Liberia - Extension Policy Development

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Sigman, Vickie - Extension Policy Development in Liberia …

Sigman, Vickie - Extension Policy Development in Liberia

Presentation given at the GFRAS side event on Rural Extension Policy, Manila 2012_09_25. More info at

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  • BackgroundPost-conflict countryRecovering from decades of mismanagement and 14 years of brutal civil warRemains a fragile statePresident Eleanor Johnson Sirleaf moving the country forward since 2006, re-elected in 2011More than 2/3rds of 4 million population engaged directly or indirectly in smallholder subsistence agricultureHeavy reliance on food imports (2009 – 30% of total imports; of this rice = 40% of food imports)Ag yields low (rice=1 MT/ha); post-harvest losses high; value chains severely underdeveloped
  • History:Ag Ext Service established 1960; top-down system, focus on technology transfer T&V less effective than cost warrantedAll extension services completely collapsed due to Civil War; following the war, the international community (primarily UN agencies and NGOs) provided extension assistanceCurrent StatusRebuilding public system – challenged by lack ofAccessible improved technologies and practicesClient-based program planning, implementation, M&EAdequate human, infrastructural, institutional capacities – limited human capacity, limited equipment for offices and demonstrations, and very poor infrastructure such as roads, market places, etc.; Sufficient fundingMany NGOs, limited private sector (rubber, oil palm)Preoccupation with distribution of inputs – often for freeUncoordinated, duplicative services of varying quality
  • Appoint Task Force MOA/USAID/FED membersTask force revises 2009 draft policyEngage FacilitatorPrepare Task ForceIdentify time-frame and develop meeting/products scheduleInform the process:-Review definition and purpose of policy: A policy is a formal statement of a principle or rule that members of an organization must follow. Policies address issues important to the organization’s mission or operations. At its most basic, policy is a course or principle of action, adopted or proposed by a government part business or individual (Australian Concise Oxford Dictionary). Common to most policies: state matters of principle,; focus on action, identifying what is to be done and by whom (NOT NECESSARILY HOW); provide an authoritative statement, made by a person or body with power to do so; and are a tool which makes administration easier, and allows peple to get the core business work of the organization done more efficiently and effectively. -Examine global trends in extension reform – decentralization, pluralistic, demand-driven, farmer-led, participatory-Examine other country policies (few other policies from Africa available at that time – reviewed the Malawi, Ghana, and Bangladesh policies)Obtain Additional Stakeholder InputMOA HQ staff: Deputy Minister written request to MOA staff for inputNGO representatives, agriculture educators, donors, private sector actors:Face-to-face formal and informal individual and group discussions and meetings E-mail survey (what are the particular agricultural extension and advisory services related policy issues that you believe should be addressed in the policy?)County-level officials (elected, appointed, other ministry) and field staff (MOA, project): Field visitsDiscuss and Debate Draft and Revise Policy – numerous revisions and drafts Hold Stakeholder Validation WorkshopDay-long workshopDraft document sent for their review prior to the workshopParticipants: lawmakers, donors and international technical institution representatives , agriculture educators, NGOs, other ministry staff, MOA field staff, private sector representatives, farmers, representatives of cooperativesOrganized by the Task Force into different groups to discuss and provide feedback on different parts of the policyFinalize Policy Document – incorporate input from workshop
