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Agricultural Extension and AIDS in Malawi
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Agricultural Extension and AIDS in Malawi

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  • 1. THE IMPACTS OF AIDS ON AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION SERVICE DELIVERY IN MALAWI
    PRESENTED AT THE 5th RENEWAL WORKSHOP, BREAKWATER HOTEL, CAPETOWN
    9-11 Nov 2010
  • 2. INTRODUCTION
    Background Information
    Government is main provider of extension services to about 2.7 million subsistence farming households
    Ag ext system requires high intensity of face to face contact, so EW attrition has high effect on productivity
    General freeze of employment in government due to structural adjustment in 1994/95 created gap in EW availability and service delivery
  • 3. INTRODUCTION (cont’d)
    No training & recruitment of EWs for 7-8 yrs so no replacement for losses
    Policy decision did not consider accelerated attrition of EWs due to AIDS
  • 4. Structure of Extension in Malawi
    Extension Planning Areas
    8 ADDs covering 28 districts
    188 EPAs: 1-19 (ave. 7) EPAs in a district.
    2514 Sections (ave. 13 per EPA)
    Extension Workers operate in a Section, ideally covering 10-20 villages or 750-1,000 Farm Households
    Intensity of EW to Farmer contact makes Malawi’s smallholder agriculture system dependent on availability of Extension Workers.
  • 5. Increased staff loss led to increased section vacancy rate
    Previous studies provided information on loss of staff to due to AIDS, but never related loss to agriculture productivity
    This study was necessary to fill information gap relating extension service delivery to agriculture productivity
  • 6. Research Objectives
    To estimate the effect of vacancy on agricultural extension activities
    To examine the effect of HIV prevalence rate on the section-level vacancy
  • 7. METHODOLOGY
    Our survey data collected in 2008 from EPAs in all ADDs on section-level vacancy and activities for the period of 2002 to 2008, and
    the 2004 Malawi DHS data from which we compute EPA-level HIV prevalence rates, being matched by EPA with our survey data using GIS
  • 8. KEY DEMOGRAPHIC & SOCIO-ECONOMIC ISSUES RELATED TO EXTENSION SERVICE DELIVERY
    a. Escalation of Section vacancy situation due to loss of Extension Workers
    Increased EW:FF ratio, from official target of 1:750 to 1:2,038
    Selected, mostly well off farmers, served by EW
  • 9. Source: Farm Family figures were obtained from National Census of Agriculture and Livestock (2006/2007), National Statistics Office. Extension Worker and Section information were calculated from the Department of Agricultural Extension database, 2008/09.
  • 10.
  • 11. b. HIV has reduced EW and farmer interaction
    AIDS related loss of Extension Workers and farmers means reduced intensity of contact
    Fewer EWs means only well-off farmers visited
    AIDS affected farm households engage in copping strategies that lead to impoverishment
  • 12.
  • 13.
  • 14. Government Strategies to Fill Gaps
    Training new staff through formal training programme
    Deployment of untrained Extension Workers (trainees or temporary employees) to manage Sections
    Re-employment of retired Extension Workers
    Allowing an EW and EPA supervisory staff to provide basic services to vacant Sections
    Engagement of village extension facilitators or lead farmers
    Model village or village cluster system
  • 15. Key Findings from the Empirical Strategy
  • 16. Productivity Function Key Findings
    Section vacancy did not affect #of activities planned, but significantly decreased intensity of Section activities achieved.
    Both complete vacancy & filling Sections with unqualified workers had significantly negative effects on total # of activities achieved, but complete vacancy rate had greater marginal effect.
    EPAs effectively managed to allocate Extension Workers across sections to mitigate effects of Section vacancy, but this risk sharing did not smooth out all the shocks and impacts at the Section level.
  • 17. Does Section-level complete vacancy rate have any effect on key agricultural extension activities planned or achieved?
  • 18. Are vacancy risks effectively shared/pooled among Sections within EPA to mitigate Section-level effect?
    The marginal effect of EPA-level vacancy rate is larger than that of section-level vacancy rate, which implies that risk sharing or coordination at the EPA level is functioning in the overall activities.
  • 19. Is there any effect on agricultural extension activities planned or achieved if a Section is vacant or filled with unqualified staff?
    Whether the Section is completely vacant or is filled with unqualified staff, the effect on the total number of activities achieved is significantly negative. However, the complete vacancy rate has a greater marginal effect.
  • 20. Do Section level and EPA level effects of complete vacancy rate and unqualified staff filling rate have any effect on agricultural extension activities planned and achieved?
  • 21. b. Key Findings from HIV Prevalence and Vacancy
    2004 Malawi Demographic Health Survey data on HIV infections among female and male is used to construct EPA-level HIV prevalence rate data.
    Two measures of vacancy: complete vacancy, and that including months filled with unqualified staff
  • 22. HIV prevalence is significantly and positively related to section-level vacancy in ADDs. However, within high HIV prevalence ADDs (Blantyre & Machinga), HIV prevalence and vacancy rate are negatively associated, which indicates that more extension workers are allocated to high-HIV EPAs within a high-HIV ADD.
  • 23. Does HIV prevalence have any effect on vacancy rate?
    Within high HIV prevalence ADDs (Blantyre & Machinga), HIV prevalence and vacancy are negatively associated, which indicates that extension workers are allocated to EPAs where HIV prevalence is high .
  • 24.
  • 25. PRELIMINARY CONCLUSIONS
    HIV was one of the factors that contributed to high vacancy rate experienced across the country between 2002 and 2005. ADDs with high HIV prevalence responded by reallocated more EWs to the affected EPAs.
    High vacancy rate significantly decreased intensity of agricultural extension activities. Filling the Sections with unqualified workers did not help improve the situation.
    “Care taker” arrangement to vacant Sections within EPAs helped mitigate some, but not all, effects of Section vacancy.
  • 26. EMERGING ISSUES FOR POLICY CONSIDERATION
    Sector-wide HIV responsive capacity development initiative to increase availability and knowledge of staff and farmers
    Coordinated programming of activities to increase synergy and time efficiency of the EWs
    Empowerment of communities to facilitate knowledge dissemination and sharing especially among hard to reach vulnerable households
    ====================================================
    THANKS