Abstract: This paper presents cases of methodologies of the use of agricultural extension and rural advisory services for mainstreaming climate changes issues for the enhancement of food security in different parts of Africa. This is predicated on the fact that majority of actors in the food security chain are in rural areas in Africa and the most prominent source of information is through agricultural extension services. In this paper, these includes technical knowledge and involves facilitation, brokering and coaching of different actors to improve market access, dealing with changing patterns of risk and protecting the environment. This takes place within complex systems involving old and new service providers and even information and communication technologies (phones and mobile phones, internet, radio and television). The ‘extension systems’ are generally not very systematic and reflect the diverse priorities and accountabilities of a wide range of public, private and civil society organizations that are providing advice and information. In fact, some of these providers would not even classify themselves as “extension” but rather as community developers, innovation brokers, natural resource planners among others, however, they are all linked by a primary focus on providing advice and information. The full paper explores the methodologies such as cyber extension, community radio, drama, stakeholder platforms among others and highlights the application of these methodologies in different western and southern African countries.
As mobile phone penetration rates continue to grow at a rapid rate throughout the globe, farmers now have access to a growing number of agricultural information services both through SMS and voice. Extension services via short text messages and the internet are changing the livelihoods of rural rice farmers in the Pampanga community in the Philippines. In some cases, these services charge farmers a fee for access to agricultural content and advice, while others provide it for free through donor subsidies, or by selling advertising and providing other services, like user surveys. Farmers use cellphone or go online to access information from the IRRI Rice knowledge bank. They also use the cyber village to access information on good rice varieties to ensure that he gets more from his one hectare plot. Many are accessed directly by the farmer, although others rely on a trusted community intermediary with access to the device. In addition to mobile phone services, a growing number of agricultural organizations and agribusinesses have been using low-cost video equipment to create locally made extension videos to share the stories of farmers who have made the change to more sustainable practices with their peers in other communities.