Agricultural extension: A time for change

Agricultural extension: A time for change

“It’s about reforming the way they work, and makingsure that reforms that are underway are cost effectiveand sustainable.”Michael Hailu,CTA DirectorThe conference on «Innovations in Extension and Advisory Services, Linking Knowledge to Policy and Action for Food and Livelihoods» was organized by theTechnical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA), the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), the Global Forum for RuralAdvisory Services (GFRAS), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the African Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services (AFAAS), theAlliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the New Partnership for Africa’s Development(NEPAD), the International Centre for development oriented Research in Agriculture (ICRA) and the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), in collaboration withseveral national, regional and international partners, including the African Network for Agriculture, Agroforestry and Natural Resources Education (ANAFE), theForum for the Americas on Agricultural Research and Technology Development (FORAGRO), the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI), the Ministryof Agriculture – Kenya, the European Initiative on Agricultural Research for Development (EIARD), the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR), theUniversity of the West Indies (UWI) and the Universities of the South Pacific (USP), Hohenheim and Wageningen (WUR).

INTRODUCTIONIn search of a brighter futureThree-quarters of the world’s poorest billion people live in rural areas, and the vast majority dependon agriculture for their livelihoods and survival. Encouraging the growth of the agriculturalsector is therefore one of the most effective ways of tackling poverty and reducing hungerand malnutrition. Smallholder farmers, fisherfolk and livestock keepers produce 50–80 per cent ofthe staple foods consumed in developing countries, but many are inadequately served by research,extension and advisory services. These rural producers need support so that they can improve theirknowledge and skills and take advantage of new technologies, policies and market opportunities.Revitalising extension and advisory services was the focus of a landmark conference heldin Nairobi in November 2011. The International Conference on Innovations in Extension andAdvisory Services attracted over 450 delegates from 85 countries. It brought together farmers,extension agents, scientists, politicians, policymakers and representatives of development© J. Lyell/AlamyEfficient extension and advisory services can help small-scale farmers, such as this woman in Iganga, Uganda, to increase their crop yields.4

organizations. Their aim was to share knowledgeand experiences, and identify ways oftransforming extension and advisory servicesfor the benefit of smallholder farmers.A time for change“This conference couldn’t have come at a bettertime,” Kareke Mbiuki, Kenya’s Assistant Ministerof Agriculture, told delegates in his featureaddress. “One of the root causes of low productivityin Africa is the poor performance of theextension and advisory services, and the lack offinancial support they receive.”These, he explained, were critical times for Kenyaand its neighbours. Most obviously, there was thecontinuing crisis in the Horn of Africa. A combinationof drought and conflict meant that duringthe closing months of 2011, 13 million peoplerequired emergency food aid. Pastoralists hadlost over 60 per cent of their livestock, and hundredsof thousands of refugees were crammedinto overcrowded camps near the Somali border.“Agricultural extension is about sharingscientific findings and know-how with farmersand helping them capture a greater share of thevalue chain.”Michael Hailu, Director, Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA),The Netherlands© S.Torfinn/PanosA plant pathologist examines a diseased leaf at a plant health clinic in the Kenyan village of Wangigi. Clinics like these are organised by theCentre for Agricultural Bioscience International.5

were chosen for presentation during the thematicdiscussions. During the months leadingup to the conference, over 70 people activelyparticipated in e-discussions on the four mainthemes. The conference also included paneldiscussions, small group discussions, field visitsto sites in and around Nairobi, and a prize-givingceremony for the winning journalists who hadparticipated in a pre-conference competition.During the course of the week, delegates wereable to take stock of promising initiatives andopportunities, define and promote mechanismsto scale up successful models, and explore thesort of extension policies and practices thatcould increase agricultural productivity, reducehunger and improve the livelihoods of millionsof smallholder farmers. The conference findingsare enshrined in the Nairobi Declaration, which“In Kenya, like most African countries, agricultureis the backbone of the economy and the mainsource of employment and foreign exchange.When agriculture grows, our economy grows.That is why good extension services are soimportant.”Kareke Mbiuki, Assistant Minister of Agriculture, Kenyais printed in full at the end of the booklet. “Thedeclaration can be seen as a rallying call to policymakersand practitioners”, says CTA’s SeniorProgramme Coordinator Science & TechnologyPolicy, Judith Ann Francis, one of the conferenceco-chairs and chair of the policy thematicgroup. “Efficient, effective, demand-drivenextension services are the key to improving theproductivity and incomes of the world’s smallholderfarmers.” n© S.Beccio/IFADStudents and peer trainers in an experimental plot at the farmer’s field school of Ngororero (Rwanda). Farmers learn the value of applying IntegratedPest Management (IPM) to test varieties of maize crops (Support Project for the Strategic Plan for the Transformation of Agriculture).7

