Agricutural Extension Services
Agriculture extension system is highly knowledge intensive and involves the production and dissemination of knowledge to the end users who are the farmers. Hence the success of such a system depends to a large extent on knowledge management. The major role of managers therefore, in agriculture extension system is to ensure that they get relevant knowledge wherever this is produced. The staff members of the extension organization use their creativity to package new knowledge for ease of communication to farmers. In addition, staff members should have access to all knowledge which is available in the organization and one learns from experience on how to develop more effective extension methods. A social climate, which stimulates sharing of knowledge and a critical analysis of the knowledge developed or used by technical staff is essential. The extension system will therefore serve as a facilitating agent and coordinate all actors along the value chain involved in service delivery.
The mandate: “To promote and support sustainable and market oriented agricultural production, food security and household incomes”.
The Directorate of Agricultural Extension Services has two Departments:
Department of Extension and Skills Management
This department has 3 divisons which include:
a) Division of Information and Communication.
b) Division of Skills Management.
c) Division of Agricultural Extension Coordination.
Department of Agricultural Investment and Enterprise Development
a) Division of Agribusiness Services.
b) Division of Primary Processing and Value Addition.
Main Objectives of the Directorate of Agricultural Extension Services
- To strengthen human and institutional capacity for delivery of agricultural extension services in local governments and the Private Sector.
- To strengthen and support linkages and collaboration nationally within and with other sectors as well as regionally and internationally on issues pertaining agricultural extension service delivery.
- To Promote agribusiness services and agricultural value chain development in close collaboration with the private sector.
- To render advisory and technical services through local governments related to crop, animal and fisheries production, and strengthen.
- To continuously identify emerging areas for public and private sector investments and advise Uganda Investment Authority and the private sector accordingly.
- Policy formulation and reviews on matters related to agricultural extension.
- Strengthen coordination of local government production departments, NGOs and private sector in provision of agricultural extension services.
- Provide technical advice on agricultural extension and advisory services.
- Setting standards for service delivery in local governments and private sector.
- Quality assurance of agricultural extension services.
- Support agricultural enterprise development nationally.
- Provide information and communication services to MAAIF and local governments.
- Strengthen inter-institutional linkages between research, educational and farmer institutions.
- Promote agribusiness services and agricultural value chain development in close collaboration with the private sector.
- Support farmer institutional development through capacity building programs.
- Support skilling and manpower development in the agricultural sector.
- Identify investment opportunities in the agricultural sector.
ORGANOGRAM OF THE DIRECTORATE OF AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION SERVICES
DAES Linkages with other Technical Directorates
The DAES hopes to strengthened linkages with the Directorates of Animal Resources, Crop Resources and Fisheries Resources. The three technical Directorates will play a technical supportive role of generating technical information that will be professionally organized by the Directorate of Agricultural Extension Services for dissemination to stakeholders and farmers. The extension service will regularly update the technical Directorates on the technical requirements by farmers in field, local governments and other stakeholders and jointly prepare relevant technical materials that address their needs. The technical Directorates will also participate in capacity building programs organized by the DAES by providing technical resource persons. They will also jointly participate in packaging of research technologies into communicable materials. Development of commodity value chains is a responsibility of the technical directorates. They will therefore, define the kind of extension services required along the different value chains; and work with DAES to ensure that actors along the value chains get relevant extension services. The DAES will monitor supplies of agricultural inputs to farmers and other value chain actors and advise the technical directorates on the regulatory requirements.
Linkages with Research
At research level, the DAES will strengthened linkages between research, extension and farmer institutions which are essential for effective agricultural extension service delivery. The extension system will provide a platform to identify farmer and other stakeholders needs along the value chain. Joint stakeholder planning, review and priority setting meetings will be regularly conducted both at national and zonal levels. The Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institutes (ZARDIs) shall work closely with the District Production Departments to ensure that the research needs of the farmers and other value actors are captured and planned in the national research agenda. Universities and other tertiary institutions as well as private researchers will be facilitated by the extension system to access relevant information that needs inquiry. The research system will also support community innovations by capturing, documenting and upgrading indigenous knowledge (Tacit Knowledge). In this way a problem identification and problem solving mechanism will be established.
