Farming and Agriculture Extension in time of COVID-19 at MaFAAS

There is a saying that a healthy farmer equals a productive farmer. This simply means farming requires energy, and energy is a product of good health. Agriculture Extension should be integrated with health-related messages because the link between agriculture and health cannot be neglected. For instance, a farmer who is at the symptomatic stage of COVID -19 cannot effectively operate in a farm.  The death of such a farmer implies the loss of the impact of agriculture extension on that farmer.  Let’s face it, we cannot lock ourselves into houses to prevent the spread of COVID -19 without food. During this   post-harvest season farmers need to ensure that their crop yields are properly managed to avoid post-harvest losses. A farmer must also be advised to store enough feed for livestock and adhere to animal health and welfare guidelines.

Stakeholders are taking advanced actions to reach out to farmers during this COVID-19 era. Farm Radio Trust (FRT) a member of MaFAAS is one of the champions in mainstreaming COVID-19 messages in their agriculture extension programs. FRT is using radio and other media channels like hotline and texting to share weather information and agricultural advisory services with small holder farmers.

Climate Smart Agriculture Youth Network (CSAYN) a member of MaFAAS is also championing several climate smart related activities. The first activity being online discussions with experts to help in structuring messages that are being channeled to farmers related to COVID-19. The organization works with young people through the use of social media, which is a youth friendly channel. CSAYN is advising the youths who are currently at home as a requirement by the government, to plant fruit trees and grass around their surroundings. They are also promoting backyard gardens and sexual reproductive health services to prevent the youths from contracting sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy and early marriages which may lead to their dropping out of school. Stakeholders are taking great actions to maintain their work and making modifications in implementing their activities to adapt to the COVID-19 crisis.

Youths managing fruit nursery as they have enough time they are transplanting these to their homes