Integrating Innovative and Interactive Methodologies in Popular Extension Approaches: The Biovision Farmer Communication Program in Africa
Integra(ng Innova(ve and Interac(ve Methodologies in Popular Extension Approaches: The Biovision Farmer Communica(on Program in Africa David Amudavi Programme Coordinator, Biovision Farmer Communica(on Program Presented at The World Agroforestry Centre, Nairobi, 15 March 2011
CONTEXTa. A mix of historical land use challenges, climate variability and ongoing climate change has rendered livestock and crop produc;on systems too weak to prevent widespread and environmental degrada;on, increasing poverty, food insecurity, poor nutri;onal feeding prac;ces. b. Further popula;on growth con;nues to increase unabated – Kenya’s popula;on has reached about 40 million, supported by 23% of the land’s arable land. c. Sustainable agriculture (SA) is important for mee;ng local food requirements while providing protec;on and sustainable use of locally‐available natural resources. d. SA is par;cularly appropriate for the rural communi;es that are currently most exposed to food shortages. e. There is need to boost agricultural produc;vity and add value in the agri‐food chain in sustainable ways that will reduce food insecurity and malnutri;on among the vulnerable households living in rural communi;es. f. Access to informa;on on relevant technologies and prac;ces is central – Extension is cri;cal to this process.
What is Extension? Advisory services ‐ to assist farmers to make decisions on solving problems Extension educa(on ‐ educa(onal ac(vity which seeks to teach people how to solve problems by providing and extending informa(on Technology transfer ‐ ac(vity which facilitates the transfer of research results for scien(sts by extension oﬃcers into agricultural knowledge and then implementa(on into useful farm prac(ces, in local condi(ons Human resource management ‐ ac;vity for capacity building Extension can be used to describe the broad func;on of communica;on of informa;on from all relevant sources to assist in the process of change and innova;on in diﬀerent ﬁelds (agriculture, health, coopera;ve, etc) including people’s capacity and self‐suﬃciency in resolving problems and making integrated management decisions.
Common Elements in Deﬁni(ons of Extension Extension: • Is an interven(on – plays func(on • Uses communica(on as instrument to induce change • Can be eﬀec(ve only through voluntary change • Focuses on target processes and outcomes ‐ adult and con(nuing educa(on of men and women producers • Deployed by any person or public or private ins(tu(on technically qualiﬁed in the subject of extension
Common Elements in Deﬁni(ons of Extension 1. Extension as an Interven0on It is a goal‐oriented, planned, programmed, and systema;cally designed, ac;vity Intervening in terms of formula;ng objec;ves, designing and tes;ng strategy, deploying resources, implemen;ng and evalua;ng. 2. Extension uses communica0on as instrument to induce change Communica;on instrument used in extension for inducing change; uses subsidies or regula;ons; Communica;on involves the use of symbols, packages of maTer/energy which can elicit meaning. 3. Extension can be eﬀec0ve only through voluntary change Eﬀec;veness depends on people’s willingness to be persuaded, on the extent to which they see extension as serving their own interests and beneﬁt – purposive assistance to decision‐making and opinion forma;on. The logic of extension requires that one seeks to induce voluntary change.
Common Elements in Deﬁni(ons of Extension‐ cont’d 4. Extension focuses on diﬀerent target processes and outcomes At individual level – targets behaviours, aVtudes, knowledge, decision‐making, opinion forma;on, etc.; At social or collec;ve level ‐ adver;sing, poli;cal agendas, publicity, advocacy, etc. Target processes – e.g. cheap and quality food for consumers, nature conserva;on, preven;ng health hazards, reducing birthrates, ensuring a sustainable use of the environment, emancipa;on, greater equity, energy conserva;on. 5. Extension is deployed by an ins0tu0on Extension requires ﬁnance, it is a professional ac;vity, and it must be paid for. As an instrument extension is deployed by ins;tu;ons such as government ins;tu;ons, voluntary agencies, commercial companies, member organiza;ons/associa;ons.