Chapter 1© NESTLE1Farmer Field Schools (FFS) have had considerable success in helping farmers to gain new skills. Here a Farmer field school supported byNestlé is training farmers to improve their cocoa harvest.8

The big pictureDuring the 1960s and 1970s, state-run, state-funded agricultural extension and advisoryservices played a key role in increasing agricultural productivity. However, structural adjustmentprogrammes during the 1980s and 1990s led to a significant decline in the fundsavailable – and farmers suffered as a result. It is now widely accepted that a new modelof service delivery is needed. This should be pluralistic – with the private sector playingan important role – and demand-led. Ideally, extension services should be provided free ofcharge to smallholder farmers.Compare the productivity of farmersin sub-Saharan Africa withthose of East Asia. In 1961, averagecereal yields were around 1tonne per hectare in sub-SaharanAfrica and 1.4 tonnes in East Asia. In sub-SaharanAfrica, yields have barely risen since then.In East Asia, in contrast, farmers now averagemore than 5 tonnes per hectare. Low agriculturalproductivity is closely associated with highlevels of poverty and hunger. Between 1981 and“Extension services should beseen as a public good insub-Saharan Africa, in thesense that smallholder farmerscan’t afford to pay for them.”Romano Kiome, Permanent Secretary, Ministry ofAgriculture, Kenya2005, the number of people living on less thanUS$1.25 a day in sub-Saharan Africa grewfrom 212 to 388 million; in East Asia, the numberfell from 1,071 to 316 million.“We who are working in extension and researchhave failed our people”, says Monty Jones, executivedirector of the Forum for AgriculturalResearch in Africa (FARA). He points out thatthe proportion of the population suffering frommalnutrition in sub-Saharan Africa has fallenby just 1 per cent in the last two decades. “Africais falling behind in innovation”, he says. Jonespoints out that extension has been integratedwithin the highest framework of the AfricanUnion, the Comprehensive Africa AgricultureDevelopment Programme (CAADP). “We believethat with greater coordination of extension,it will be easier to build synergies with researchand education to provide the relevant knowledgebase for transforming agriculture”, he says.70%Food productionmust increase by thisamount by 2050 tokeep pace with populationgrowth.9

Chapter 1 / The big pictureDuring the 1960s and 1970s, state-run,state-funded extension and advisory servicesplayed a key role in getting information andnew technologies to farmers. Among otherthings, they provided the advice and supportthat helped to drive the Green Revolution inAsia. However, the structural adjustment programmesintroduced by the World Bank andInternational Monetary Fund (IMF) led to asignificant reduction in the funds available foragricultural service delivery. At the same time,the proportion of official development assistancedevoted to agriculture declined from 17per cent in 1980 to 3 per cent by 2006. Thishad a profound effect on national extensionand advisory services. At one time, many developingcountries had, on average, one governmentextension agent for 300 farmers; todaythere is now one for every 1500–3000 farmers.Of course, just having large numbers of extensionworkers is no guarantee for agriculturalgrowth.A new way of doing things?According to Volker Hoffmann, an agriculturaleconomist and an expert on extension at© Neil Palmer/CIATMobile phones help farmers gain access to information which can help them to improve their livelihoods and farming practices. A farmer inKibirichia, Kenya.10

Hohenheim University, Germany, governmentsshould not be directly engaged in the provisionof extension services, which can be more efficientlymanaged by private legal entities. Governmentextension services continue to sufferfrom a number of shortcomings. They tendto be bureaucratic and inefficient. Instead ofconsulting farmers about their needs, governmentextension agents generally decide whatis best for them. Furthermore, there is oftena conflict of roles, with government extensionagents acting as advisers, policemen, andarbiters about whether or not farmers shouldreceive subsidies or other assistance. This inevitablyleads to a lack of trust between extensionagents and farmers.“There is a very strong argument in favour ofcreating a pluralistic system of delivery, which isparticipatory and demand-led”, says Hoffmann.Two rules should be followed: “avoid role conflict”and “no extension without content”. Hoffmannsuggests that the state should continue to determinepolicy, regulate how extension services operateand ensure that farmers receive good advice.However, it should reduce its direct engagement© S.Bauer/ARS USDAScience matters. Eton Codling, a soil scientist, evaluating maize growth in a field undergoing experimental treatment.11