Linkages with Training Institutions
Universities, Agricultural Colleges and other tertiary training institutions play a critical role in research and manpower development for the agricultural sector. Building strong institutional linkages between the MAAIF and educational institutions is central to the new policy agenda. The Agricultural Training institutions have been returned from Ministry of Education and Sports to MAAIF and will be technically guided by the Directorate of Agricultural Extension Services. Deliberate efforts to establish collaboration between the Ministry and all public agricultural educational institutions will be undertaken to ensure relevant manpower development for the agricultural sector. This will be done through joint curriculum reviews, establishing strong student internship programs, accreditation certificate course in agricultural extension, refresher training courses for agricultural extension staff, Para-professional courses and supporting postgraduate training for extension officers.
Institutional Arrangements at Local Government
The ministry will establish effective and productive working relationship with local governments related to decentralize agricultural functions. Efforts will be made to improve understanding of the respective roles of the key players on each of their functions, considering that the Ministry still retains responsibilities over these decentralized functions as stipulated in the constitution of 1995 and Local Government Act 1998. Measures will be put in place to ensure institutional compliance regarding feedback and feed-forward mechanisms. Deliberate administrative measures will be instituted to ensure that communication channels are established between the technical departments at MAAIF and local governments.
The District Production and Marketing Officer’s role has been strengthened and he/she will be technically and administratively responsible for all agricultural programs in the district. He/she will be supported by the District Agricultural Officer, District Veterinary Officer, District Entomologist and District Fisheries Officer, all at a rank of Principal Officer. Each of these officers will be supported by subject matter specialists at senior level. It is mandatory that the District Production and Marketing Officer will technically report to the Director of Agricultural Extension Services in MAAIF, although will remain administratively responsible to the Chief Administrative Officer in the decentralized arrangement.
Since agricultural extension will remain pluralistic and inclusive, all the other actors/stakeholders involved in providing extension services e.g. NGOs, Private Service Providers, Civil Society Organizations are required to register and be certified by the District Production and Marketing Officer. A register of all service providers in the district will be maintained at the District Production Department at all times and regularly updated. MAAIF will provide guidelines for certification of Agricultural Service Providers. All actors involved in service delivery are required to submit quarterly reports on their activities to the District Production Department. The Ministry will issue a Certificate of Practice to all registered service providers and the District Production and Marketing Officer will have delegated authority to issue certificate of practice to all certified service providers in the district. The Ministry will also develop and institutionalize a professional certificate course which will be a requirement for anybody to provide extension services. The course is aimed at equipping extension workers with practical skills needed to offer extension services in the country.
Sub county Level
Government will employ two types of extension staff at the local government level; those with a broad set of skills that enable them to provide advice to mixed farmers producing a range of enterprises, and specialists to provide technical backstopping to producers and actors on specific nodes of the value chains. The first category of extension staff will be hired on permanent and pensionable terms of service to provide continued support to farmers while specialists under the second category will be drawn from the private sector, universities, research institutions, and other organizations and hired on short term contracts to meet identified needs.
At Sub county level, three technical staff will be recruited for the start in the areas of Livestock, Crops and Fisheries on permanent and pensionable terms for agricultural extension service delivery to farmers. The most senior staff will head the technical team at that level. The technical staff, in addition to providing public extension services, will also supervise and quality assures private service providers, Community Based Facilitators, NGOs and other non-state actors involved in agricultural extension service delivery. The technical staff will work closely with the other actors in a collaborative and complementary manner for efficient extension service delivery to farmers. They facilitate knowledge sharing among value chain actors.
Farmer Institutional Development
Farmer institutional Development is a core function of the national agricultural extension service and is a key ingredient for socio-economic transformation.