It is increasingly recognized that policymaking is substantially enhanced when all key stakeholders are actively involved in the process. Unfortunately, the voices of farmers and other practitioners, such as agrodealers are often unheard in national discussions and consultations on agricultural policy in Nigeria.
As part of an effort to address this issue, the Nigeria Strategy Support Program (NSSP) Office of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) organized a policy communications training course in Zaria, Kaduna State on 14 and 15 March 2018. The training had 17 males and 12 female participants representing farmer groups, extension agents, community based organizations and agrodealers in Kaduna State. The training, which was done in both English and Hausa, covered topics such as sources of information on agricultural policy, how to build social media audiences from scratch and an overview of issues in Nigeria’s agricultural sector, among others. The course was well-received with participants committing to engage more actively on social media. As a result of the training, stakeholders have agreed to form a WhatsApp group to keep each other regularly updated on pertinent agricultural issues in Kaduna State.
Aside from the three trainers from IFPRI, Dr Godfrey Onagwa (a faculty member from Ahmadu Bello University), also made a presentation. The facilitation of this training by Dr Onagwa, who was a participant in previous policy communication training courses facilitated by IFPRI, is a strong indication that earlier training courses on policy communications are making already an impact on Nigeria’s agricultural sector, particularly for those engaged in research and agricultural extension.
The training was part of the activities of the third year of the Feed the Future Nigeria Agricultural Policy Project. The project is jointly implemented by IFPRI’s Nigeria Strategy Support Program and Michigan State University with generous funding from the United States Agency for International Development.