The history of how Agricultural Extension started in Nigeria till the present modern Extension and how it spread through the West, North and South.


Extension started as just extension with the aim of disseminating information to people who were not privileged to taste the four wall of the classroom.

Extension was first used in connection will education over 150 years ago to describe the method of spreading knowledge.



          Agricultural extension can be defined as an advice and assistance given to the farmers and his families through educational  procedures on new farming methods and techniques in order  to improve their production efficiency and income bettering their level of living and up lifting the education and social standard of the farmers.

          Essentially Agricultural extension provide farmers the scientific knowledge so that, they could solve their problems. It is also the primary means of change, the reason for change, the value of change the results you can achieved, the process by which the it is arrived at and also the uncertainties inherent in this change.

          It help the farmers to learn about what alternatives that exist in farming so that they can choose the best alternative for them selves

It  encourages the people to;

  1. Discuss the condition under which they live.
  2. ii.                  To obtain a clearer inside to their problems. 
  3. iii.                It encourages people to decide how to over come this problem either individually or collectively in order to achieve better standard of living.



Agricultural Development since Independence, the 1962-1968 development plan was Nigeria’s first National plan. Among several objectives, it emphasized the introduction of more modern agricultural methods through farm settlements, co-operatives (nucleus) plantations; supply of improved implements (e.g hydraulic hand presses for oil palm processing) and a greatly expanded agricultural extension service.

          Some of the specialized development schemes initiated or implemented during this period include:

(i)                Farm settlement scheme

(ii)              National Accelerated Food Production Programme (NAFPP), Launched in 1972.

There were also a number of agricultural development intervention experiments, notably

  1. Operation Feed the Nation launched in 1976.
  2. River Basin and Rural Development Authorities established in 1976.
  3. Green Revolution programme, inaugurated in 1980.
  4. The world Bank-Funded Agricultural Development project.

While each of the above programmes sought to improve food production, the ADPs represented the first major practical demonstration of the integrated approach to agricultural development in Nigeria.

The experiment which stated with world Bank funding, with projects at Funtua (1974) Gusau (1974) and Gombe (1974), blossomed into Ayangba (1977), Lafia (1977), Bida (1979), Ilorin (1980), Ekiti-Akoko (1981)and Oyo-North (1982) agricultural development projects. Following successful negotiations for multistate agricultural development projects with the world Bank each state of the country, and the Federal Capital, Abuja, now has one ADP. The years since the early 1960s have also witnessed the establishment of several agricultural research institutes and their extension research liaison services. Some of the major institutes are

Agricultural extension and research stock production and fisheries production in Nigeria.


          The Nigeria National Agricultural extension system has evolved over four centuries from a rudimentary, export crop-focused service to what can now be described as a professional service even if its effectiveness and efficiency remain just average at best. The evolutionary development of the Nigeria’s extension service can be grouped into three major Eras Viz:

i)                   The colonial and immediate post independence Era       1893-1968.

ii)                 The Oil Boom Era: 1970-1979.

iii)               The state-wide Agricultural development project (ADP) Era: 1980-present.

The main features of the extension strategies/approaches that characterized the three phases are described briefly below:


1. The colonial and immediate post-independence Era: 1893-1968:

The extension strategies and approaches, which characterized this period included;          


 A. The colonial commodity extension approach: the early part of this era-1893-1921 marked the beginning of scientific agricultural in Nigeria and the beginning of direct government involvement in agricultural development. The agricultural policy of the colonial government was primary focused on encouraging only export crops like cocoa, rubber, palm oil, cotton and groundnut to support the agro-industries in Europe. The extension strategy was clearly a commodity approach with some enforcement component. Extension delivery even at this embryonic stage has the dual but conflicting  roles of  education and law enforcement;


B. The Ministry of Agriculture approach: This started with the establishment of the agricultural research stations in Samaru (1921), Umudike (1923), and Moor plantation (1924) along with the Regional Ministries of Agriculture in the North, East and West. The extension approach was diffused, non-focused, combining advocacy and advisory roses with input and credit distribution, and regulatory functions. A major feature of the approach was the compartmentalization of the service into the various sectors-agriculture, forestry, fisheries, livestock etc, with parallel extension services.


C. The revitalized Commodity Extension Strategy: (post independence). Again, the emphasis was on selected export crops-cocoa in the old West Region, oil palm in the East, and groundnut in the North. There was an obvious neglect of the food crops to the detriment of the nation.