CHAPTER 1 / The big pictureBrazilian president Lula Da Silva 2004: extension policy targeted farmers. Budget was increased from US$ 100 to US$ 250 million.© J.Lyell/Alamy© S. Boness/PanosMicrocredit schemes – this one is in Freetown, Sierra Leone – have provided much-needed support for small-scale farmers in the developing world.12

in providing services or inputs to farmers. Thiscould be left to other service providers, such asprivate companies and non-governmental organizations.“This should be a gradual process”, hesays. “It cannot be achieved overnight.”At the Nairobi conference it was broadly agreedthat extension services should be provided freeof charge for smallholder farmers. “Emerging”and fully commercial farmers, in contrast, shouldpay for services. Clearly, these two groups havedifferent needs. Commercial farmers will requireentrepreneurial training and advice that will helpthem to move up the value chain, for exampleby processing cocoa into chocolate or providingpre-packaged fresh vegetables for the hospitalityindustry. Smallholder farmers, in contrast,require technical as well as financial and marketinginformation, and assistance to help themmake the shift from subsistence production to amore commercial type of enterprise.Indeed, this was one of the constant refrainsat the Nairobi conference: subsistence farmingshould only be a temporary phenomenon.However, for the transition to happen, the ruralpoor require more than just high-quality agriculturaladvice. They also need access to education,health services, transport, communications,credit and remunerative markets. In otherwords, agricultural extension needs to be part ofa wider programme designed to stimulate thegrowth of both the agricultural sector and thenon-farm rural economy.A model for the futureDuring the past decade, Brazil has made remarkableprogress in achieving its developmentgoals. Between 2003 and 2011, 33 million“In sub-Saharan Africa, yields have remainedat one quarter the global average. This isunacceptable. AGRA’s strategy is to catalyze auniquely African agricultural revolution throughinnovative approaches, linking smallholderproducers to private-sector agricultural services,value chains and technological innovations.”Namanga Ngongi, President, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), Kenyapeople out of a population of 180 million wereable to lift themselves above the poverty line;another 22 million are currently heading inthe same direction. During recent years, manyof Brazil’s 4.5 million family farmers have improvedtheir output and income. Brazil’s ZeroHunger Campaign, known locally as FomeZero, together with an extension programmethat focuses on family farmers, have been at theheart of this success story.“During the 1970s, we had an extension systemwhich was very effective in promoting theagro-industrial sector”, says Ben Corrêa daSilva, President of the Brazilian Rural ExtensionAcademy. However, family farmers, whoproduce 87 per cent of Brazil’s cassava, 70 percent of its beans and 58 per cent of its milk,the staple foods consumed by most Brazilians,received little or no assistance, despite theircontribution to food and nutrition security andthe economy.All this changed when a government led byInácio Lula da Silva introduced an extensionpolicy that specifically targeted family farmers.The 2004 policy, which defines extension as a3%The proportion ofofficial developmentassistance devotedto agriculture in 2006.This compares with17% in 1980.13

CHAPTER 1 / The big pictureExtension empowersfarmers© Picture Contact BV/AlamyChristine relies on farming for food and income. Through a local agricultural program, she was taught about soil irrigation and crop multiplication,and how to get her crops to the market. She is now a leader in her farming group and teaches others what she’s learned.33millionThe number of peoplelifted out of poverty inBrazil between 2003 and2011 – thanks, in part, toreforms of the country’sagricultural extensionand advisory services.non-formal and continuous education service,has encouraged a pluralistic approach, withNGOs, farmers’ organizations, governmentdepartments and others being involved in thedelivery of services, which are free of chargeto farmers. The government has put its moneywhere its mouth is: between 2004 and 2009,the extension budget increased from less than50 million reais (US$100 million) to over 250million reais (US$250 million).The Brazilian approach to extension is the antithesisof the old top-down, under-resourcedmodel: services are tailored to suit the needsand demands of the farmers themselves. Evidencesuggests that the more participatory andwell–resourced the extension services are, thegreater the benefits for their clients.”In Papua New Guinea (PNG), governmentextension officers tell farmers what to do; theydon’t consult them first to find out what theirneeds are”, says Maria Senar Linibi, Presidentof the PNG Women in Agriculture DevelopmentFoundation. Much the same story canbe told for many other countries. Ms Linibi’sorganization has pioneered a “farmer first” approachin which the farmers themselves, ratherthan outsiders, set the extension agenda by determiningwhat their needs are. This has led to14

