After Five days of deliberation with over 50 presentations,10 side events coupled with networking opportunities, the 6th Africa-wide agricultural extension week has come to a close. The final day of the Agricultural Extension Week marked the highest point of learning, sharing, and commitment, underscoring the essence of collaborative progress and the future of agricultural extension and regenerative agriculture.
The day started with a comprehensive interactive review of the field visits, where participants shared their insights on what they had seen at the different field sites visited. It was a testament to the impact of witnessing practices firsthand, fostering a deep understanding of regenerative techniques and their potential implications.
This was followed by a thought-provoking presentation from the Director of Extension in Burundi, Mr. Clement Ndikumasabo highlighting the significance of innovations and partnerships in advancing agricultural practices. In his conclusion , Mr. Ndikumasabo emphasized collaboration, and establishment of a framework for exchange between researchers, extension workers, and farmers so that innovations are transferred to rural areas.
Agricultural extension works:
The success stories shared by the team supported by USAID Feed the Future Nigeria Agricultural Extension and Advisory Services Activity were not just anecdotes but living testaments to how strategic support and partnerships can catalyze exponential growth in businesses and uplift thousands of smallholder farmers and micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs). For example, the success story of Jakunne Enterprises shows how the Activity has helped a small business to increase its sales by 25% by diversifying its service offerings and investing in mechanization. Others included realizing over $4 million in sales following adoption of the Juvenile Production Model, empowering female entrepreneurs to thrive, improving customer networks through demand stimulation, and cutting production costs with complementary fish feed.
Further enriching the narrative were the success stories presented by three women researchers moderated by Dr. Emmanuel Njukwe, Director of Research and Innovation from CORAF emphasized the critical role of extending research findings to directly impact and benefit farmers.
The day progressed with the reading and endorsement of the communique from the workshop, signifying a collective commitment to the outlined goals and strategies. Please look out for the finalized version of the declaration on our website in the next couple of weeks.
The AFAAS General Assembly
The AFAAS Annual General Meeting served as a platform for pivotal decisions, culminating in the adoption of the communique and the allowance for virtual General Assemblies where applicable, demonstrating a forward-looking approach to embracing technology advancements.
As the day drew to a close, representatives from key partnering organizations—Sasakawa, AGRA, CCARDESA, FARA, CORAF, USAID Feed the Future Nigeria Agricultural Extension and Advisory Services Activity (Activity), shared their messages of goodwill, emphasizing the significance of collaboration, innovation, and the unwavering commitment to Agricultural Extension and Advisory Services (AEAS). Highlights from these remarks included; Building Strong partnerships to enhance impact; Reduce institutions from financial dependency, by mobilizing resources, accountability for sustainability; Capacity building of extension service providers in up-to-date emerging digital technologies; Collaboration with private sector and Gender inclusion is key
Professor Dele Tologbonse The President of the Nigeria Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services (NIFAAS) applauded all organizers, and participants for their unwavering contribution to ensure that the event was successful. During this segment, the event organizing committee awarded all individuals who were instrumental in organizing the event.
In his closing remarks, the Executive Director Dr Silim M. Nahdy thanked all individuals and institutions that contributed to the success of the event. He stressed the importance of strengthening partnerships and urged participants to keep the AEAS fire burning, as demonstrated during the event. He appealed to the participants to keep focused and take the lessons and knowledge acquired through the extension week to make a difference in the African countries, which is aligned with one of the AFAAS strategic objectives.
“ Use the lessons from this event[ agricultural extension week] and strive to become an authority in Agricultural extension and advisory services in your countries”, Dr Nahdy said.
The agricultural extension week served as a reminder of the power of collaboration and innovation, setting the stage for a future in regenerative agriculture that is not just sustainable and technologically advanced but owned by farmers and communities. Themes such as farmer-centered approaches, gender inclusivity, and sustainable practices echoed strongly, underscoring the holistic nature of the discussions and commitments made. In all this, the role played by extension is critical.
“The passion and dedication exhibited by participants have been the driving force behind the success of this week-long journey. Let’s carry the momentum forward, continuing to connect, learn, and collaborate in our collective efforts to empower and transform agricultural practices. As we bid farewell to this impactful week, we look forward to the lasting impact it will have on agricultural development across Africa. Until we meet again, let the conversations and collaborations sparked during this week continue to flourish and bear fruit”
By ICKM Unit