D. The farm settlement/ from institute Leaver’s Extension Strategy (1959-1965): This was a community development concept to entice young school leavers to farming as a career and to serve as models for concentrated extension services. Unfortunately, the scheme failed to achieves objectives because of exogenous assumptions in design and mismanagement.

The strategies adopted during the Era failed largely because:

–         planning was top-down with no involvement of the clientele

–         Little or no linkage with research in all the approaches resulting in the development of inappropriate technologies.

–          Conflicting roles of extension –education and law enforcement.

–         A flawed extension philosophy which saw the farmers as “traditional, fatalistic, ignorant and resistant” to change.


   2. “Oil Boom” Era; 1970-1979:

The near absence of a dynamic research and an effective extension strategy for food crop production in the earlier era was worsened  by the oil boom, which turned out to be an “oil doom” for agriculture. The major extension approaches of the era includes:

a)                           The National Accelerated Food Production Program: The (NAFPP) was a well conceptualized strategy which incorporated research, extension and input supply (through a network of agro-service centres) and farmers only minimally involved in participatory technology development.

b)                           Operation Feed the Nation (OFN): This program was introduced in 1976 as a strategy to substantially increase food production. Unfortunately however, there was nothing in the program that can be identified, as an articulated extension strategy and thus, it died a natural death.

c)                           The River Basin Development Authority (RBDA) strategies: Although the RBDAs were established in 1977 for the exploitation of water resources for irrigation. Extension responsibilities were not assigned to them about 1984/85, to provide extension services to farmers in heir catchments area. They used the diffused Ministry of Agriculture approach but because of their poor performance, their extension responsibilities were removed;

d)                           The Green Revolution: This approach was premised on the Asia success story, and was launched in 1979 to replace the OFN with the primary objective to achieve food self-sufficiency for Nigeria in five years. Similar to the ministry extension strategy, it  also place emphasis on input supply, improvement of infrastructure and provision of price incentives. The strategy/approach failed due to lack of focus and diversification of efforts that could not be sustained.

e)                           The Pilot (Enclave) Agricultural Development Projects (ADPs): The ADP extension system was based on the premise that a combination of essential factors comprising of the right technology, effective extension, access to physical production-enhancing inputs, adequate market and other infrastructure facilities are essential to get agriculture moving (FACU, 1986). They started out as pilot projects in Funtua, Gombe and Gusau in 1975. success led to establishment of the enclave ADPs in six more states. All initially employed Training and Visit (T&V) extension delivery approach. This strategy closed the oil boom era.

The myriad of approaches, which followed one another in quick successions, left the rural populace probably more confused even though there was some noticeable marginal increases in food production in the operational area of the ADPs.


3. The state-wide ADP Era: 1984-Present:                       

          This phase of the extension service was characterized by the rapid growth of the ADP concept and reached national coverage by 1989 and had full responsibility for extension delivery at the grassroots. Common to all were an autonomous project management unit, on adaptive research component input delivery system, rural infrastructure component for rural feeder roads and water supply and a  systematic extension delivery using basically the Training and Visit Extension approach as propounded by Benor and Baxter and Promoted by the world Bank in Nigeria and other developing countries. Apart from the “one-size fits all concept” of the strategy, it has proved to be very regimented, and expensive hence the serious management problems after the withdrawal of the world Bank support to the projects. It has never the less helped to professionalized extension delivery in the country.

          Although the strategy was crop-biased on introduction, this major defect was corrected in 1989 with the introduction of the Unified Agricultural Extension Services (UAES) which made provision for the inclusion to the other sectors, Viz; livestock, fisheries, forestry, natural resource management etc thus, one village extension agent (VEA) is expected to deliver extension messages in all agricultural disciplines (sub-sectors) to the farmers. This was informed by the need to remove the problems of conflicting  messages to the clientele by multiple agents. It was also expected to make the system move cost-effective by eliminating duplication of efforts.

          This extension strategy remains basically top-down in approach and the farmer also still basically remains a passive receptor of information, which may not necessary meet his needs. His involvement and participation in technology development remains low.



          This agricultural development programs (ADPS) nationwide remain the main agencies responsible for public extension service delivery at the grassroots. A recent trend especially since the new democratic dispensation, is the involvement of the local governments in extension delivery, in collaboration with the ADPs. The quality of staff and the resources of the local government are such that they have only been able to make minimal impact.

