Extension workers: At the centre of development.

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Staff members and volunteers of Farm Radio Trust (FRT) travelled to Lilongwe University of Agricultural and Natural Resources (LUANAR) for the Malawi Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services (MaFAAS) seminar, on Wednesday July 9.  

 

The agricultural extension club of LUANAR made history as being the first college to be initiated as a member of the MaFAAS in Africa. The collaboration between the two organizations is the first step to encouraging a prosperous agricultural industry, and subsequently a bright future for agriculture in Malawi.

The seminar, hosted by MaFAAS, focused on the importance of agricultural extension services in Malawi, where knowledge gained from research is used to enhance agricultural practices.  MaFAAS is an affiliate of the African Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services (AFAAS), which, according to the organization’s objectives, “aims to ensure professionalization, standardization and equalization in the provision of agricultural extension and advisory services.”  

MaFAAS works with both public and private sector providers to ensure the extension services industry can perform to the best of its ability.  The organization promotes pluralism in extension service provision by working with different levels of organizations in order to provide the best possible opportunities for the industry and Malawian farmers.  Its main strategy is sharing relevant and reliable information to farmers, so that they can make informed decisions about adopting new and innovative farming practices to increase yields, and food and income security for Malawian farmers.

FRT’s Executive Director and board member of MaFAAS, Rex Chapota, enthusiastically urged students and industry professionals alike not to forget the role of extension work is “to fight information knowledge poverty” and that “delivering knowledge to farmers is [FRT’s] business.”  Mr. Chapota’s words left the graduating students in the audience feeling encouraged and excited about following a dynamic and interesting career in agricultural extension work.

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