Innovations in Extension and Advisory Services

Innovations in Extension and Advisory Services

15-18 November 2011, Nairobi, Kenya. Over 400 academics, researchers, extension agents, farmers´ representatives, media experts, policy makers and representatives from international organizations and donors met in Nairobi to discuss innovations in extension and advisory services for food and livelihoods.

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) organised this 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 integrated the GFRAS 2nd annual conference.

“With the global population approaching nine billion by 2050, we need widespread adoption of farming practices that can sustainably increase yields in a changing climate to feed more people, while also creating new job and market opportunities to address high unemployment and poverty,” Michael Hailu, executive director of the Netherlands-based Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation, was quoted as saying in a statement by the organisation, which organised the conference.

“Smallholder farmers – particularly women – produce the bulk of food in developing countries, often under difficult circumstances,” he added. “National governments and international donors must redouble their efforts to boost smallholder agricultural production if we are to reverse persistent food insecurity and rural poverty.”

Some relevant presentations on multi-stakeholder consortia on ARD:

Farmer-managed innovation funds drive multi-stakeholder learning processes.
Ann Waters-Bayer is an agricultural sociologist with ETC AgriCulture in Leusden, Netherlands. She specialises in social and institutional aspects of research and development, especially innovation processes that enhance local capacities to adapt to change.

She is also team member in two European Community-funded projects: JOLISAA (Joint Learning in Innovation Systems in African Agriculture), which operates in Benin, Kenya and South Africa; and INSARD (Including Smallholders in Agricultural Research for Development), which involves NGOs and farmer organisations in Africa and Europe. She has (co-)authored several books and articles on pastoralist development and on innovation processes involving smallholders in Africa.

Empowering smallholder farmers in markets: experiences in collaborative research with national farmer organisations to improve pro-active advocacy for smallholder market access.

by Giel Ton, LEI Wageningen UR, Agrinatura

Extension, advisory services and capability building along the value chain: Do partnerships between farmers and exporters lead to learning and innovation?

Maurice Bolo, African Technology Policy Studies Network (ATPS)


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