          While the various modified forms of the training and visit (T&V) extension system remain the basic strategy for public extension delivery, the Research Extension – Farmer-Input-Linkage System (REFILS) is the management mechanism that has been used to identify and bring together the stakeholders in agriculture development as equal partners in development. It provides the structure and mechanisms for collaboration in technology generation, adaptation, dissemination and utilization with clear roles and responsibilities for all partners. Although the REFILS has strengthened the traditionally weak research-extension linkage, private sector participation still remains low just as the farmers involvement, especially in the research agenda and planning for technology development. The major actors and partners include the states ADPPs (in collaboration with the LGAs in some states) who are responsible to grassroots extension delivery nationwide; the National Agricultural Research System, responsible primarily for technology development and the private sector made up of both the commercial organization (responsible for the provision of essential inputs and services including credit and marketing) and the Non-Governmental organizations, the latest entrants to agricultural extension services delivery. The REFILS also include the government for policy direction even though the policies over the past several decades have neither been friendly nor consistent to sufficiently encourage significant private-sector involvement in meaningful sustainable agricultural development. Of special mention are two partners in REFILS-the National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services (NAERLS) of Ahmadu Bello University and the projects coordination Unit (PCU) of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. While the NAERLS is responsible for the provision of extension specialist support service to the ADPs, the PCU is responsible for the co-ordination, Monitoring and evaluation of their extension delivery activities.The PCU, It must be mentioned is amalgam of the former Federal Agricultural coordinating Unit and the Agricultural project Monitoring and Evaluation Unit (APMEU), both  the Federal Department of Agriculture. Of course, the farmer remains the most important stakeholder and centerpiece of REFILS. A major feature of the Nigeria agricultural Extension Service in the recent past is the entrance of Non-governmental Organization in extension delivery in Nigeria. These NGOs fall into two major group, Via:

          The non-profit, charity or faith- based NGOs or community/ commodity based NGOs and the private commercial organizations, which have, profit motive associated with their activities.

          These NGOs in the agricultural and rural development sector, provide a wide range of extension education and technical support services including micro-credit financing and supply of essential inputs in several communities in the country. A nation-wide study by NEST (1992) revealed that a majority of the NGOs in Nigeria are engaged in agricultural production.

          It is interesting to note that the sectoral disparity in terms of focus and emphasis in the public extension service (crops Vs the others) is also reflected in the public extension services (56% NGOs in crops, 14% in livestock and 19% in fisheries).

          Examples of the private commercial organizations providing extension services include: the shell petroleum company (shell petroleum extension project), the British American Tobacco (BAT), and ADCOT Niger Delta Oil exploratory areas are community-development oriented, public relations outfits, those of BAT and AFCOT are principally commodity-targeted out growers schemes to ensure adequate raw materials for their companies.

          The importance of credit either in kind or cash or both and the timely provision of essential production enhancing inputs have been amply demonstrated as part of an effective and efficient extension service by these commercial organizations.

          Examples of the non-profit NGOs include: the Development Education Centre (DEC) which provides extension support to  women to  organize themselves into grassroots level self-help association in South-Eastern Nigeria; the women’s Advancement Network (WOFAN) in the North-West, promoting income generation activities among rural women; the farmer Development Union (FADU) and the faith-based Diocesan Agricultural Development Project (DADP) in South-Western Nigeria which aims at poverty alleviation among small- scale farmer (Arokoyo, et al, 2000). Unique in this group is the international NGO, Sasakawa-Global 2000 which not only works in very close collaboration with the ADPs, but actually uses the already established structures of the ADPs including selected staff who are seconded to the organization.

          Although approaches used by most of the NGOs are generally more participatory, their linkage with both NARS and the public extension service, (except in the case of SG-2002), remain weak (Arokoyo,et al, 2002).



          The early Agricultural extension system experimented the pre-independence and immediate post-independence ones as Lugarians and commodity-focused system largely neglected by the farmer.

          The Nigeria extension service has failed to acknowledge farmers into an effective lobby because of the experience which has an emphasis on what the government can do for the farmer rather than what the farmer can organized to do for them selves. No matter how the extension strategies, no significant impact will be made into technology adoption until the issue of production enhancing input is addressed through deliberate and attractive policy option on improvement in extension delivery, as characterized the present ADP extension system, it is necessary to appreciate agricultural extension as a purely educational process. This requires the complete separation of future extension system from any attachment to civil service agencies and regulation.

Consideration Should be given to linking future extension to the university which should be mandated to collaborate with NGOs and international development agencies.


Ministry of Agriculture


Provincial Director

District extension Officer

Sub-division Extension officer

Area Extension officer

Village extension officer

Farm group




Organizational Pattern of the Training and Visit System of Agricultural Extension.