Evolution of the Agricultural Extension Service The agricultural extension system in Kenya has evolved through various stages since colonial and post -independence eras.A) Pre-Independence Period Extension Approaches• Mainly tailored towards settler and commercial farming systems.• Well packaged programs that combined extension services with credit and subsidized inputs.• However, the extension approach used for indigenous Africans, who were mainly engaged in subsistence farming and pastoralism, was coercive in nature and therefore not readily accepted.
b) Post Independence Period extension ApproachesAfter independence, more persuasive and educational approaches andmethods were adopted.• Establishment of Farmer and Pastoralist Training Centres (FTCs &PTCs) in the 1960s and 1970s• Integrated agricultural development (IAD) approach.• Farming Systems (FS) and Training and Visit (T&V) approaches in the1980s and 1990s .• “Commodity specialised approach” used in the large exportcommodity sub-sector spearheaded by commodity boards and privatecompanies Generally, all the approaches were essentially top-down andlacked participation in articulating farmers’ demands.
c) Current Popular Extension ApproachesLessons learnt from the previous approaches, have led to more participatory and demand- driven extension approaches in recent years.These are intended to tap farmer participation and private sector contribution in providing extension services. Examples:• Focal Area Approach (FAA) – ( Use of common interest groups (CIGs)• Farmer Field Schools – Farmer to farmer extension• Commodity-based approach - Commercial enterprises• Multidisciplinary Mobile Extension Teams especially in ASAL areas Whereas extension has emphasised on increasing production, it is now acknowledged that linking production with processing and marketing is a prerequisite in transforming agriculture from subsistence to commercial enterprise.
Extension Reform Principles and Interven(ons o Par(cipa(on o Staﬀ mo(va(on o Gender‐sensi(vity o Broader technical mandate of extension in line with o Client‐focus global developments o Demand‐driven o Development and applica(on of informa(on o Pluralism communica(on technology o Priva(za(on (ICT) tools o Decentraliza(on o Monitoring, evalua(on and impact assessment o Loca(on‐ and purpose‐ speciﬁc o Ins(tu(onal linkages
Biovision in Kenya and Eastern Africa a. Biovision Founda(on for Ecological Development ‐ Bridges the gap between research and the applica(on and dissemina(on of research results through environmentally sound, economically viable and technologically appropriate agricultural methods to overcome hunger and poverty, and also supports co‐ opera;on stakeholders in this process. Its strategic focus lies in the dissemina(on of natural and locally available solu;ons in the 4‐H areas, applied and taught in model projects and oYen led by partner organisa;ons. b. Biovision Ac(vi(es in Eastern Africa – Diversiﬁed eﬀorts – malaria control and preven;on, Camel programme for climate change, Push‐pull strategies for soil fer;lity improvement and striga control, long‐term system control, IPM against fruit ﬂies, Income genera;on ac;vi;es, Biodiversity conserva;on & ecosystem services, c. Biovision Africa Trust ‐ The BVAT was established by the Biovision Founda;on in 2009 to focus on developing and suppor;ng processes that put into use innova;ons that can lead to market‐led sustainable agriculture for welfare improvement of resource poor small‐holder farmers in East Africa and beyond.
Farmer Communication Programme (FCP) Ini;ated in 2010 by icipe and Biovision Founda;on to address the synergies between the diﬀerent informa;on projects to ensure that knowledge, informa;on and ﬁndings are rolled out in a prac;cable format to reach farmers and other users.
Goal, Vision and Mission of FCP Goal: Improve the livelihoods of small scale farmers in Africa by systema;c applica;on of scien;ﬁcally and experien;ally validated research and educa;on. Vision:Sustained and produc;ve smallholder agriculture of the highest quality in terms of enhanced food produc;on, nutri;on, incomes, as well as sustainability. Mission: Advance and improve access to informa;on on sustainable agriculture through innova;ons that improve proﬁtability, stewardship and quality of life.
Objec(ves of the FCP 1. Enhance synergy among the informa;on communica;ons projects and link them to other informa;on providers. 2. Create centres of excellence in rural informa;on and knowledge services linked to livelihood improvement R&D programmes/projects. 3. Support building of technical capacity of informa;on change agents in R&D programmes/projects. 4. Engage strategic partners to scale up access to and u;liza;on of informa;on on appropriate innova;ons in various sectors of sustainable agriculture.