© H.Wagner/IFADThe project extension workers explain tomato diseases and pest control to farmers of Antanetibe, Madagascar.the adoption of new crops and improvementsin livelihoods and incomes. The farmer-firstapproach has also given them the confidenceto make their views known to government andpolicymakers.It is now widely accepted that the move towardsmore pluralistic, demand-driven, innovative,cost-effective systems of delivery, in which advisoryservices are combined with better accessto credit, farm inputs and the market, has thepotential to improve the welfare of smallholderfarmers, reduce rural poverty and increasefood production. The next chapter provides amore detailed reflection on the strengths andweaknesses of the reforms, and the measuresrequired to make them work more effectivelyfor the benefit of smallholder farmers. n“Gone are the days when there was one extensionagent for every 300 farmers. Today we’re lucky ifit is one for every 3 000. There is a job to be done,so let’s focus on how we can get the job done withthe limited resources we have. One of the wayswe can do that is by making intelligent use ofradio, cell phones and other media.”Doug Ward, Chair, Farm Radio International, Canada15

CHAPter 2Reshapingthe reform agendaThe Nairobi conference explored the future of extension and advisory services by focusingon four main themes, with all participants having the opportunity to contribute to thedeliberations.During the months leading up tothe Innovations in Extensionand Advisory Services conference,CTA and its partnersheld a series of e-consultationson the four main themes: policy issues, capacitydevelopment, tools and approaches, and learningnetworks. The e-consultations provided an overviewof current thinking and helped to shape discussionsin Nairobi.In the course of the conference, more than 60papers were presented during the thematic sessions,covering every conceivable topic related to“The conference identified success stories whichshowed that the right blend of policies can helpto improve the livelihoods of farmers. Thisrequires a policy framework that encouragespluralism, cooperation and competition.”assessing the current state of extension and advisoryservices, and the measures being piloted orconsidered to improve them. Some of the participantsattended all six sessions on one particulartheme; others moved among the different groups.All, in one way or another, were able to contributeto the elaboration of the key messages that werepresented in the final plenary. These are describedbelow.Policy mattersTwo questions shaped the policy sessions. First,can improvements in extension and advisory servicesreally help to reduce poverty and improvefood and nutrition security? And second, whatare the policy lessons learned from the last twodecades of reform?The policy group responded “yes” to the first question,but noted that these services must conformto a set of guiding principles, and respect the roleof small-scale farmers, fisherfolk and livestockkeepers. The group concluded that the reforms16

This was one of the largest gatherings ever held on agricultural extension, with delegates coming from 85 countries.217© All Rights Reserved

CHAPter 2 / Reshaping the reform agenda© F. Mattioli/IFADThe role of the private sector in the delivery of integrated services, e.g. inputs, was widely discussed at the conference. Here farmers load apick-up truck with bags of fertilizer at La Gina Censeri warehouse, Dominican Republic.3The number ofcountries in sub-Saharan Africa – outof 27 investigated –that have introducedlegally binding extensionpolicies.have largely failed, as there has not been anysignificant increase in accountability, efficiency,empowerment or impact. Furthermore, the privatizationof extension services has been to thedetriment of smallholder farmers and public extensionagencies.Nevertheless, a number of the papers presentedat the conference identified success stories whichshowed that the right blend of policies can helpto improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers.This requires a policy framework that encouragespluralism, cooperation and competition.Brazil provides a compelling example of thebenefits that can flow from well-designed policies.Here, the government took the strategic decisionto introduce measures that directly benefitfamily farms. The pluralistic approach, backed bysignificant finance, helped to increase agriculturalproductivity and farm incomes. The Braziliangovernment also recognized the need to involvefarmers in the formulation of agricultural policies.In short, it put the notion of “farmer first” intopractice.The policy group concluded that governmentextension agencies should not be involved in theprovision of agricultural inputs, such as seeds andfertilizers. The state has a key role to play in thecoordination and regulation of extension andadvisory services. It also has an important role toplay in designing policies that encourage a broadrange of different groups – including the privatesector, NGOs and farmers’ groups – to deliver integratedservices. Cooperation is important, as is18

