26-28 September 2012, Manila, Philippines. The 3rd Annual Meeting of the Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS) was hosted by the Asia-Pacific Islands Rural Advisory Services (APIRAS) Network. The meeting contribute to thematic exchange on rural advisory services (RAS) and gave participants the opportunity to discuss GFRAS strategic directions and functioning. Participants came from the public and private sector, civil society, farmer organisations, and other fields.
Objectives of the meeting
The objectives of the 3rd GFRAS Annual Meeting were:
- Understand and agree on the role of RAS in agricultural innovation systems (AIS)
- Strengthen RAS networks for results-oriented activities
- Update participants on progress in GFRAS
The main agenda item was the role of rural advisory services (RAS) in agricultural innovation systems. In reaction to a changing political, social, and economic environment, RAS increasingly play a knowledge, service provision, and brokering role in AIS, helping actors such as farmer organisations, market players, research, and education to improve their activities and linkages. Participants discussed the importance of RAS, their role in the AIS, how this role can be adjusted to changing realities, capacities needed by individuals, organisations, and extension systems to perform this role, and which incentives and enabling environment are required.
The APIRAS Day was
one of the side events
GFRAS and its regional networks also discussed ways of strengthening networking and sharing of experiences. Participants from South Asia discussed the possibilities of strengthening the virtual network Agricultural Extension in South Asia and ways of identifying RAS actors and champions from the different countries in this region.