PREMISE: Cooperative societies have become alternatives to other financial institutions in Nigeria in the provisions of micro finance and rendering of other vital services that are germane to development. The importance of cooperative societies cannot be overemphasized; they are geared towards alleviating poverty and improving the standard of living of the people. However, most cooperative officers have inadequate skills in record keeping, loan management, fraud prevention/detection among others. Consequently, they do not achieve their goals of existence. It is therefore imperative to build the capacity of cooperative societies on specific management skills that will position cooperatives to become key players in Nigeria’s economy.
The importance of records and information management in organisations cannot be over-emphasized. This is particularly so in the face of wider use of the modern information and communication technology. Inspite of its importance, records and information management in most public and private sector organizations are poor and ineffective in keeping pace with modern organizational practices.
The importance of commodity value chain development in the current economic growth and development of the Federal Government cannot be overemphasized. Report shows that at post oil boom, Nigeria lost her agricultural commodity production position in cocoa, oil palm, cotton and groundnut to her competitors in South America, Asia and other African countries. These competitors took over from Nigeria because they have well developed value chain development strategies which have considerably increased their productivity and linked their agricultural commodities with global markets. A well developed commodity value chain will promote private investment, generate employment and income, and transform Nigeria into a net producer of value added agricultural commodities for local markets and exports. However, the existing and potential stakeholders in commodity value chain management in Nigeria need to be empowered with appropriate requisite skills and techniques for effective value chain development. There is therefore, the urgent need to equip development practitioners in agriculture and rural development with appropriate skills to effectively facilitate commodity value chain actors and all stakeholders to embrace agriculture as a business.
PREMISE: Development practitioners have recently realized that their efforts have not yielded the desired results partly due to non-involvement of women and the vulnerable groups in development programmes. Experience has shown that this is partly because their problems and needs have not been adequately addressed. This assertion is also buttressed by USAID/Nigeria Strategic Plan (2004 – 2009) where it states that, “Nigeria’s record on gender issues is weak and in need of improvement” and corroborated by the NEEDs document on the need to mainstream women into development planning as well as the emphasis placed on gender issues in other agricultural and rural based project documents. Against this backdrop, there is a need for gender considerations and involvement of the vulnerable groups in all aspects of development programmes.
Premise: MS-PowerPoint is a multi-media computer program designed to create professional slide-show presentation. It is useful for presenting information to group of people and also allows the user to incorporate images, video, and colourful backdrops to the information. Prior to the introduction of Multi-media equipment presentations were cumbersome and time-consuming. Incidentally, not many professionals in information generation and dissemination in the Agricultural and Rural development sector are conversant with this powerful presentation tool.
Managers employed to plan and manage public and private farm businesses may be technically capable, however, their ability to translate and turn around investments in agriculture into profit is often not adequate. Their inability to generate value for money (in agricultural business) most times is due to the fact that they do not possess the requisite practical farm planning and management skills required for efficient investments to generate expected results.
The importance of a well written report and memo in an organization cannot be over-emphasized. The responsibilities of most managers and officers at all levels include providing feedback to management in the form of reports and memoranda. Inspite of its importance, most officers have inadequate report writing skills to enable them to carry out their assignments effectively.
Agricultural credit officers are often required to analyse loan requests by farmers and other clients. This analysis is to ascertain the ability of the proposed project to operate at profit level as well as determine the credit needs of the applicant, and the risk inherent in the loan. The inability of lending institutions to accurately analysis loan request leads to high default rate. Indeed, as organizations grow, building a strong credit analysis and risk management strategies becomes increasingly important. Therefore, for effective performance, agricultural credit managers need enhancement in their knowledge and skills in credit analysis and risk management.
The enormity of varieties of agricultural commodities in Nigeria cannot be overemphasized. Agricultural commodities such as oil palm, cocoa, groundnut, rice, maize, wheat, soybean, cassava, sweet potato, cattle, fish, poultry, etc. have potentials that could be developed into value chains. Agricultural Commodity Value Chain Development (AVCD) enhances local and foreign investments into inputs, agricultural commodity production, transportation, processing, warehousing and marketing. This provides agribusiness opportunities for wealth creation, employment generation, income generation, poverty reduction and food security amongst others. However, the National Baseline Study of ARMTI on AVCD in 2012/13 shows that there is no established agricultural value chains in Nigeria and that various agro-ecological zones are endowed with different agricultural commodities that could be developed into value chains. Hence, there is the need to fully utilize these opportunities.
