“What farmers need now are technologies that are simple, understandable, and available on multiple channels” ~ Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, Nigeria’s Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Security
With Over 600 participants joining from around the world, a jam-packed opening session, several panel discussions, exhibitions, and two side events, Day 1 of the AAEW2023 has gone by extremely quickly! We thank each one of you for creating time to participate in this remarkable 6th agricultural extension week 2023. The event has kicked off on a high note. In case you missed something, do not worry. We have a dedicated team of notetakers, and all presentations will be shared in due course. Here are a few quick highlights from Yesterday.
The meeting started with introductions of the invited high-level participants. We had a big delegation from the European Union, IFAD who joined Virtually, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, Sasakawa Africa Association, the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, CAADPXP4 Organizations and Many More. Several countries in Africa and beyond were fully represented. To set the scene, and welcome participants to the event, AFAAS’s Director of Programs Max Olupot took us on a memory lane of the agricultural extension week, highlighting how the event started, where the previous five events were held, their themes, and key outputs. For details of the previous extension week, please check on our website. aaew.afaas-africa.org
We then received speeches and goodwill messages from various development partners- AFAAS Board Chair, USAID Mission Director, EU Representative, SAA President, Commissioners of the FMARD, and AGRA, among others. Partners highlighted the power of networks, the need for sustainability and called upon AEAS to be innovative to address challenges. One of the key highlights of the day was to foster meaningful partnerships to foster sustainable agriculture. As Dr Silim M Nahdy, the Executive Director of AFAAS re-echoed a saying “If you want to walk far, walk alone and you want to get far, walk with others.
We are happy to have hosted the Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi. In his remarks, the Minister applauded AFAAS for organizing the event and development partners for their support.
“A conference of this nature is an opportunity for African countries to channel and share best experiences all aiming to enhance agricultural production and productivity…. and to ensure that we harmonize what we do for the overall benefit of our citizens” Let me appreciate AFAAS for Organizing this conference, and the development partners such as the European Union, IFAD, USAID etc for supporting this conference. He also underscored the importance of Agricultural Extension and Advisory Services especially in tackling the challenges at hand, and challenged AEAS actors to use innovative approaches that focus on enhancing efficiency of the natural resource base.
“The idea of sitting down and coming up with theoretical frameworks is gone…what farmers need now are technologies that are simple, understandable, and available on multiple channels” the Minister said.
The minister unveiled and launched Nigeria’s first-ever national agricultural extension policy, and harmonized extension training manual for extension practitioners. The manual focuses on how to effectively disseminate agricultural innovations.
Organizations and individuals that received prestigious awards for their excellent contribution to agricultural extension in Africa were: AGRA, USAID, Extension Africa (Ex-Af), the Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services, Sasakawa Africa Association, GFRAS, GIZ, NAERL,
This was followed by a keynote address by Dr Selvaruju Ramasamy of FAO who said that regenerative agriculture is important for strengthening the sustainability of agri-food systems and that agricultural extension is central to making this happen. He highlighted various AEAS models and approaches, including the innovations therein, and pointed out issues of lack of integration, coordination, and standardization. He highlighted six critical actions required including reforms, capacity development, investment, coordination, partnerships, and adopting robust monitoring and evaluation frameworks. “If you don’t invest in AEAS, we are not going to achieve SDG 2 by 2030” Dr Ramasamy concluded.
This was followed by a panel session on salient issues in AEAS in relation to resilient Regenerative Agriculture & nature-based Agri-production eminent speakers from various actors. The discussion revolved around Strengthening AEAS policies, Capacity strengthening and supporting AEAS demand and Delivery Systems; Mobilizing AEAS and research in Innovation Platforms, leveraging digital Potentials, and adopting Inclusive Strategies/Approaches for Service Provision. Panelists emphasized stakeholder mapping and needs assessment, supportive policy frameworks, capacity strengthening, strong partnerships, and mass sensitization and education against harmful gender norms, among others
The event ended with a high-level discussion on development agendas of African agricultural research and innovation institutions (AARIIS) Moderated by Madam Bongiwe and Dr Dan Kisauzi, this segment featured leaders of AFAAS, CORAF, CCARDESA, and RUFORUM. This event echoed the importance of strong partnerships and highlighted pitfalls to avoid in building partnerships.
In the side-lines of this event was another exciting event on innovative private sector extension service delivery approaches hosted by USAID Feed the Future. This event filled the previous question of how private extension models work, and relevant success stories.
Join us today for the Second Day of the event for more exciting events including agricultural extension models used by various partners, Research to Extension to Farmers- catalyzing partnerships in Agric-Tech Side event, Innovation Platforms, and Best Practices dissemination, thematic presentations, among others.
With AAEW2023 upon us, please be sure to join the social media conversation using the hashtag #AAEW2023. and tag us @afaasinfo
By CIKM Unit