AEO Range


Subject Matter Specialist (SMS) 


Subject Matter Specialist (SMS) 


Director of Agriculture

Administrative level 

Director of extension


Zonal extension officer ZEO




District Extension Officer DEO





Sub-Division Extension Officer (SDEO)





Agricultural Extension Officer AEO 






Village Extension Worker VEW 








Village Extension Worker VEW 




Anjanwu, A.C.A, Agricultural science for school and colleges. Published by African first Published limited Onisha Nigeria.


Internet; Mama Search engine, Agricultural Extension of Amadu Bello University Samaru Zaria Nigeria  (1962-2007).


J.R Bene, et al (1994), Agricultural Extension in rural development. Published by Almond publishers, Makurdi Nigeria.

University Samaru Zaria Nigeria  (1962-2007).


Madukwe, M.C (1995), Agricultural extension system and strategies in Nigeria rural development.


Meta search engine.


Mrs. Okwuche, U.A. (2009) AEX 301 Lecture note.                                          




59 thoughts on “The history of how Agricultural Extension started in Nigeria till the present modern Extension and how it spread through the West, North and South.

  1. feminile Babarinde

    you guys are good.Just too good.I have never got these kind of info 4rom any nigeria site like this b4.Keep d good work.Tanks

    1. steps247 Post author

      I am glad we were of service to you. We are currently expanding our database and very soon we will have a dedicate site instead of the blog. We invite you to join us in this dream of building Nigeria’s first student based education and social site by contributing your articles, comments and views. TOGETHER, WE CAN BRING CHANGE IN NIGERIA.

      1. Kashim Buba

        I really appreciate your work on agriculture and national development programme. Keep it up, am sure many will benefit from your works.

  2. Daniel Igwe

    What a lucid documentation of the history of AEX. The datbase if expanded created will help students like me hungry for information to get reliable info source.
    Daniel Igwe. Department of Agric Economics UNN

    1. steps247 Post author

      thanks a lot for your comments. pls I want to invite you to join us in creating this new data base of information for nigeria students by nigeria students. Get in contact with the team now and lets do it together. THANKs

  3. Anyaegbu Casmir(NDK)

    Bravo! What an exploit? U are too much. U have done me well and also salvage students who are wallowing in the ocean of limited-info- symdrone vis-a-vis agric extension delivery system in Nig. Departmt of Agricultural Economics IMSU

  4. mirian

    it was a rich a rich information. the updated info is very comprehensive. information is power. keep on empowering we Nigerian students.

    mirian chinonye
    dept of agric economics EBSU

  5. unny

    This is a wonderful work. so accurate and reliable. Thanks. it reminds us of how important agriculture was prior to the old boom era.

  6. opurum Loveday C


    1. steps247 Post author

      I feel very glad on behalf of the team to see your comments and am equally so glad we were of service to you. Although things are rough and work on the development of our new site is almost at standstill we will not give up. With wonderful words of encourage like this, the sky is certainly our limit. Thanks.

  7. Aham

    Bravo. You’v done well by informing and enlightening Nigerian students esp those in the area of agriculture. God bless you as you use this medium to attract Nigerians esp youth in agriculture. AhamMary .O.Dept of Agric Extn. FUTO

  8. Kenneth Ezudike

    What a splendid documentation! it will serve as an indispensable reference material to agric. students and those interested in the area.Keep it up.
    Ken Ezudike Dept of Agric. Ext. FUTO.

    1. Komolafe muyiwa noah

      Thankz so much 4 this awesome notification and also for encouraging we student,pls i will like to be part of this site and always be updated by ur new development…am veri grateful,frm komolafe muyiwa..department of agricultural economics and extension service,university of abuja,abuja..centre for distance learning and countinuing education..we are the pioneer in that department.

  9. Umoren,Emmanuel Etim.

    This write up on the history of Agricultural Extension in this country has realy helped me alot. My lecturer gave a brief info on this but reading this has enlightend me the more. Am realy greatful,keep it up. From the Department of Animal sc, Unical.

  10. okoro joseph,

    that was a nice work from you, brother in the field…. Thanks for using this media to encourage our young ones! Research/Information is key to bring back the glory of agriculture. Weldon

  11. fabowale samuel

    pls i need info on problems of agricultural extension in nigeria.And Economic importance of fish smoker,and Scope of fish smoker.I will be glad if my wish is granted thank u

  12. Osiagwu )kele Emmanuel

    Wao!!!thanks to d author, i appreciate for d update. I really wish that d glory of d past agricultural boom will com back and in oda for people to decentraliz their mentality frm oil. Furthermore the recent administrativ policies on d extension system are quite prepossessing but d implementation is d problem.well we pray for an indept transformation on dis country in jesus name amen.

