EXTENSION IN ICT OVERDRIVE


Organised by: Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS)


Agricultural extension is facing new challenges. To be relevant in the rapidly changing global setting, extension needs to play an expanded role with increased capacity for extension systems and better skills for extension professionals. Many experts believe that ICTs may offer extraordinary opportunities to meet the emerging challenges of agricultural extension, and consider the integration of ICT a key element of the extension reform agenda.

It is widely believed that ICT-enabled extension systems are going to act as a key force for transforming the agricultural sector and farmers' lives by improving access to and sharing of information and knowledge. Agricultural extension and rural development practitioners have been experimenting with innovative ICT initiatives for agricultural information and knowledge delivery during the last two decades.

Mobile phone and social media applications are gaining popularity by sharing information among large number of farmers and other stakeholders in agriculture. However, the integration of ICTs with pluralistic agricultural extension actors and the agriculture value chain is still a challenging task in many developing countries. Comprehensive efforts are needed to realise the full potential of ICTs in agricultural extension.

Nov 6, 08:30 - 10:30
Room: Kivu
Stream: Plenary sessions

Sessions Moderator


Moderator of the session is Patricia Amira
Director, Mandala Ltd

Director and pan-African talk show host of 'The Patricia Show'. My role involves content ideas, scripting, editorial, creating strategic partnerships, production team management, creative input towards look, feel and character of the show as well as being host.


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Presentations


ICTs for agricultural extension: where we are & how to move forward?


ICTs are complementing conventional extension systems in coping with the emerging challenges in agriculture. Experiences from tele-centres, knowledge portals, mobile phone and social media applications from developing countries indicate that integrating ICTs along with pluralistic extension and agriculture value chain activities is crucial for realising the potential of ICTs in extension.

Organization : Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS)

The Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS) provides advocacy and leadership on rural advisory services (RAS) within the global development agenda. It offers a forum to bring together and promote interaction and learning among the diverse stake-holders involved in RAS. By working at different levels, GFRAS helps regional actors to present their perspectives in the global development arena, as well as providing a mechanism for global perspectives to reach the regional levels. This two-way flow strengthens the role of advisory services in agricultural develop-ment with the goal of reducing hunger and poverty.


Revisiting extension with the changing architecture of information: CTA’s perspectives


CTA’s experience with extension services was consolidated through its 2011  conference in Nairobi. A number of lessons have been learned that highlight the systemic approach to extension, and calls for identification of the various components for an effective extension service. The catalytic role of ICTs in extension must be recognised. 

Organization : CTA

A text message away: ICTs as a tool to improve extension?


The accelerating adoption of ICTs all over the world provides a great opportunity. The penetration of cellular phone technology is largely non-discriminatory – that is, even smallholder farmers with low-technology farms can increase their revenue by using ICTs. Taking advantage of these opportunities depends on connectivity, capability and relevant content.


Putting the horse in front of the cart: a strategic approach to designing ICT-supported extension


It is easy to get very excited about certain ICT applications on their own, but this will go nowhere. ICTs are a part of the extension process and are most effective if combined with established good extension practice. For extension and ICTs to be effective, the service has to be client-focused.


Leveraging technology and social networks to amplify agricultural extension


Digital Green trains rural communities to produce videos by farmers, of farmers, and for farmers to exchange best agricultural practices that can boost farm productivity and improve nutrition. This approach has been found to improve the efficiency of existing government and NGO extension systems by a factor of ten times, per dollar spent.