Evaluation of Extension Agents Commitment to the Agricultural Loans and Inputs Supply Programme on Special Rice Production in Delta State, Nigeria
The study evaluated the activities of Extension agents on Agricultural Loans and Inputs Supply Programme participant farmers’ rice output/income. Data were collected with the aid of questionnaire from 60 Extension agents (participating in the ALIS programme) randomly selected from 6 LGAs (where the programme is being implemented) of Delta State. Data were also collected from 80 participant and 80 nonparticipant farmers’ of the programme. Results of data analysis reveals that all the Extension agents are males and are married. Most (40%) of them belong to the age bracket of 30 – 39 years, with a high proportion (48.3%) of them having HND/first degree and a good number of them (28.3%) having 5 – 6 years experience in the ALIS programme. Major functions carried out by the Extension agents in the ALIS programme were advisory role (2.75), training farmers on inputs use (2.67) and demonstrating inputs use (2.65). The roles of the Extension agents on the farmers made a significant difference in out (176.25kg) and income N53,468.75 in favour participants. Important inputs provided by the extension agents are farm size, improved seeds and farm chemicals like fertilizer and urea. Some important constraints facing the programme according to the Extension agents were limited coverage of farmers (3.23), wrong selection of programme participants (3.22), late delivery of inputs (3.15) and poor funding of the programme (3.05). Based on findings the study recommends that efforts should be made to deliver inputs promptly to farmers, ensure all necessary inputs are timely made available to farmers and in adequate quantities, there is need to ensure that only those farmers who depend on rice farming are selected to participate in the programme.
Keywords: Extension agents; agricultural production; inputs; loans; technologies; evaluation