Developing Local Extension Capacity
Extract of a study by the The Feed the Future Developing Local Extension Capacity (DLEC) project led by Digital Green, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Care International and GFRAS.
Spurred by the 2007-2008 global food crisis and following years of disregard, agricultural extension and advisory services (EAS) are increasingly receiving the attention of the development community. The EAS of today are not the same as EAS of yesteryear and, as such, are progressively viewed as a critical piece in advancing agricultural development and solving the challenging puzzle of reducing hunger and poverty. EAS is one of several agricultural preconditions, including farmer-focused research; accessible markets, inputs, land and profitable technologies; financial services; and a supporting enabling environment, necessary to achieve inclusive economic development and hunger and poverty reduction.
The traditional and linear view of EAS holds that researchers give extensionists agricultural production technology and extensionists then train farmers to use it. EAS have evolved considerably and are herein defined more broadly as: All the different activities that provide the information and services that are needed and demanded by farmers and others along value chains to know about and make informed decisions regarding agricultural practices in order to improve their livelihoods and well-being (Christoplos, 2010; Hird-Younger & Simpson, 2013). Practices include, for example, those related to production, processing, marketing and finance.
The African-led initiative to transform continental agriculture, Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Program (CAADP), recognizes that attaining the goal of six percent annual growth in agriculture, agreed upon by those countries party to the program, requires investments in a range of agricultural services including EAS. The recent CAADP Strategy and Roadmap to accelerate African agricultural growth and transformation for shared prosperity and improved livelihood indicates a key action is “to support agricultural research and development (R&D) and advisory services for the development, dissemination and adoption of technologies and innovations” (African Union, 2014, p. 22).
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), along with other bilateral and multilateral assistance, supports CAADP. In sync with CAADP extension objectives is the recently launched USAID-funded Developing Local Extension Capacity (DLEC) project. DLEC is a global project which targets Feed the Future focus and aligned countries in Africa and those on other continents.
DLEC, a five-year activity, is led by Digital Green. The project is implemented in partnership with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), CARE International the Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS) and multiple resource partners. By collaborating with USAID missions, host-country governments, public and private EAS providers, rural civil society organizations, and host-country research institutes, DLEC helps host-country EAS become more effective, accountable, scalable and sustainable.
This report is a component of DLEC’s initial diagnostic work and is a desk study of EAS in Liberia. The USAID Country Development Cooperation Strategy for Liberia 2013-2017 has Sustained Market-Driven Economic Growth as one of its Development Objectives (USAID/Liberia, n.d.). Relative to EAS, the approach to achieve this development objective encompasses support for Government of Liberia (GOL) reforms to redefine and reorganize its systems for delivering extension as well as support to enhance both public and private provision of extension (USAID/Liberia, n.d.). The purpose of this report is to provide information on the status of EAS in Liberia by building on existing literature and to make recommendations for future EAS interventions to strengthen Liberia’s EAS system that could contribute to the DLEC learning agenda. Recommendations are intended for consideration by any interested EAS stakeholder.
List of Extension Providers
The following list shows an excerpt from the GFRAS Directory of Extension Providers for Liberia. Some of these entries may be specially marked for having more detailed information in the database of the Worldwide Extension Study WWES.