  • Policy name: AE, EAS, RAS, AEASDocument detail and lengthTo include/not include the “how” of the policy and why/why notThe extent to which stakeholder input was incorporated in the policy Decision based on relevance and direction of policy: e.g., inclusion of donors as stakeholders; emphasis on ag education; some stakeholders wanted specifics of approaches mandated – decided not to mandate a specific approach
  • Areas of policy intervention (elements) to include and which to emphasize or de-emphasize and whyEmphasizedSystem characteristics (pluralistic, decentralized, demand-driven, market-oriented, cross-cutting issues of priority to Liberia: gender, HIV/AIDS, special needs farmers, climate change, NRM)Client stakeholders and geographic coverage (stakeholders: all engaged in AEAS – receiving and/or providing; coverage – national)Content, approach, and methods – content: all aspects of agriculture including livestock and fisheries; emphasizing importance of framing content within the context of farming as a business. Approach and methods – specific approach/methods not mandated but strongly encouraged group based approaches, use of ICT, and approaches/methods that are grounded in best practices, participatory, empower clients, and are sustainableActor roles and responsibilities (MOA, local county authorities, private sector including firms and women, men, and young farmers and their organizations; civil society including NGOs, CBOs, ag ed institutions, donors and technical agencies)Important statement regarding MOA role of coordinating, M&E, and regulating – gradually withdrawing from direct service delivery – but continuing to provide in the absence of others – difficult issue: MOA is, in some ways, the least able to reach clients, particularly those most vulnerable, yet the MOA is the default providerCoordination and consultation of farmers, providers, other civil society and private sector actors (researchers)Best Practices Group (alternative to r-e-f links) – new way of sourcing/identifing information on new or improved techs and practices and packaging them for ease-of-use by extension providers, producers, processors, etc. Involve anyone who has access to, or knowledge of, these new or improved techs and practices – farmers, researchers, experts from NGOs, teachers, donors, technical agencies, input suppliers, etc. Not only r-e-f linkages. Which, apologies, but I have rarely, if ever, seen actually work except in situations where the ag sector is higly-developedCoordination mechanisms – to be detailed – existing ACC, 3 platforms (1-farmers; 2-AEAS providers; 3-anyone having access to remunerative new or improved at tech and practices Given Less Emphasis-FundingPolicy states MOA will provide adequate funding – Liberia is working toward the CAADP goal of 10% of national budget to agriculture – The GOL is committed to agriculture development and is working hard to revitalize agriculture as the bedrock of the economy. Due to the prolonged social, economic, and human crisis due to the war, the cost of rebuilding the country is enormous. Un 2008/2009 the country was able to allocate 2.3% of its national budget to agriculture. It was decided that because of the situation, it would not be productive to try and provide further details of public sector funding for AEAS.-StaffingTension between MOA desire to staff-up at the county and district levels and the subsequent recurrent costs plus the limited pool of qualified applicants-Capacity DevelopmentPolicy recognizes the critical importance of capacity development yet leaves the details to be developed in the implementation strategy for the policy