© Foods Resource Bank/J.PatricoFarmers visiting the Nyaani Soil Conservation and Water Catchment Project in Kenya.healthy competition, which should lead to greaterefficiency.Extension and advisory services should focus onimproving the welfare of smallholder farmers.Larger, commercial enterprises can generally affordto pay the market rate for whatever advisoryservices they require. Government policies, andnational extension and advisory services, shouldalso recognize that farming is not simply a matterof producing food, fibre and fuel. Farmers are theguardians of natural resources, and national policiesshould encourage sustainable resource managementas well as more efficient food production.A study presented at the Nairobi conference foundthat just three out of 27 sub-Saharan Africancountries examined have introduced legally bindingextension policies. This suggests that policyand institutional changes are urgently needed tocreate realistic and remunerative opportunitiesfor smallholders. It is imperative that all countriesformulate policies that guide the provision ofextension and advisory services. The Brazilianexperience, with its strong focus on designingpolicies to improve the welfare and performanceof family farmers, provides important lessons forother countries.The renewed interest and commitments for increasinginvestment in agriculture provides a timelyopportunity to deliver extension and advisoryservices that are farmer-centred, participatory,well-funded, demand-driven and performanceoriented.19

CHAPter 2 / Reshaping the reform agendaBuilding capacityA number of factors are responsible for lowagricultural productivity, including a lack oftechnical knowledge, poor entrepreneurialskills, and meagre access to communicationtechnologies that could help farmers, extensionworkers and others share information.Overcoming these problems, and improvingaccess to markets, could help to increase farmproductivity and incomes. This is why capacitybuilding is so important.“In the past, when people talked about capacitydevelopment, they were largely referring toproviding technical knowledge and informationto farmers,” says Kristin Davis, conference cochairand thematic leader for the capacity developmentgroup. “Nowadays, the focus hasbegun to change, and at the conference welooked more broadly at capacity building usingan ‘innovation systems perspective’.”This assumes that the extension agents of thefuture – or the “new extension agents” – willhave a responsibility that goes beyond providingfarmers with technical information, suchas which varieties of seeds to use and howto control pests and diseases or make bettercompost. They will also require “soft skills”that enable them to generate and promote innovations,improve the management of farmer“We need to improve capacity at every level. Weneed to improve the level of training for farmers.We need to invest more in the training ofextension workers. And we need to strengthen thecapacity of agricultural colleges and universities.”Kahijoro Kahuure, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health and Social Services, Namibiaorganizations and agribusinesses, and buildalliances and networks of different groups andindividuals along the value chain.Developing and strengthening capacity – orthe ability of the human system to produceresults, maintain itself and self-renew – is importantat many levels. Farmers, public andprivate sector extension agents, researchersand journalists all need to improve their knowledgeand skills. Besides providing advice andthe skills and knowledge to increase productivity,capacity development can help farmerstake advantage of market opportunities, adaptto climate change, forge new partnerships andlearn how to make the best use of informationand communication technologies (ICTs).It is impossible to exaggerate the importanceof innovation. Farmers and others involved inthe food chain need to promote innovationsin production, processing, marketing and distribution.These should lead to an increase inagricultural output, higher incomes and moresustainable management of natural resources.This will require new ways of thinking anddoing business, and a willingness to embracechange.Tools and ApproachesThe third thematic group, chaired by MyraWopereis-Pura, addressed two questionsof fundamental importance. First, which approachesand tools are proving most effectivewhen it comes to delivering extension and advisoryservices to smallholder farmers? Andsecond, how can the “islands of success”become the rule rather than the exception?In other words, how can we capture and promotebest practice?20

© M.Millinga/IFADBuilding capacity is important at all levels of the value chain. Here a worker sorts and packages rice at the Magugu collection center,Arusha, Tanzania.“Tools” refers to the technologies used totransmit knowledge and information, suchas radio, podcasts, mobile phones and videoprogrammes. “Approaches” refers to the waysin which new knowledge and skills are sharedwith farmers. This could involve the use ofchampion or model farmers, farmer field schools,village information centres or questionand-answerservices – to name but a few ofthe approaches that have been used.The most successful approaches achieve thefollowing: they help to empower farmers andcommunities; they take into account localculture and tradition; and they frequently targetspecific groups such as women and youngpeople. The best approaches tend to be participatoryand demand-led; in other words, theyrespond to the individual needs of farmers andcommunities. They also involve a constantdialogue between clientele and service deliverers,and a process of continuous learning.Successful approaches help farmers to adoptpractices that make the most of a changingworld. This could involve, for example, introducingnew varieties or techniques that enablefarmers to adapt to a more variable climate orchanges in consumer behaviour.21

