Agricultural Extension and Advisory Services (AEAS) are expected to address issues related to agriculture and rural development. Gender and nutrition are among the several thematic areas to address in order to achieve better living standard for the people. The principles of Agricultural Extension include comprehensiveness in nature and involvement of all the family members which relate to the discussion point. Gender affects access to production resources and level of involvement in decision making which could tell on nutritional status of typical African household. The effect of nutrition on physical, mental and social status of people could be obvious while gender equality issue in development is yet to be fully accepted even by practitioners. In Nigeria, extension service is still largely public sector-driven and unified. However, the following are suggested:

AEAS need to disseminate information and technologies that can change attitude, knowledge and skills of the people on gender and nutrition.
They need to apply scientific research and knowledge to agriculture and home management practices, educate farming families on the need and benefit of adoption.
Facilitate needs assessment and capacity building at community level.

To play these roles effectively, AEAS practitioners need capacity building as well for competencies in communication, human and leadership development and programme planning.