  • 1. Liberia’s National Policyfor Agricultural Extension and Advisory Services Dr. Vickie A. Sigman MEAS Project University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
  • 2.  Provide information and engage in discussion on the process in which Liberia was involved in developing its AEAS policy So that others can build on and potentially learn from the Liberian experience. 2
  • 3. 1. Context2. Policy development and validation process3. Post policy follow-on4. Status of policy and follow-on 3
  • 4.  My Involvement ◦ 2009-2011 Ag & Enterprise Dev Advisor at USAID Mission Liberia ◦ 2012 invited back, through USAID-funded Modernizing Extension and Advisory Services (MEAS), to facilitate MOA to develop its AEAS policy 4
  • 5.  Post-conflict country ◦ Decades of mismanagement ◦ 14 years of brutal civil war ◦ Fragile state ◦ President Eleanor Johnson Sirleaf (since 2006) moving forward Agriculture sector: Smallholder subsistence agriculture ◦ 2/3rds of 4 mil population engaged ◦ Reliance on food imports ◦ Yields; post-harvest losses; value chains 5
  • 6.  History ◦ Ag Ext Service established 1960, top-down, tech transfer; T&V ineffective relative to cost; complete collapse due to Civil War; afterwards international community provided most ag extension services Current status ◦ Rebuilding public system – challenged by lack of  Accessible improved technologies and practices  Client-based program planning, implementation, M&E  Adequate human, infrastructural, institutional capacities  Sufficient funding ◦ Many NGOs, limited private sector ◦ Legacy of preoccupation with distribution of inputs ◦ Uncoordinated, fragmented, duplicative services of varying quality 6
  • 7.  Extension landscape is changing No existing ag extension policy (incomplete 2009 draft) National and sector policies call for a new direction to improve ag production and gain food security (PRS 2008; FAPS 2008; LASIP 2010) MOA response to President’s request for specific agricultural policies (ag ext, gender, seed sector, etc.) Donor investments encouraged by having a formal policy Underpinned by Nairobi Declaration 7
  • 8.  Key actions taken Key decisions made Key lessons learned 8
  • 9.  Appoint Task Force (MOA/USAID/FED; revise 2009 policy) Engage Facilitator Prepare Task Force (schedule; policy definition/purpose; global trends in extension reform; other country policies) Obtain Additional Stakeholder Input (Deputy Minister written request; individual/group meetings; e-mail survey; field visits) Discuss and Debate Draft and Revise Policy (iterative process) Hold Stakeholder Validation Workshop (day-long; participants and participant preparation; process; results) Finalize Policy Document (incorporate stakeholder input) 9
  • 10.  Policy name: AE, EAS, RAS, AEAS Document detail and length To include/not include the ―how‖ of the policy and why/why not The extent to which stakeholder input is to be incorporated in the policy 10
  • 11.  Areas of policy intervention to include, which areas to emphasize or de-emphasize, and why Emphasized ◦ System characteristics ◦ Client stakeholders and geographic coverage ◦ Content, approach, and methods ◦ Actor roles and responsibilities ◦ Coordination and consultation of all stakeholders  Best Practices Group (alternative to r-e-f linkages) ◦ Coordination mechanisms – to be detailed – existing mechanism ACC, 3 platforms Less emphasis on ◦ Funding ◦ Staffing ◦ Capacity Development 11
  • 12.  Importance of a committed Task Force Usefulness of Task Force learning, particularly via review of other country policies Necessity of allocating sufficient time and resources to obtain stakeholder input Facilitating policy development requires more time than writing policy Value of framing process within overall phases: ◦ policy development and validation (agenda setting and formulation) policy adoption  policy implementation  policy evaluation 12
  • 13.  Recommendations for next steps: ◦ Initiate process of formal adoption by the Government of Liberia ◦ Develop and implement an Outreach Campaign to create awareness and understanding of the policy at county and district levels ◦ Develop the Implementation Strategy for the policy as a matter of priority ◦ Prepare plans for and initiate implementation of selected components of the Policy 13
  • 14.  Design program to strengthen AEAS ◦ Respond to Next Steps Recommendation to plan/implement components of the policy  Design a program which would support the actualization of parts of the policy  To be funded by a donor, or different donors  To consider ongoing efforts to strengthen AEAS , (USAID via FED and other projects coordinated by MOA Project Management Unit – AfDB, IFAD) ◦ Designed by Task Force with virtual support by facilitator ◦ Resulted in a program description (proposal) to be submitted by MOA to donors ◦ Includes Outreach Campaign and development of Implementation Strategy (horse/carriage or chicken/egg) 14
  • 15.  Minister of Agriculture submitting the policy to the Government of Liberia for review and ultimately adoption Program to strengthen AEAS receives full support from Deputy Minister of Rural Development, Extension, and Research who advocates with the Minister of Agriculture for its submission to donors for funding 15
  • 16. 16
  • 17. Terms of Use © Vickie Sigman, Univ. of Illinois, MEAS project. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.Users are free: • to Share — to copy, distribute and transmit the work • to Remix — to adapt the workUnder the following conditions: • Attribution — Users must attribute the work to the author(s)/institution (but not in any way that suggests that the authors/ institution endorse the user or the user’s use of the work).
  • 18. DisclaimerThis presentation was made possible by the generoussupport of the American people through the UnitedStates Agency for International Development, USAID.The contents are the responsibility of the author(s)and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID orthe United States Government.