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Agricultural extension and rural advisory services: Proactiveness or reactiveness on climate change for food security in Africa

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Submitted by Andrea_Jimenez on Mon, 02/09/2013 - 15:20
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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.

 Use of ICT for climate smart agriculture:

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.

Corresponding Author 
Oladele O. I. 
Department of Agricultural Economics and 
Extension, North-West University, Mafikeng 
Campus, South Africa. E-mail: