The National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services grew out of the Specialist Services Section of the former Northern Nigeria Ministry of Agriculture to provide a formal link between the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR) and the Ministry of Agriculture in 1963 as Research Liaison Section (RLS) to ensure that research results get to farmers in adoptable form. In 1968, following the dissolution of the regional structure, RLS was transferred to IAR and became known as Extension and Research Liaison Section (ERLS). Consequently, the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Council, in accordance with Statute 19, separated ERLS from IAR in 1975 and renamed it the Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services (AERLS). Thus, AERLS, became an autonomous Institute within the Agricultural Complex of the University under the aegies of the then Federal Ministry of Science and Technology (FMST), similar to IAR.
Following the reorganization of the research institutes by the then Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, a number of changes in the mandates of several research institutes were made in April 1987. In recognition of its contribution to successful extension and research support services in the Northern States of Nigeria, AERLS thus earned a national mandate which transformed it to the National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services (NAERLS). To execute its mandate effectively, NAERLS immediately established 5 zonal offices, one each in the 5 agro-ecological zones of Nigeria.
To effectively discharge its function of coordinating the overall planning and development of extension liaison activities throughout the country, NAERLS established 6 Zonal Offices. These are located in each of the 6 coordinating Research Institutes – National Root Crop Research Institute, Umudike; Institute for Agricultural Research and Training, Ibadan; National Cereals Research Institute, Badeggi; Lake Chad Research Institute, Maiduguri; Institute for Agricultural Research, Zaria.
- Agricultural Communication Research Programme
- Agricultural Economics and Resource Management Programme
- Agricultural Performance and Evaluation Programme
- Agricultural Extension research Programme
- Extension Training and Outreach Programme
- Library, Documentation and Information Resource Programme