Innovations in Extension and Advisory Services: Mobilising Women Farmers and Making a Difference to Food and Livelihoods

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  • 1. Capacity Development to Strengthen Agriculture Innovation for Small Holders Xiangjun Yao, Director, Office of Knowledge Exchange,Research, and Extension Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations (FAO) http://

2. Reduction of people suffering from hunger through access to safe & nutritious foods Food Security Elimination of poverty & social progress through increased food production, rural development, & sustainable livelihoods Economic Development Sustainable management of natural resources Natural Resource Management FAO global goals 3. Research and Extension 4. Agriculture & Rural Development Challenges

  • Nearly a billion hungry today
  • Price shocks of 2006 2008 demonstrated how fragile food security can be - undernourished rose by 8 percent in Africa
  • Population expected to reach 9.1 billion by 2050
  • 70 percent increase in food production to feed the world
  • Majority of increase in demand from developing regions

5. Agriculture & Rural Development Challenges (contd.)

  • Global growth of human population and ...
  • Increased urbanization, per capita food consumption increases & shifts to animal-based diets
  • Climate change impacts & increased frequency of weather shocks on food security
  • Since the mid-1980s, however, aid to agriculture has fallen by 43 percent
  • Rural extension and advisory services suffered in particular with decreasing support
  • Sustainable increase of food production will be critical for
  • meeting the global demand

6. Harnessing the Opportunities

  • Recent aid trends havebegun to reverse, evidenced by the LAquila G8 Meeting in July 2009
  • High-Level Expert Forum on How to Feed the World in 2050 , concluded the planet can feed itself provided that the decisions made are honoured and the required resources are effectively mobilized.
  • Extension has not remained immobile over the past 20 years, but has experimented and had successes

7. Capacity Development to Strengthen Agriculture Innovation for Small HoldersChallenges & Opportunities at three dimensions

  • Enabling Environments
  • Organizational
  • Individual

8. Enabling Environment level

  • Highly centralized and supply driven extension models
  • Conversely multiple and wildly disconnected extension models
  • Weak articulation with other actors in the value chain or within the agriculture innovation system

9. Enabling Environment level (contd.)

  • Too many project or outside funding-driven extension models
  • Need to develop the best fit, financially sustainable model
  • Based on small holder demands, authentic national policy development and planning and support (with a receptive ear to innovations from others) will be beneficial

10. Organizational level

  • Move beyond agriculture production focus only to food security, rural incomes and livelihoods, and sustainable natural resource management
  • Greater focus on extension as facilitators of innovation and supporters of rural innovation processes is needed
  • Strengthening of small holders organizations so that they can more effectively demand, partner with, and implement their vision of extension

11. Organizational level (contd)

  • Reach more rural women
  • Using knowledge management strategies so ICTs can help to improve human and institutional capacities
  • More policy analysis and evidence-based research on rural advisory services

12. Individual level

  • Urgent need to prepare new generation of rural advisors & their leaders
  • Upstream curriculum and university preparation of extensionists needed
  • Innovation brokerage needs new skills in communication for development, marketing, social change processes & technical competence
  • Training only one modality to increase skills

13. Overall Investments

  • GFRAS is an investment for all; we should support advocacy, networking, and skills building for strengthened extension
  • Increase investments to 1 2 % of Ag GDP or more nuanced figures like those recently developed by FAO for country level extension investment needs
  • Overall, Maputo level declaration levels of 10% for agriculture development, including rural advisory services

14. The Time is Right

  • New interest & investments in agriculture development & extension
  • Rich experience over past 20 years
  • National, regional, and global networkingincreasing
  • We can feed ourselves for the future provided
  • that the decisions made are honoured and
  • the required resources are
  • effectively mobilized

15. Conclusion

  • Developing the capacities of rural advisory services at enabling environment, organizational, and individual levels


  • Thank you!
  • Xiangjun Yao,
  • Director OEK of FAO