Effective management of youths is crucial in making them productive members of their communities. Youths are usually filled with bright ideas, initiatives and energy which can contribute significantly to the development of their communities, if properly harnessed. Unfortunately, these attributes are often not tapped due to the inadequate mobilization and participatory skills of the youth leaders, development officers and practitioners. These skills are necessary for managing youths and mainstreaming them into community and national development.
Computer-Based Office Management Skills Development Programme for Personal Assistants and Secretaries (ARM 105)
All organizations are required to maximize the productivity of their workforce. Modern office management practices require that Personal Assistants and Secretaries be skilled in using computers and other information management technologies to enhance their efficiency. In addition, various management reforms and reduction in the office workforce continue to place higher demand on them. Such officers should acquire modern office management skills to enable them attain optimum efficiency.
PREMISE: The low level of animal protein consumption in Nigeria has been attributed partly to the low performance of the livestock sub-sector in terms of responding effectively to the demand situation. Analysis reveals that one critical factor responsible for this is the low adoption of technologies generated by scientists. This is, in part due to ineffective extension methods used in disseminating new improved technologies among livestock farmers.
Premise: Community based infrastructure in Nigeria easily get damaged and abandoned soon after commissioning. In some cases, where the location of the project is not acceptable to a majority of the community members, the infrastructure may remain largely unused and/or vandalized. ARMTI’s interaction with community members has shown that community participation is cardinal to the management and sustainability of infrastructure. Therefore, the capacity of programme development stakeholders should be strengthened to involve the target beneficiaries of rural infrastructure in the process of planning, execution, monitoring and evaluation of such infrastructure.
PREMISE: Agricultural business need to put in place a system for effective planning and implementation. For the achievement of poverty reduction strategies, all new projects for agricultural and rural development require identification and planning skills. On-going ARD projects on their part require the requisite skills for effective implementation to ensure project sustainability. The success of ARD projects demands emphasis on the capacity building of managers in this sector of the economy.
Cashiers and Account Clerks require basic skills in accounting and finance for effective performance on their jobs. Furthermore, these officers require time management and interpersonal skills for effective performance of their jobs. However, interactions with cashiers and account clerks in Micro-finance Institutions show that they have inadequate skills in accounting, finance, time and interpersonal relationships management.
Premise: The effectiveness of extension service delivery system depends largely on the quality of extension and advisory service providers and facilitators. While the technical capability of these officers is not in doubt, the same cannot be said about their managerial capability. There is, therefore, the need to equip them with the concepts and techniques required for effective management of extension and advisory services.
PREMISE: Some women in Nigeria are in leadership positions. More of them are currently entering into the leadership cadres while more are expected to take up leadership roles in various spheres of life. Studies have however shown that some of the factors which inhibit women from performing creditably well as leaders arise from their inability to assert themselves and interact effectively with others. There is therefore, the need to equip women with the required skills that will enable them to effectively cope with the challenges of leading and performing as leaders.
Organization and Management of Rural Cooperatives for Poverty Alleviation Programmes (ARM 216) [2nd Run]
Revitalizing agriculture and bringing it back to its past glory has been at the center of various government programmes aimed at improving the living condition of the rural populace. Recent studies at ARMTI have revealed that rural cooperative members do not optimize the use of resources through economy of scale. Consequently, the cooperative societies have not been able to acquire assets and expand enterprise base to ensure employment generation and wealth creation. Therefore, the capacity of extension staff, grassroots facilitators and change agents should be strengthened in order to provide advisory services and equip cooperators with necessary skills to achieve their development goals.
Human Resource Managers need to develop a wide range of Information Communication Technology (ICT) skills and knowledge to drive performance and help their organizations achieve success especially in an increasingly dynamic and challenging global environment. It has been observed that most human resource managers are not effectively utilizing ICT potentials to achieve best global practices in management. Unfortunately, most managers in both private and public sectors are not adequately, equipped with the requisite ICT skills to enable them cope with emerging trends and perform effectively.
Poverty is increasing due to the high rate of unemployment especially among the youths in Nigeria. This has continued to pose difficult socio-economic problems. Small and medium enterprises play a critical role in the growth and development in the economy of a developing country. The eradication of absolute poverty could be addressed through creation of small and medium enterprises to generate employment opportunities, thereby increasing the income level of the productive sector. However, there is inadequate entrepreneurial skills which had often contributed to low enterprise development.