Agricultural extension contributes to improving the welfare of farmers and other stakeholders by providing access to knowledge and information. This has led to increasing emphasis on effective training strategies to develop extension staff competencies. The study therefore focused on identification of constraints and effective educational strategies influencing the professional competencies of extension officers in Oyo and Ogun states Nigeria. Simple random sampling technique was used in selecting 84 extension officers from 4 agricultural zones in the study areas of which 80 of them completed and returned their questionnaires for analysis. Data were analysed using descriptive (frequency, percentage, mean) and inferential (chi-square, PPMC t-test) statistics. The mean age of respondents was 46 years, majority were males (65.0%), married (95.0%), had household size of 5-6 persons (53.75%), had 9-16 years of job experience (40%) and all had attained tertiary education with 47.5% of them at HND level. FNT/MTRM (=1.91) was considered the most effective education strategy while job shadowing (=0.73) was rated the least effective. During in-service training (45.7%) was the most preferred period to acquire extension competencies. Organisational management (=19.7)) was the most possessed competency and on the overall, 51.2% of respondents possessed high level of competency. The most severe constraint to acquiring competency was lack of funds (=1.77). There was a significant relationship between age (r=0.244, p<0.05), years of work experience (r=0.224, p<0.05), education delivery strategies (r=0.435, p<0.05) and level of competency. Also there was a significant negative relationship between the constraints to acquiring competencies and competency level of extension officers (r=-0.292, p<0.05). It was recommended that the ADPs should improve on the methodology used during FNT/MTRM by diversifying on teaching methods and involving highly experienced instructors. Also, they should offer incentives and rewards to motivate employees that are vigorously involved in professional development.
Keywords: Competencies, constraints, education strategies, in-service training, FNT/MTRMIDENTIFICATION OF CONSTRAINTS AND EFFECTIVE EDUCATIONAL STRATEGIES INFLUENCING THE PROFESSIONAL COMPETENCIES OF AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION OFFICERS IN OYO AND OGUN STATES NIGERIA