2011 Extension Conference website
The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA), the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), the Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), the African Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services (AFAAS), the New Partnership for Africa’s Development Planning and Coordinating Agency (NEPAD Agency), the International Centre for development oriented Research in Agriculture (ICRA) and the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) in collaboration with several national, regional and international partners including the African Network for Agriculture, Agroforestry and Natural Resources Education (ANAFE), Biovision, the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI), the Ministry of Agriculture – Kenya, the European Initiative on Agricultural Research for Development (EIARD), the University of Nairobi, the University of the West Indies (UWI) and the University of the South Pacific (USP) will organise an international conference to take stock of current policies, thinking and practice, successes and failures of ongoing and past reforms in extension and advisory services and build a coalition moving forward to specifically address meeting the future needs of small-holder farmers, marginalized communities, women and youth in a sustainable and cost effective manner. This conference integrates the GFRAS 2nd annual conference.
To provide a space for sharing current thinking and practice and building coalitions of farmers, practitioners, policymakers and other key actors to advocate and implement policy reforms and innovations in extension and advisory services; especially those that benefit smallholder and resource poor farmers, including women and marginalized rural communities.
There are four cross-cutting conference themes.
- Policy: What are the policy lessons from the past two decades of reforms of governance structures, reductions in public funding and increased privatization of extension and advisory services? Have they resulted in increased accountability, efficiency, empowerment and impact? What is the future role of governments in providing extension and advisory services as public goods? What mix of regulations, goods, and services is most appropriate for offering extension and advisory services that meet country-specific goals within any given socio-economic and agro-ecological context? What research is needed to fill the knowledge gaps?
- Capacity Development: What new knowledge, skills, and infrastructure are needed in light of the expanded role of extension and advisory services? How best can the capacity of the actors (farmers, organizations and networks) be strengthened in the short to medium term? What good practices exist in capacity development? What research is needed to fill the knowledge and institutional gaps? What types and level of investments are needed?
- Tools and Approaches: What innovative tools (including the use of ICTs and the mass media) and approaches are proving effective in the delivery of extension and advisory services? How can the islands of successes be captured and the lessons and best practices shared within countries and across regions with policymakers, development actors and extension practitioners? How can they be up-and out-scaled to ensure quality, cost-effectiveness, sustainability and impact of these services on agricultural productivity, sustainable livelihoods and natural resource management?
- Learning Networks: What is the role of learning in enhancing the effectiveness of extension and advisory services and increasing their impact? What institutional arrangements need to be put in place to support lifelong learning by farmers and other key actors for continuous innovation? What form should they take and how should they evolve? What mechanisms exist for monitoring and evaluating extension and advisory services to support learning and make them more accountable and which are feasible? What research is needed to fill the knowledge gaps?
- Shared understanding and enhanced profile of the vital role of extension and advisory services in agricultural value chain and wider innovation system within the context of the present environment for agricultural and rural development.
- Good practice and policy options for improving the future delivery and effectiveness of extension and advisory services clearly defined, endorsed and widely disseminated.
- Mechanisms for monitoring and evaluating extension and advisory services to provide lessons for policy and practice and contribute to enhanced knowledge sharing, learning, innovation and accountability identified, endorsed and widely disseminated.
- Priorities for research, capacity development and investments that enhance the impact of extension and advisory services on agricultural productivity, food security, sustainable livelihoods and natural resource management identified and strategies for addressing these priorities elaborated, endorsed and widely disseminated.
- Coalition of stakeholders committed to advancing extension and advisory services to contribute to developing resilience of small-holder farmers and redefining the global food system.