In this issue, we report on several conferences and meetings:
The GFRAS Annual Meeting 2017 held in Australia
A workshop on the New Extensionist Learning Kit in India;
The Africa-wide Extension Week 2017;
The annual meeting of the Mekong Extension Learning Alliance MELA.
In addition, we’d like to draw your attention to some new platforms and publications.
8th GFRAS Annual Meeting 2017 in Australia
Last year’s very successful Annual Meeting took place in Ingham and Townsville, Australia. The topic of “Rural Advisory Services and empowered youth for balanced transformation in rural and urban communities” spurred many discussions. You can find a report, all the presentations as well as other material on the meeting website. A big ‘thank you’ goes out to all the participants and the local organisers, in particular, of the Australasia-Pacific Extension Network APEN.
Workshop on the New Extensionist Learning Kit in India
In collaboration with MANAGE, CRISP, and IAEN, AESA organised a training workshop for disseminating ‘The New Extensionist Learning Kit’ on 5-6 October 2017. The workshop was aimed at promoting NELK among key personnel engaged in training and education of extension professionals in India. Twenty-five trainers or faculty engaged in capacity development of extension professionals within their organisations participated in the programme.
AESA Agricultural Extension in South Asia Network
Scaling up Climate Smart Agriculture: Integrating Youth, Women, and the Digital Revolution
Under this topic, the 3rd Africa-wide Agricultural Extension Week took place in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, from 30 October to 3 November 2017. More than 700 delegates from inside and outside Africa addressed the threat posed by climate change and variability to sustainable agricultural growth and rural transformation, and presented their recommendations in the Durban declaration. GFRAS, in close collaboration with AFAAS and DLEC, organised a side event on Strengthening Extension and Rural Advisory Services Systems in Africa, where the role, relevance, and functions of Country Fora in RAS systems was highlighted, and which led to several national actions plans.
AFAAS African Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services
Enhancing Knowledge Sharing Along the Mekong River
The 3rd MELA Annual Meeting was held from 30 October to 1 November 2017, in Siem Reap, Kingdom of Cambodia. It gathered participants from all the countries in the Mekong region: Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Participants discussed the role of RAS in nutrition-sensitive agriculture and food security with some very concrete points, such as the impact of the misuse of pesticides.
MELA Mekong Extension Learning Alliance
New Platform on Organic Farming
With the aim of improving organic production and filling the gap in the exchange of information between farmers, farm advisers and scientists, several European organisations active in organic farming, in collaboration with EUFRAS and with funding from the European Union have created the OK-Net Arable Platform. The web platform provides tools and resources for finding solutions to problems in organic arable cropping along with a discussion space for platform users. It is available in 10 languages - Bulgarian, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, French, German, Hungarian, Italian and Latvian.
EUFRAS European Forum for Rural Advisory Services
Making a Difference in Food Security and Nutrition
From 9-13 October 2017, the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) held its 44th session at the FAO Headquarters in Rome, Italy. The GFRAS Secretariat took part and also set up a stall at the information market. GFRAS was especially interested in the part of the CFS sessions that had the topic of ‘Urbanization, rural transformation and implications for food security and nutrition’, as this related directly to the topic of the 2017 annual meeting.
CFS UN Committee on World Food Security
Capacity Assessment of Regional Networks
In line with its main goal for the coming years, to strengthen the regional networks, in 2016 GFRAS started a process of assessing their capacities. Four areas were examined: organisational and institutional functioning; advocacy and policy; knowledge management and information communications technologies (ICT) use as well as professionalization of rural advisory services. In 2017, a synthesis report was prepared, which is now available on the GFRAS website.
GFRAS Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services
DLEC - Community of Practice
This past December, the Feed the Future Developing Local Extension Capacity (DLEC) project held its first annual global community of practice event in Washington, D.C. Led by Digital Green in partnership with Care International, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and GFRAS, DLEC is an action-oriented, evidence-based learning project that generates evidence through diagnostic studies and engagement activities, which in turn are used as a catalyst for mobilizing global and country-level communities of practice to advocate for improved extension and advisory services (EAS).
DLEC Developing Local Extension Capacity
With kind regards,
Lorenz Schwarz GFRAS Secretariat February - 2018
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Who is who in RAS
MANAGE – National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management
Founded in 1987 by the Indian government, MANAGE is working on effective ways to manage the extension system in light of the rapidly changing agricultural sector. MANAGE focuses on education and training of extension professionals and offers them guidance and support for the various transformation processes.
A Tribute to Dr. Malcom Hazelmann
With great sadness we learned of the passing of Dr. Seumanutafa (Seu) Malcolm Hazelman this morning in Apia, Samoa, in January. Seu served the Asia-Pacific region for many years in various functions: as a lecturer at the University of the South Pacific - Alafua Campus (USP), as the first director of the Land Resources Division of the Pacific Community (SPC) and as a rural development extensionist for the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO).
Dr. Hazelman was one of the founders of the Pacific Isalnds Rural Advisory Services Network (PIRAS) and served as its president over the past 4 years. Dr. Hazelman was instrumental in setting up PIRAS and in moving it to an active and engage network.
Service Provision by Agri-cooperatives Engaged in high Value Markets
Markets for agricultural products with special quality, environmental, and social attributes can provide a profitable outlet for poor farmers in developing countries. However, participation in high value markets requires that farmers commit to deliver pre-identified volumes on time and in the required form and quality – a tall order in many cases. Agri-cooperatives play an important role in linking farmers to these markets; they forge business relations with distant buyers, realise economies of scale in processing and marketing, and provide advisory and other services to help their members respond to buyer demand.