FCP Theory of Change Informa(on Produc(ve and Farmer Deﬁcient & Sustainable Farming Communica(on Programme underperforming System Farming System ‐ Enhanced access to information, findings, • Limited information about Higher yields knowledge on innovations technologies, practices, Higher incomes (technologies, practices, systems Improved and stable systems, etc) • Poor decision making food security Efficient information delivery • Low technology adoption Improved nutrition infrastructure • Low technology adaptation Stable environment Enhanced access to inputs & • Poor livelihoods Improved welfare outputs markets STRATEGIC R&D PARTNERS
Innova(ons for Informa(on Communica(on A) Infonet‐biovision (Infonet) ‐ an internet‐based informa;on plaeorm An online and also oﬄine system built with the aid of experts from reputable na;onal and interna;onal research organiza;ons. The applica;ons oﬀer trainers, extension workers and farmers quick access to up‐to‐date and locally relevant informa;on. The plaeorm contains detail on PLANT, HUMAN, ANIMAL and ENVIRONMENT HEALTH. For example, it covers more than 40 crops and a range of issues such as environmental management, malaria control, and nutri;onal illnesses. The programme envisages to have the website linked to market applica;ons to inform/update farmers on latest market condi;ons and the buyers (the market) on what is available. Contributes to one of the Na;onal Agricultural Sector Extension Policy (NASEP) objec;ves of encouraging and strengthening use of informa;on and communica;on technology (ICT) in extension delivery.
Innova(ons for Informa(on Communica(on B) Print: The Organic Farmer (TOF) The magazine is produced every month and distributed to a readership of over 200,000 receiving concrete guidance and prac;cal ;ps on how to use simple, cost‐eﬀec;ve and environmentally friendly prac;ces. C) Radio: TOF Radio A weekly radio show in Swahili trea;ng relevant topics in coordina;on with TOF Magazines. TOF Radio is received in Kenya and Tanzania and has up to 5 million listeners.
Integra(ng and Adap(ng ICT Services • Farmer learning resource centers/ i‐TOF Centres: Community‐anchored and run informa;on service Equipped with computers and laptops (OLPC) that use solar panels – to overcome problems of ICT infrastructure landscape Facilitate processes of learning and acquiring technical knowledge on certain agricultural prac;ces as well as business management skills Provide entry points for farm‐to‐market‐chain‐links (FMCL) – ICTs in the centre could be used in the short to mid term in improving access to markets. Such centres could easily graduate to oﬀer services such as fax, internet, typing, prin;ng, scanning, and they are informa;on centres, more like a research library. Through this market‐farmer‐extension service interac;on, high yielding input and innova;ve prac;ces can be communicated to farmers, and major agricultural markets can inform farmers on required product speciﬁca;ons.
Farmers Learning & Resource Centre in KARI Katumani
Extension Outreach Training Farmers on the Use of Digital Informa;on Access
Integra(ng and Adap(ng ICT Services – Cont’d • Interfaces to mobile phones and call centres – ASK TOF Taking advantage of the provision of very aﬀordable mobile phone services that are widespread, the FCP programme has established a call‐in system for addressing FAQs. Undertakes capacity building to other projects to use best available technology (e.g. Safaricom) thereby scaling up its impact beyond its own reach Envisages to partners with others involved in enhancing marker access to link farmers to markets by providing informa;on on product/service price, quan;ty, quality, and loca;on • Through partners Currently several outreach ac;vi;es, using Infonet as an informa;on base, take place through a range of diﬀerent partners – NALEP, KENFAP, NGOs, CBOS, etc.
Projected Ingredients for FCP Growth To achieve a sound and sustainable FCP, strategic eﬀorts and partnerships will be needed in terms of: 1. Content development and quality control processes – (Solid Research) 2. Outreach ac;vi;es to enhance farmers’ access to informa;on and communica;on tools (e.g. Farmers’ resource centres, informa;on hubs, call centres) – (Strong Farmer Par(cipa(on) 3. Technical capacity building in informa;on sourcing, packaging and dissemina;on – (Competent Change Intermediaries) 4. Resource mobiliza;on of both technical and ﬁnancial resources ‐ advocacy, networking and mul;‐sectoral collabora;on – (Commided Support from Donors and Policy makers)
Marke(ng and Sustainability of the FCP Cont’d The programme will be supported by: 1. Biovision Founda;on of Switzerland 2. Icipe 3. Biovision Africa Trust 4. Founda;ons and Ins;tu;ons 5. Research & Development Ins;tu;ons 6. Member donors (individuals) 7. Back donors
Biovision Africa Trust (BVAT) Objec(ves: 1. Fund sustainable projects and ini;a;ves in the agro sector that focus on genera;on and dissemina;on of informa;on on ecologically sound and useful methods to improve human, animal, plant and environmental health; 2. Undertake research into the special problems facing small‐holder farmers in Kenya and other countries in Africa in order to provide useful and prac;cal solu;ons thereby allevia;ng poverty; 3. Undertake educa;onal programs amongst the targeted small‐holder communi;es either individually or in partnership with other players (public, private, civil society); 4. Provide leverage (Grants, assistance, etc) to other public charitable trusts or ins;tu;ons established for similar objec;ves.