Agricultural Extension Services Team

I wanted to share a video recently filmed for the upcoming 11th Annual EWB National Conference coming up from January 11-14, 2012. The team I am working with has recently shifted strategy from working generally in the public sector in Ghana to a focus on improved agriculture extension service provision.

The reason for the shift is that it has historically been a focus and that the recent attention from the private sector in our innovations demonstrates that the agricultural advisory services system in Ghana is a complex one. We need to work with all stakeholders who are involved in these services to truly address the root causes of poverty and food insecurity.

We believe that since extension is the primary way that farmers can gain information about how to farm better that it is an important strategic focus. This includes growing a higher quality and quantity of food, as well as environmental preservation and expanding livelihoods. In a region where over 80% of the population is involved in agriculture, extension is a very important service.

Extension is as much about the how as the what. It’s one thing to have a cache of good agricultural info, but selling it to farmers is another challenge. For educated people or those who make rational decisions, simply providing information is enough: they will make the most profitable choice, or the one that maximizes their benefit. But for all the real human beings out there, extension is as much about marketing strategy as providing good information.

This does not mean that we will no longer work in the public sector, it just means strategically we will not be confined to it. I am currently partnering with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) in the Northern Region of Ghana because I believe in a strong public sector in supporting agricultural development in Ghana. For instance, one of the things I am working at the Savelugu-Nanton district level in the Northern Region of Ghana to upgrade the Agriculture As A Business (AAB) program so it is better prepared and marketable to those in the public or private sector interested in implementing the program.

We bring a farmer-focus or centered approach to extension services and conduct rapid-prototyping of solutions for providing better advice to farmers so they adopt new technologies. The main goal is to have farmers in Ghana have a more active role in their livelihoods, in making a decision of what to grow and how to grow it, while choosing the options or opportunities available to them.

If you are interested in learning about the tools and innovations tried and tested by our team, please contact me at +233-105-0954 or sieravercillo@ewb.ca

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