National Extension Policy
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Extension Opinion No 10: Improving district level co-operation between public, private and NGO sectors is key

  1. When considering priorities for public sector extension and research services and its future role, I would like to use one extension officer as an example that Timbali is working with, Peter, in Limpopo. “Peter” worked with his large constituency of very rural based, low skilled, but dedicated small scale farmers for 10 years and has developed a strong trust-based relationship. The extension officer has in fact become the gate keeper of his small scale farmer constituency as he has witnessed, over the past 10 years, various bona fide, but also fly-by-night institutions that insist on interacting with the farmers to obtain data, do training, lend money and sell products, etc. Peter is intimately acquainted with the indigenous knowledge and modus operandi and the particular constraints and challenges that his farmers face. 
  2. When considering how extension and research services can best support small holder producers, the suggestion is that strategic relationships should be forged and management planning should take place to prevent costly and ineffective duplication of services and turn it around into cost-effective-farmer-need-oriented stakeholder engagement.
  3. Taking into account the practical example of the extension officer, “Peter”, when considering what should be the relationship between public and private and NGO extension services, I suggest that all Institutions (both Public and Private) should be listed in a district database to enable stakeholder identification and thereafter allow meaningful and frequent communication to take place to set the stage for future collaboration. A district oriented database, published on an independent, audited, provincial-based website should list past, current and planned interventions by government, private sector and NGO’s to  start to identify who is doing what and then start to measure the existing extent and impact of myriad services offered to small scale farmers.
  4. The most important aspect of services to small scale farmers is for the public, private and NGO sector to list their available extension services on the suggested database in such a user-friendly way that will allow the farmers to choose whose services they need at what time and at what cost. Once this information is available to the entire community, the relationship between farmers, extension and research can begin to be managed in a managed, but collaborative way.

Click the image for a view of: Knowing who is doing what in order to grow service impact
Knowing who is doing what in order to grow service impact
Posted: 9/19/2012 (11:36:02 AM)


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