Friday, 22 April 2011

AFAAS SYMPOSIUM and General Assembly

Theme: Going beyond production agriculture for smallholder farmers
12-14 April 2011,  Accra, Ghana. Agricultural extension professionals and managers in Africa have gathered in Accra for an international symposium on innovations in agricultural advisory services. The third symposium of the African Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services (AFAAS) was under the theme: “Going beyond production, agriculture for smallholder farmers”.

Over 140 delegates from 36 countries in Africa, Europe and USA participated in the forum, which had the purpose of sharing information, knowledge and good practice, stimulate country fora and operationalize AFAAS as a continental institution for linking agricultural advisory service actors.

AFAAS currently works in
16 African countries
Executive Director of FARA, Prof. Monty Jones in a Keynote Address spoke on “Positioning Africa’s agricultural advisory services to effectively contribute to sustainable agricultural development: Issues and required transformation”. According to him the ultimate goal of agric advisory should be to reduce poverty, increase incomes and sustainable use of natural resources, stating that farming should no longer be seen as a way of life.
“Today we should look at farming as a business. Today we should categorize our farmers as business people… advisory services should no longer focus on increasing yields, should no longer focus on reducing risks; they should focus on attaining development impact and development impact calls for us to put more money in the pockets of the farmers”, said Prof. Monty.
AFAAS sees its role as a supporting institution that enhances competency of agricultural service providers, enabling them to better address the needs and demands of various value chain actors. AFAAS Chairperson, Dr. Salim Nahdy, stated “AFAAS will stimulate the process in knowledge sharing and capacity building, organization sharing at both national levels through country chapters but also at continent level through AFAAS and linking up with other organizations like FARA and sub-regional organizations, NEPAD and AU". A General Assembly after the symposium validated the AFAAS operational documents, particularly its strategic plan and its constitution. It defined the AFAAS governance structures.

Mobilizing the potential of rural and agricultural extension

Mobilizing the potential of rural and agricultural extension

This paper (FAO, 2010, 58 pages) presents an overview of current opportunities and challenges facing efforts to increase the impact of rural and agricultural extension. The starting point for this analysis is in recognition that the days when agricultural extension was synonymous with the work of public sector agencies are over. The ‘extension services’ described here may just as likely consist of an input vendor advising a farmer about what seed to plant, a television station broadcasting a weather forecast, a supermarket advising traders about what standards are required for the vegetables they purchase or a farmer organization lobbying for research that reflects the demands of its members for new technologies. Mobilizing the potential of extension is about enhancing this broad and complex flow of information and advice in the agrifood sector. The ideas presented in this paper describe how extension systems can contribute to the improvement of the profitability, sustainability and equity of smallholder agriculture within broader innovation systems.
Full pdf 1,119kb