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Focus on... Extension

Extension services are viewed by many as essential to equipping farmers with the necessary information, knowledge, tools and technologies they need to rapidly boost food production and improve their income. But in developing countries, smallholder farmers in remote communities are not receiving adequate extension services.

After years of under-investment, governments and the international community are beginning to make extension services more demand-driven, efficient and sustainable. From local language podcasting in Zimbabwe and plant clinics in Vietnam, to a 'Learning Alliance' approach in Ethiopia and the promotion of local innovations in Nepal, in this edition of New Agriculturist we focus on a number of new ways in which smallscale farmers are accessing information and training.

Local language podcasting in Zimbabwe

Local language podcasting in Zimbabwe

In Mashonaland Central Province, northern Zimbabwe, 100,000 farmers are accessing advice from veterinary health and agricultural experts via mp3 players. More surprisingly, this is taking place in a remote and semi-arid area that has no grid electricity, a poor radio signal and no reliable mobile phone network.

Date published: March 2012

Cassava - big business in South Sudan

Cassava - big business in South Sudan

The Jujumbo Farmer Field School might seem an unlikely partner for one of Africa's leading brewing companies. But after receiving support from FARM-Africa to grow high quality cassava, this well-organised group of 20 smallholders is among 2,000 South Sudanese farmers who will soon be selling their crop to Southern Sudan Beverages Ltd, part of the South Africa-based SABMiller drinks company.

Date published: March 2012

Better rice by mobile phone

Better rice by mobile phone

Rice farmers in the Philippines can now receive fertiliser recommendations tailored to their fields through an automated mobile phone interface. With a set of recorded questions, the system collects information on their particular field conditions and returns recommendations based on a model of nutrient management maintained by the International Rice Research Institute.

Date published: March 2012

How the harvest can pay for extension

How the harvest can pay for extension

A new Zambian initiative that links agricultural extension with market-orientated production is providing smallholder farmers with loans of the best varieties of certified seed, training and support throughout the agricultural cycle and, vitally, a link to valuable markets.

Date published: March 2012

Participation to promote innovation in Nepal

Participation to promote innovation in Nepal

In Nepal, an international network for promotion of local innovation has identified and assessed more than 200 examples. The most promising are promoted through public meetings, while others are further developed through a joint experimentation process involving farmers, NGOs and government staff.

Date published: March 2012

Public and private agricultural stakeholders join to boost extension capacities

Public and private agricultural stakeholders join to boost extension capacities

With only one extension officer for every 950 farmers, agricultural advisory services in Kenya have been very stretched. In response, the government is changing its methods of delivery and working more closely with private sector agents.

Date published: March 2012

Plant-wise in Vietnam

Plant-wise in Vietnam

Working with CABI, a fruit research institute in southern Vietnam has built a system of plant health clinics, which provide diagnosis and advice services and gather data to monitor disease and pest trends.

Date published: March 2012

Learning by doing in Ethiopia

Learning by doing in Ethiopia

To strengthen the business skills of Ethiopian farmers, Agri-ProFocus has used a 'Learning Alliance' approach to enable farmers' organisations to analyse their markets, develop relations with buyers, calculate profit margins and access services.

Date published: March 2012

 

 

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