What is the future for Agricultural Advisory Services in Africa? This was the main question during the joint regional workshop organised in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire by the Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS), Feed the Future Developing Local Extension Capacity (DLEC) Project, the Network for Agricultural and Rural Advisory Services (RESCAR-AOC) and African Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services (AFAAS) and hosted by the National Agency for Rural Development (ANADER).
From 24 to 26 June 2019, over 40 participants from 15 countries gathered in Abidjan around the theme: The Future of Agricultural Advisory Services in Africa: Evidence and New Directions. During the three-day workshop, donors and partners of agricultural advisory services (CORAF, ICRAF, FAO , Access Agriculture and CIRAD), Directors of Extension, Country Fora Focal Persons, and resource persons on advisory services, shared lessons learned from evidence on advisory services in Africa and discussed ways to implement them through existing and new projects using AFAAS country fora as the basis for multi stakeholder platforms.
On the first day of the workshop, Pierre Rebuffel of CIRAD and Kristin Davis of DLEC presented results and recommendations of studies carried out on advisory services in the region. Representatives of CORAF and ICRAF also shared experience of their organisations and projects on Advisory Services. Prior to that, the representative of the minister of agriculture of Cote d’Ivoire, Mr Manahaya Coulibaly, Director of the Cabinet, graced the official opening of the workshop accompanied by the Director General of ANADER, Dr Cisse Sidiki. In his speech, Mr Manahaya Coulibaly called upon participants to take home relevant recommendations for actions.
The second and the third days, participants received more information on the GFRAS global project “Last-mile Programme”, funded by IFAD. The Last-Mile Programme intends to contribute to achievement of “improved incomes, sustained market linkages and reduction of climate vulnerability for smallholder farmers (women, men and youth), through capacity building plans to develop a range of skills across the value chains from technical to social, communication and business skills (using specific modules under the Next Extensionist Learning Kit -NELK). It was an opportunity for AFAAS as implementation organisation in Africa to set common understanding and buy-in, to get agreement on priority areas to take up at national and regional levels and link to ongoing initiatives, to showcase the model of public-private partnerships within AFAAS country fora and to highlight progress AFAAS country fora and prepare selected countries for the Last-Mile Programme.
At the end of the joint workshop, the Executive Director of AFAAS, Dr Silim Nahdy, delivered a vote of thanks to all partners: CIRAD, Access Agriculture, ICRAF, FAO and CORAF and the hosts ANADER and the Ministry of Agriculture of Cote d’Ivoire for their continuous support in improving agricultural advisory services in Africa. To participants, he expressed his satisfaction for the quality of the work done, and commended their inputs for the operationalisation of the LMP within AFAAS network.