  13. Ogunbanjo Oluwole

    urgently need detailed information on list of NGOs involved in extension service delivery and what they actually did.Thanks


    Kudos to the author/writer of this piece. You don’t know how much this information has really helped me. Thank you so much.
    Dept. of Agric. Extension & Communication, FUTA.

  15. Aminu B. Jackson fed.col. Of Horticulture Dadin kowa Gombe state. department of agric.extension.

    Wow wow am so inquisive to read al ur msg for enhancing agriculture the more kip it up and tanx pls i nid any information in agric extention

  16. Noberto

    Agric. development efforts need a holistic and sincere approach from all youths of our time, otherwise, our future is blink

  17. safiyanu umar M

    Good work! elaborate more on extension activities in Nigeria especially tailored towards the distinction between pre and post independence and the present day extension system. thank you..

  18. David Isangedighi

    This is of intellectual and international repute,a dedicated and deligent professional,a colossal amazon in writing,respected and fourthright patriotic schlar.Thank u.From Unical,Department of Vocational and special Education.Faculty of Education.

  19. lance lot

    I feel dat d greatest problem facing nigerias agric sector is inability to undastand our problem and situation..look at OFN d greatest failure ever recorded was because we likened our situation wit oda countries,u dnt expect yam planted in clay and loam to grow problem has to be undastood and also dz present generation of agriculturist nid to b innovative and far sighted cos evn d country has no plan for us,bt its a known fact dat we r self employed,all dats nided is to key in our natural potentials..derz nothing bad in startin wit a hoe,who knows in two to five years a tractor wud come out from ur hard work..

  20. toyeeb

    This is really good! It encompasses everything.. I think the policy makers can learn from the past failures and build on them… take a bottom-up approach, take their need assessment and back it up with good political will… kudos!!!

  21. Enyinda, Ovunda Victor

    This is a fantastic work from my assessment which require passion and commitment to development of young minds. I pray that some day we shall have leaders who are passionate and committed to bring about sustainable change in agriculture….

  22. Lesen Sie Mehr auf dem Tagesgeld-Tarifportal

    Hi. I was thinking about adding a website link back to your blog since both of our websites
    are centered around the same subject. Would you prefer I link to
    you using your site address: or web site title:
    The history of how Agricultural Extension started in Nigeria
    till the present modern Extension and how it spread through
    the West, North and South. . Be sure to let me know at your earliest convenience.



  24. Eyo Emmanuel

    Wow! This is dope. But Pls I wud like the work to be properly referenced in case students want to cite it, to avoid plagiarism. Secondly pls give us names of agricultural extension agencies in Nigeria, preferably in the South south. Thumbs up for this article, God bless

  25. Eyo Emmanuel

    Wow! This is dope. But Pls I wud like the work to be properly referenced in case students want to cite it, to avoid plagiarism. Secondly pls give us names of agricultural extension agencies in Nigeria, preferably in the South south. Thumbs up for this article, God bless

    Eyo from agric econs dept in Uniuyo


    Oh,,,oh,,oh,,, this is beautiful,,, a wonderful piece ,,, i enjoyed everything about the history,,,
    God bless you

    department of Agricultural Economics/Extension

    Rivers State University of Science and Technology,,,,..(RSUST)

  27. Rilwan Muhammad

    Very rousing and wittily articulated information. Helpful of you!
    Rilwan Muhammad from the Department of Agricultural Economic and Extension, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi.

  28. Nasir mohd

    This informations are helpful and useful to the students of agriculture across Nigeria.pls keep up with this good work by nasir mohd abdullahi agricultural education’s student


    Your blog is very encouraging. Should you require any further input I will be glad to submit a little bit for your consideration. You have really done much may God bless you.

  30. yohanna peter

    I am an agricultural extensionist seeking for job in my profession, please I need your kind assistant. Thanks

  31. chekky luv

    This is beautifully gorgeous….. what a reliable source indeed………mehn!!!!!!!! I gat all I wanted from dis article……. u guys are 1daful…….God bless u all n more strength 2 ur elbow…………

  32. Ige. Segun, department of Agric Extension Federal University Wukari

    I am really happy for this kind of information as it created the basis as a part of my project work

  33. Panny

    Nice and beautiful write-up and i really enjoyed the logical presentation. Only that there is a mix-up in the dates for the establishment of research stations; probably check again but I think they are in this order:
    Moor Plantation …. 1921
    Samaru ….. 1927 and
    Umudike ……. 1955. Thanks please, good writing and keep it flowing.


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