CHAPter 2 / Reshaping the reform agenda500millionThe number ofmobile phones inAfrica today. In1998, there werefewer than 4 million.During the past two decades, there has beena revolution in ICTs, with mobile phones becominga key tool for transmitting knowledge andmarket information to farmers. At the sametime, we have seen a dramatic shift in the wayradio and television are used. The proliferationof privately-owned and community radio stationsis providing farmers with high-quality materialin local languages and the opportunity toparticipate in the two-way flow of informationin ways undreamt of a generation ago. Radioservices are particularly important for farmerswho live in remote areas where extensionagents seldom or never venture and wherethere is little or no access to the Internet. Theyare also highly cost-effective.Each tool has its own niche, advantages anddisadvantages. Successful ICT initiatives tendto recognize and build on the existing capacitiesand knowledge of farmers and entrepreneurs.Frequently, different tools can becombined to good effect. For example, someextension projects have successfully blendedthe use of SMS services, the Internet and radio.However, there are too many examplesof ICT-based projects that have worked well,only to collapse once the funding ceases. Theyshould therefore be designed with sustainabilityin mind.It is important to ensure that the benefits ofICTs do not flow exclusively to enlightened andbetter-off farmers. ICT-based extension servicesshould target the poor and women, andthere should be a strong emphasis on ensuringtheir sustainability when managed by localcommunities.Learning NetworksInnovation results from collective action, learningby doing and the sharing of knowledgeand experience. Indeed, a learning networkcan be loosely defined as a diverse group ofpeople and organizations who willingly sharetheir experiences and knowledge. Thesenetworks can take many forms, from communitiesof practice to arrangements thatbring together farmers, extension workers andothers involved in the production and sale ofagricultural goods and services.© IICDSMS services enable farmers in Zambia to send feedback to a farming programme,indicating what topics they’d like to hear more about. The radio show, which issupported by IICD, is broadcast twice a week in eight different languages.Most extension and advisory services – whetherstate agencies or private – tend to focus on providingknowledge and technical information tofarmers. Most lack the skills needed to promotethe sort of interactive learning processes thatfoster and encourage innovation. Furthermore,extension and advisory services often decidewhat sort of information and help farmers need.This top-down approach is a serious weaknessand has been widely discredited.Extension and advisory services should recognizethat continuous innovation requires22

collective action and knowledge sharing. Forexample, a group of farmers might decide togrow a new variety of tomato or eggplant inresponse to a market opportunity. This may involvenew production techniques. The successof the new venture will also depend on a rangeof other groups involved in the food business–transporters, processors, traders – acquiringnew equipment, designing new labels, findingnew markets and so forth. In short, successwill hinge on organizations and individualscooperating together and learning collectivelyas part of an “agribusiness cluster” or “innovationplatform”.The discussions in Nairobi highlighted the factthat we need greater understanding of how topromote and facilitate interactive learning in acost-effective way. This may involve the settingup of public–private partnerships; it certainlyrequires good documentation and the sharingof the lessons learned by existing networks.The leaning networks group came up withfour main recommendations.1. Extension and advisory services should devisemechanisms that enable producers andother clients to reflect on the value of the servicesprovided and articulate their needs.2. Greater effort should be made to improvethe advisory services’ capacity to support interactivelearning along value chains and withinagribusiness clusters.3. Extension and advisory services should notattempt to replace existing innovation initiatives;instead, they should do all in their powerto support them and respond to their needs.4. Finally, much greater effort should be madeto link local-level learning networks to networksat the district, national and regional levels. n© IICDKnowledge is power. Broadcasting a radio show about information and communicationtechnologies for development (ICT4D) in Zambia. Extension needs the media.23

CHAPTER 3A declarationof intentSmall-scale farming will continue to play a vital role in most developing countries.However, if farmers are to fulfil their potential, they require the best possible accessto knowledge and information. The Nairobi Declaration – the key text for theconference – defines and describes the sort of extension services which are needed in thesechallenging times.© All Rights Reserved3The conference delegates had the opportunity to shape the Nairobi Declaration24

