Why is transformation needed in this program area?

A strong extension system is an indispensable tool for disseminating technologies and knowledge for increasing agricultural production and productivity, boosting food security, alleviating poverty, and strengthening agricultural commercialization, in order to help realize Ethiopia’s Agriculture Development-Led Industrialization strategy.

Many yield and quality improving technologies that can increase the production of market-demanded commodities have been developed, but they cannot reach smallholders without a well-functioning system to disseminate relevant information. Effective provision of market-focused extension services, together with technologies that are climate smart and responsive to the needs of women, ensures that the transformation of subsistence farming to a commercial production system occurs in a sustainable manner.

Ethiopia has established nearly 12,500 Farmer Training Centers (FTCs) with the eventual goal of establishing one FTC per kebele, each staffed with at least three DAs. Also established were Agricultural Technical and Vocational Education and Training (ATVET) institutions. In addition, various farmer groups have been organized to promote peer-to-peer learning.

In order to continue strengthening the national extension system, more efforts are necessary to expand the sources and channels of information to smallholder farmers, increase the differentiation of information disseminated by agro-ecology and market opportunity, and strengthen the accountability of the overall system to the smallholders it serves. Most importantly, the extension system must recognize and leverage the deep reservoir of knowledge and innovation that exists with smallholders themselves.

What are the objectives of this program area during GTP II?

The program aims at improving and orientating the extension services towards market-centered service delivery and strengthening the linkages and synergies among different stakeholders and actors to ensure that smallholders produce for the market. It also aims at enhancing the capacity of extension institutions at all levels for the provision of sustainable and gender-responsive extension services that will contribute to achieving its goal in GTP II.

What are the focus areas of this program?

The program will focus on the provision of tailored extension services to different types of situations and communities to make extension more market-oriented and context specific. To achieve this, the program will promote improved technologies in a manner that integrates climate information (agro-meteorology) with a focus on specialization and diversification. Moreover, it will also strengthen the extension system to provide agro-ecology based, market-oriented, climate resilient and gender sensitive extension services for various segments of farmers, agro-pastoralists and pastoralists including those in urban and pre-urban settings. In addition, capacity building for the human, physical and organizational set-up of the extension system at all levels will be given a high priority. Modernizing knowledge and information management of the extension system including tracking inputs and enhancing the promotion of pre- and post-harvest technologies to improve the quantity and quality of marketable produce and products will be effectively supported.

The second focus area will be on the strengthening of mechanisms by which the extension system becomes better coordinated, accountable and financially sustainable. To accomplish this, the program will work on strengthening of linkages within MoA to plan together and leverage each other’s expertise to increase achievements and better utilize resources whenever deemed appropriate.

Also strengthened will be linkages with other partners such as the Agriculture Development Partners Linkage Advisory Council (ADPLAC) and effective implementation of Monitoring, Learning and Evaluation (MLE) in agricultural extension to ensure accountability and responsibility in line with the sector-wide MLE system. This will enable, among other activities, the implementation of necessary changes before it becomes too late to achieve the objectives set.

Moreover, ensuring sustainable access to finances and their efficient utilization by the extension system is critically important to develop self-sustained extension services. Strengthening mechanisms, including IT based platforms, for extension service delivery and the dissemination of relevant agricultural technologies to users in a timely manner and at affordable prices will be emphasized by the program during GTP II.