Conscious about the power of collaboration, CamFAAS this year convened several policy dialogues to consult AEAS actors on harmonising extension services in Cameroon.
“Extension and advisory services in Cameroon are not harmonised,” said CF focal person, Nestor Ngouambe, adding, “We have several actors in different sites offering services to farmers and this was not ideal. We need a harmonised approach to help farmers improve their productivity and for service providers need to add value to the business offering.”
The policy dialogues held on different online platforms brought together different stakeholder to discuss advisory services and harmonise extension services in Cameroon. CAMFAAS which seeks to be umbrella platform for advisory services, is seeking to have regulates standards and uniformity in extension service provision in the country. This will ensure professionalism among extension workers but also improve service standards, Ngouambe said.
“Our membership numbers are increasing and we are seeing the fruits of the efforts we have put in to help professionalise extension services,” he said. “We are pleased that we have the Ministry of Agriculture and other actors in the agriculture value chain that understand our vision. We think of having a sort of accreditation for rural advisory providers which will ensure that the services provided to farmers are harmonised and bring value to them.”
During the year, CamFAAS benefitted from capacity building training from AFAAS on information and communication including using online platforms like Zoom. The CF was able create content for its YouTube channel, website, Facebook and on radio to keep members updated on CamFAAS activities. The training on website management enabled the CF to attract more members who were concerned about how to develop their capacity on sharing information about their activities.
“As part of our stakeholder outreach, we supported YPARD this year to help youth agripreneurs share strategies on remaining viable during the Corona virus period,” Ngouambe said. The CF has also held discussions with the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) to partner on developing field activities for the youth.
“We learnt that it is important to target and know about expectations of your target stakeholders. We need to develop strategies to enhance the needs of the targets which will enable us to offer better services with extension staff being able find solutions to problems faced by farmers.”
Ngouambe highlighted that the bringing all stakeholders together on the table at the same time was a challenge because of different programmes but the virtual meetings have helped overcome this. However, despite the convenient of virtual meetings, many farmers in zones and areas with unstable network were finding it difficult to access the virtual meetings and CamFAAS was working on using radio programmes in local languages to share information with farmers.
“Appropriate technologies of having radio and videos are helping us reach farmers which are in remote locations which need adapted vehicles to reach,” Ngouambe said.