The Nairobi conference was anevent of considerable importanceand the largest of its kind everheld. “This was certainly no ordinaryconference,” said IbrahimMayaki, Chief Executive Officer of the NEPADPlanning and Coordinating Agency, in his closingspeech. “One of the aims of the conferencewas to establish a coalition of different interests,and in this it was successful.”During the course of the conference, the organizingcommittee oversaw the drafting of the NairobiDeclaration on Agricultural Extension andAdvisory Services, which was presented in plenaryduring the closing ceremony. All those who attendedthe conference were given the opportunityto offer advice and opinions as the document wasbeing finalized. The Nairobi Declaration providesa succinct summary of the current state of thinkingabout extension and advisory services, and themeasures needed to improve their performance.These are the main points in briefThe conference recognized that smallholder agricultureand family farming are of paramountExtension can and should play animportant role in increasing access toknowledge, credit, inputs and marketsfor farmers and entrepreneurs© R.Kahane/GlobalHortExtension and advisory services will continue to play a vital role in helping small-scale farmers to improve their yields and incomes.25

CHAPter 3 / A declaration of intent3 000The number of farmersper extension agentin many developingcountries today. Thefigure used to becloser to 300.importance in most developing countries. Furthermore,extension and advisory services can andshould play an important role in increasing accessto knowledge, credit, inputs and markets for farmersand entrepreneurs along the value chain, andthey have the potential to help farmers increasetheir productivity and incomes. There is an urgentneed for a coalition of public, private and civil societygroups to campaign for the revitalization ofagricultural extension and advisory services.During recent decades, farmers’ groups, researchers,extension agencies and others have generateda wave of imaginative attempts to reviveextension services, but with mixed results. Manyof the policies, strategies and approaches to extensionhave failed to increase agricultural productionand improve rural livelihoods. There is anurgent need for policy and institutional reform,an increase in investment, and the creation ofparticipatory, demand-driven, performanceorientedextension services.The Nairobi Declaration calls on all those involvedin extension and advisory services, fromnational governments to extension agents, farmers’organizations to international donors, towork together to achieve a number of objectives.“Le client est roi – the client is king – in the businessworld, but when it comes to farmers, the clientis a subject to be manipulated. There needs to bemuch greater respect for farmers and their familiesand we need to recognize their importance asfood producers and private-sector wealth creators.”Mamadou Cissokho, Member of the Comité de la Sécurité Alimentaire Mondiale (CFS), SenegalFirst, they need to develop clear policies andstrategies for extension in a participatory manner.Second, they should press for increases inthe funding of extension and advisory services,and promote mechanisms that ensure sustainabilityand the efficient provision of high-qualityinter-linked services. Third, the coalition partnersshould promote and facilitate a continuous processof capacity building and learning, as well asgreater use of ICTs and the media. Fourth, thepartners should develop and implement participatoryprocesses for monitoring and evaluatingextension and advisory services.Will the Nairobi Declaration be worth any morethan the paper it is written on? The conference organizersbelieve it will. “My organization, the Forumfor Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA),and others such as the African Forum for AgriculturalAdvisory Services (AFAAS) will usethe Declaration to promote reforms,” says MyraWopereis-Pura. “The Declaration provides clearguidance, and a common approach, about whatneeds to be done to improve extension services.”Kristin Davis, Executive Secretary of the GlobalForum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS),also believes that the Nairobi Declaration willprove to be a valuable document. “We can sendthe Declaration to policymakers and say, ‘Look,this is an important issue, and these are the sortof measures that need to be introduced if we’regoing to improve the welfare and productivity ofsmallholder farmers and their families.’”In his closing speech, Michael Hailu, CTA Director,pointed out that there has been a tendencyfor those involved in extension and advisoryservices to operate within their own small circlesof interest, with researchers talking among26

© A.Johnstone/PanosThe fruits of success. Extension and advisory services can help link farmers, such as those producing oranges in Ethiopia, to profitable markets.themselves, extension agents communicatingwith extension workers, and politicians and policymakersdoing likewise. “What we have tried tocreate through this conference is an environmentwhere everybody, no matter what their interestor profession, communicates openly with everybodyelse,” he said. “That is why it has been soimportant to establish this coalition.”Over the coming years, the conference partnerswill continue to provide a platform to discussthe measures and reforms needed to improveand revitalize the world’s extension and advisoryservices. n“Extension and advisory services now embrace ruralissues that go beyond agriculture alone. This callsfor well-equipped advisors, who are networked atnational, regional and international levels and canfacilitate learning and innovation.”Silim Mohammed Nahdy, Executive Director, AFAAS and Chair GFRAS, Uganda27

