POLICY BRIEF and WEBINAR: Extension and Advisory Services: at the frontline of COVID-19 response for food security in Africa

POLICY BRIEF and WEBINAR: Extension and Advisory Services: at the frontline of COVID-19 response for food security in Africa

30 June 2020. Recognising that the impact of COVID-19 and response measures are not uniform across the globe, FAO’s Research and Extension Unit, and Regional Office in Africa in collaboration with the Regional Network of Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (AFAAS) is organising a series of webinars to discuss the role EAS in the context of the pandemic in different regions.

Extension and Advisory Service (EAS) systems, through their network of actors (public, NGOs, private sector, Producer Organizations, farmer groups, etc.), can play an indispensable role in raising awareness of COVID-19 to reduce spread of the pandemic and assist in emergency operations, while ensuring that rural producers have relevant and accurate information, inputs and services to support their agricultural production, strengthen local value chains, both during and in the post-emergency period.

The objectives of this webinar were:

  • Brief on the key challenges posed by COVID-19 in agricultural sector, markets and supply chains that affect EAS assess and delivery;
  • Explore and discuss the potential roles of EAS actors and regional networks and policy aspects in providing essential services to the rural population in a short and medium term including socio-economic recovery;
  • Share experiences of key measures that EAS actors are undertaking by adapting their capacity, activities, and operational mechanism to respond effectively to COVID-19;
  • Highlight specific country examples from Cote d’ lvoire, Kenya, Malawi, Uganda and Liberia and responses to overcome challenges of COVID-19 impact and related measures;
  • Discuss the way forward in transforming EAS to provide effective support to food security and sustainable agriculture.


  • Mr Ade Freeman, Regional Programme Leader, FAO Regional Office for Africa – Impact of COVID-19 on food and agriculture sector in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Dr. Puyun Yang, Agricultural Training and Extension Officer, FAO Research and Extension Unit (AGDR) – Extension and advisory services (EAS): at frontline of COVID-19 response to ensure food security.
  • Dr. Rasoanindrainy Andrianjafy, African Forum for Agricultural Advisory Service (AFAAS) Secretariat. (based in Madagascar)- AFAAS’s experiences on supporting its national constituencies to provide EAS at frontline of COVID-19 response in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Ms Rose Kamau, Principal Agriculture Officer, Crop Protection Division, State Department of Crop Development and Agriculture Research, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperative, Kenya – E- Plant Clinics – A digital approach to agricultural extension. 
  • Dr. Nathalie Bogui Konan, National Rural Development Support Agency (ANADER), Cote d’ lvoire – Agricultural advisory services response to impact of COVID-19 on food security in Cote d’ lvoire. 
  • Dr. Richard Miiro, Lecturer, Makerere University, Department of Agriculture Extension and Innovation Studies, Academia Representative-Uganda Forum for Agricultural Advisory Service – Responding to the COVID-19 lock down: experiences of agricultural extension and advisory services (AEAS) actors in Uganda. A survey by UFAAS.
  • Ms. Nevena Alexandrova, FFS Expert, FAO Country Office in Malawi – Innovating for continued farmer field school’s engagement amidst COVID-19 uncertainties in Malawi.
  • Mr. Edward Perry, Ministry of Agriculture, Liberia. – Experiences on the role of EAS in response to the COVID-19 and outbreaks of Ebola in Liberia.
Policy brief: 

  • The global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is expanding daily. Governments around the globe are confronted with multiple challenges related to minimizing the devastating health impact and protecting human lives, and ensuring sufficient food supplies and the functioning of services to those most in need. All this while coping with the economic consequences of COVID-19, which is expected to push an additional 548 million people below the poverty line. 
  • Between present disruptions and future threats to the food supply chain, the COVID-19 outbreak has generated extreme vulnerability in the agriculture sector. It is therefore crucial to mobilize all available instruments, institutions and stakeholders from both public and private sectors and civil society to ensure appropriate and timely response.
  • Agricultural Extension and Advisory Service (EAS) systems play an indispensable role at the frontline of the response to the pandemic in rural areas. However, in order to adapt to the emergency context within the government regulations, EAS providers need to rapidly change their way of operating.
Field guide:
  • This field guide for extension and advisory services contains key information, and COVID-19 related activities. 
  • In French: http://www.fao.org/3/ca9472fr/ca9472fr.pdf
Previous Webinar

19th May 2020. EXTENSION AND ADVISORY SERVICES: at the frontline of COVID-19 response ensuring food security in Asia

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