African Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services

MaFAAS e-conference maps future of AEAS in Malawi

The Malawi Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services (MaFAAS) has drawn a blue print for AEAS investment in the country.

MaFAAS hosted a virtual conference on farming and extension this year whose highlight was the funding of extension in Malawi. The conference attracted 60 representatives from different organisations, including government, donors, private sector and CSOs. 

CF Focal Person, Hope Mpata said the conference came up with a value proposition in the form of a draft plan on the development and financing of extension services in Malawi.

“The meeting was a success because we did not just discuss how to fund agriculture extension but also having good leadership in agriculture to change the norm and going towards agriculture transformation in Malawi,” said Mpata.

During the year under review, MaFAAS was invited to a government launch of three strategies on food and nutrition, horticulture and extension stressing the importance of implementing these strategies to uplift the extension service in Malawi. MaFAAS expressed the importance of aligning its strategic plan to these relevant strategies.

MaFAAS was also part of the National Agriculture Content Development Committee workshop that was developing agricultural messages for the 2020/2021 growing season. MaFAAS played a role of synthesizing messages, ensuring quality and harmonisation.

Capacity building has been a key focus area for MaFAAS during the year. Through funding from AFAAS, the CF conducted different knowledge management activities and members were trained on ICT tools, said Obert Kang’ombe Zulu, CIKM Facilitator at MaFAAS.

The CF has draft a new five-year strategic plan with finding support from the Last Mile project. The plan will guide MaFAAS’s operations for the next five years and it includes relevant cross cutting issues like the engagement of women and youth in agriculture extension.

While the impact of COVID-19 lockdown meant that the CF could not undertake physical meetings and field activities, it adapted to working virtually. MaFAAS is in the process of updating its website to enhance information sharing and promote its activities.

“Our future plans include promoting the CF activities through the online platforms where we will upload different materials and also implementing a resource mobilisation plan to support our activities,” Mpata said, noting that the CF was also focusing on six thematic pillars on organisational development, capacity building, advocacy and lobbying, market linkages and value chain development, resource mobilisation, result-based monitoring and evaluation and networking and partnerships.