The Malawi Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services (MaFAAS), a member of the African Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services (AFAAS), fills the gap that the District Agricultural Extension Services System (DAESS) structures had left due to lack of national structure. MaFAASitself is an umbrella organization of agricultural advisory service (AEAS) providers, actors and stakeholders in Malawi. The vision of MaFAAS is “The network envisions agricultural advisory services that efficiently and effectively contribute to sustained growth and transformation of agriculture”. MaFAAS also takes on its mission as, “to create harmonization, standardization and add value to initiatives in agricultural advisory services through sharing of information and increase professional interaction”. The MaFAAS is in line with priorities of the agriculture sector in Malawi, guided by the Agricultural Sector Wide Approach (ASWAp) of 2011 which promotes coordination in the agriculture sector.
The MaFAAS overall objectives is to:
- Promote the exchange of information, innovations and human resources by documenting available technologies and other information; disseminating “best practices; promoting partnerships and linkages with other networks, partners, stakeholders, and adding value to ongoing initiatives in AEAS.
- Improve the capacity of AEAS partners and members by promoting capacity building; enhancing professional growth of the AEAS providers and providing further training for members.
- Influence policies and programmes related to agricultural advisory services by documenting such policies in Malawi and sharing best practices and lessons learned; Improve the quality/quantity of AEAS in Malawi; Identify, encourage and support operational research in AEAS by pro-actively identifying issues likely to affect AEAS and develop strategies or mobilize capacity to deal with them; Coordinate donor efforts and input in AEAS, and Undertake any other activities geared towards development of AEAS.
The Steering Committee was established in 2008 during stakeholder’s workshop. The MaFAAS has over 70 committed organizations who participate in various activities organized by the forum. Among the organizations, the following stand out: Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR), Self Help Africa, National Smallholder Farmers Association of Malawi (NASFAM), Greenbelt Initiative, Farm Radio Trust, Ministry of Agriculture, Flemish Government, Care Malawi, Farmers Union of Malawi, Agricultural Commodity Exchange, and World Vision. MaFAAS has not yet registered as a legal entity however, lawyer has been engaged to facilitate the registration of MaFAAS as a legal entity.
The forum has developed strategic plan and stakeholders validated the strategic plan in the July 2012 General Assembly meeting. The strategic plan focuses on: Establishment of institutional structures, Resource mobilization, Standardization, quality assurance and capacity building, Networking, coordination, research and knowledge management, Advocacy, lobbying and crosscutting issues, and Publicity and communication.
The immediate activities/priorities of the forum:
- Brief extension officers on the policy dialogue meeting;
- Identification of gaps in extension policy;
- Establish linkage between DAES and GIZ;
- Policy review/strategy development to support implementation of recommendations;
- District level policy dialogue (5 districts);
- Regional level training on KM;
- Brief on the new extensionist;
- National training on KM.
The Focal Point Person is Paul Fatch.