APPENDIXJNairobi Declaration on AgriculturalExtension and Advisory ServicesWe, more than 400 participants comprising: extension practitioners from public, private andcivil society organizations, farmers, policymakers and representatives of the research and developmentcommunity, academia, the private sector, donor agencies, financial institutions and the media from 75countries; congregated in Nairobi, Kenya from 15 to 18 November 2011 for an international conference onInnovations in Agricultural Extension and Advisory Services: Linking Knowledge to Policy and Action forFood and Livelihoods.RECOGNIZING:• That smallholder agriculture and family farming is the core contributor to agricultural productionin most developing countries, and therefore vital for achieving food and nutritional security goals, forreducing poverty and improving livelihoods and for responding to climate change;• That within dynamic innovation systems, extension plays an indispensible role as facilitator, knowledgebroker and matchmaker between service providers and support agencies on the one hand andsmallholder farmers and other entrepreneurs especially women and youth on the other;• That efficient agricultural extension and advisory services strengthen the capabilities of smallholderfarmers to take advantage of realistic and remunerative opportunities through access to knowledge,credit, markets and related services;• That a coalition of public, private and civil society actors at national, regional and internationallevels is needed to revitalize and modernize agricultural extension and advisory systems in support ofagricultural innovation.NOTING:• That the conference generated significant interest, mobilized multiple stakeholders and demonstrateda need for greater emphasis on extension and advisory services within the global agriculturaldevelopment agenda;• That in response to the disarray caused by underinvestment in extension and advisory services;extension practitioners, farmers’ groups, researchers, policymakers and development partners are generatinga wave of imaginative attempts to revive extension;• That a plethora of demand-led, situation- and context-specific, gender sensitive and climate-smartpolicies, strategies and initiatives are being implemented;• That this multitude of policies, strategies and approaches has yet to achieve the desired impact onthe agricultural and rural sectors;• That policy and institutional changes are urgently needed to create realistic and remunerative opportunitiesfor smallholders;• That national funding for agricultural extension and advisory services remains at a low and variable level;• That the renewed national, continental and global interest and commitments for increasing investmentin agriculture provides a momentous opportunity to deliver extension and advisory services thatare farmer-centred, participatory, well funded, demand-driven and performance oriented.28

EMPHASIZING:• The need for national agricultural and extension policies, strategies and approaches that are inclusive,context-specific and contribute to national, continental and international development goals;• The need for capacity building, greater coordination and professionalism in the provision of extensionand advisory services;• The need for enhanced use of information and communication technologies (ICTs), both old and new,and engagement of the media in expanding the reach and impact of extension and advisory services.BEING CONCERNED THAT:• Failure to clarify the roles and responsibilities of the various stakeholders and service providers anddevelop mechanisms for working together could result in further erosion of extension and advisoryservices, with negative consequences for agriculture, rural areas, family farming and smallholderfarmers, especially women and youth.WE HEREBY CALL UPON all key stakeholders including governments, extension professionals,farmers’, organizations, regional and global bodies, the private sector, civil society, developmentpartners and donors to work together to:• Develop clear policies and strategies for extension and advisory services in a participatory mannerand put coordination and quality assurance mechanisms in place;• Advocate for increased funding within national budgets and develop and implement public, privateand donor funding mechanisms that ensure sustainability, risk sharing and efficient use of fundsto provide high-quality demand-led services;• Promote and facilitate continuous capacity building, learning and foresighting as well as greater useof ICTs and the media which take into account culture and gender in the provision of advisory andextension services so that millions of smallholder farmers can move up the value chain;• Develop and implement participatory processes for monitoring, evaluation and impact assessmentsand for conducting research on extension to facilitate learning, accountability, efficiency and empowerment.The coalition of partners established through this conference remains committed to advocating andimplementing effective extension and advisory services for agricultural and rural development.Therefore, the participants call upon the conference organizers to continue to provide platformsat different levels for extension professionals and researchers and farmers to meet, exchange andimprove their capacity to mobilize smallholders’ knowledge, labour, land, water and genetic resourcesfor global food security.Dated this 18 th of November 2011Nairobi, Kenya29

The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) is a jointinternational institution of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group ofStates and the European Union (EU). Its mission is to advance food and nutritionalsecurity, increase prosperity and encourage sound natural resource management inACP countries. It provides access to information and knowledge, facilitates policydialogue and strengthens the capacity of agricultural and rural development institutionsand communities. CTA operates under the framework of the Cotonou Agreement andis funded by the EU.For more information on CTA, visit www.cta.int30

© CTA 2012

Cost effective, efficient extension and advisory services that empower farmers for a brighter futureTechnical Centre for Agricultural and RuralCooperation ACP-EU (CTA)P.O. Box 3806700 AJ Wageningen, The

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