Nepal March 2013

Strengthening Agricultural Extension in Nepal: Workshop on Demand-Driven, Participatory, Pluralistic Agricultural Extension Services

Held March 3-4, 2014, in Dhulikhel, Nepal

Executive Summary

This workshop, attended by fifty people representing the research, extension, education, and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) sectors, sought to train senior and mid-career agricultural development professionals on emerging and demand-driven, pluralistic agricultural extension polices, programs, and modules, and to develop key recommendations for strengthening agricultural extension programs and activities. Decentralization and/or devolution in agricultural extension services in Nepal does not seem to be working. There is some degree of decentralization on planning up to district level and no decentralization at the community level, particularly with respect to implementation, monitoring, and evaluation.

A public private partnership (PPP) extension approach seems to be a better fit for Nepal’s context. Participants suggested that the public, private, NGO and community sectors jointly work to provide agricultural extension service. Extension services should be community based, community managed, and community owned. The service providers: government and I/NGO should play a facilitating role. Income generation and educational programs facilitated through resource persons from targeted groups (women, poor, disadvantaged) may benefit the respective group.

Linking farmers to market is an important issue in agricultural development. Marketing of poultry and poultry products seems effective while marketing of other agricultural products, for example, fish, grains, and vegetables, is either ineffective or satisfactory. Nepal is in a position to produce high value products, such as honey, coffee, orthodox tea, large cardamom, and cheese, all of which have international market potential. Small-scale production, monopoly of middlemen, ineffective mechanism for quality control, and insufficient mechanism for testing and certification are barriers to marketing. Value chain approach, contract farming, government help in hardware development, and a private sector role in marketing of agricultural products are suggested.

Popular methods for extension message dissemination include farm radio and TV programs, FM radio, and cell phones. There is scope for use of internet, smart phone, e-library, e-learning centers, as well as for call centers in extension.

An inadequate number of faculty, insufficient physical facilities (classrooms, library, internet, etc.) and limited number of research field or facilities and laboratories are the major issues facing agricultural colleges, universities and technical training institutions. Student enrollment is not the major problem or issue in Nepal.

The linkages between agricultural research, agricultural extension, education, and the private sector remain weak. Linkages between the research and private sector, and education and the private sector are the weakest. Lack of extension policy, lack of joint ventures or common programs, no functional link between universities and the Ministry of Agricultural Development (MOAD), and negligible involvement of the private sector in policy forums are weakening research, extension, education, and private sector linkages. Collaborative work, exchange of educators and scientists, provision of an apex body to oversee linkages are suggested. Sharing of facilities by partner organization(s) for research and education, provision of a steering committee to oversee and speed up coordination, inputs from extension, research, and the private sector in curriculum development are suggested in order to strengthen the linkages.

The workshop listed the problems in agricultural extension service as: weak linkages between research, extension, education, and the private sector; weak internalization of devolved extension services from the local government (e.g., District Development Committees, Village Development Committees); limited access of farmers to extension services; isolation of women, poor, and rural farmers from mainstream agricultural extension service and agricultural development; and lack of marketing information among producers. In order to address these gaps and streamline agricultural extension service, there is a need for a comprehensive agricultural extension policy developed in collaboration with farmers’ alliance/federation, community, public, private, and NGO partnership.  

Introduction

The agricultural sector remains a chief component of Nepalese economy, contributing 35% to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and providing a livelihood to about 76 percent of households. The farm sector employs 66 percentage of the labor force. Agriculture is also the major means to alleviate poverty and curtail the food insecurity with which Nepal has been struggling for many years now. The Nepalese agricultural sector faces slow growth and low farm productivity.

Nepal recently formulated the Agricultural Development Strategy (ADS) 2012 with an aim to revive the agricultural sector and thus the national economy. Nepal expects to attain speedy agricultural growth from the current 3% to 6%, reduce its food insecure population from 42% to 10%, and improve agricultural land productivity to $4,787 (AGDP/ha) from the current $1,804 (AGDP/ha) by the end of the proposed twenty years’ ADS (ADB 7762-NEP, 2011).

Nepal went through a major political transformation in the recent past. A decade long conflict, which took more than ten thousand lives, has stopped. Both mainstream and rebelling parties are working to promulgate a new constitution through constituency assembly. Transportation networks and information communication technologies (ICTs) too have improved. People are hoping for economic growth to begin. For agrarian countries like Nepal, agricultural growth is the fastest and surest way to alleviate poverty and address food insecurity (International Labor Organization (ILO), 2005 as cited in Kumar et al., 2012).

Agricultural extension is crucial to overall agricultural development. Agricultural extension service (AES) helps farmers become knowledgeable of the new and improved technologies and to understand opportunities and constraints in agricultural production. Agricultural extension service (AES) was formally started in Nepal in 1954. Nepal has tried many models of agricultural extension, for example, coordinated agricultural development in the mid-1960s; Training and Visit (T & V) system in the mid-1970s, Tuki, Users Group Extension, Integrated Rural Development Project (IRRP), and group approach during the past decades; the results have been mixed.

The public sector dominates the AES in Nepal. The Department of Agricultural Development (DOA) and Department of Livestock Services (DLS) under the Ministry of Agricultural Development (MOAD) have district and sub-district service centers spread throughout the country. There are 10,065 staff positions available under MOAD, half of which are junior and midlevel field staff (technical and non-technical).

Nepal has been trying to strengthen its AES. The Modernizing Extension and Advisory Services (MEAS) rapid scoping study mission suggests that Nepal’s current top-down approach of agricultural extension needs reversal (Suvedi and McNamara, 2012). Extension services are provided by agribusinesses, NGOs, and community-based organizations. In order to address the pluralistic approach, geographic diversity and local development potential, the report recommended the need for demand-driven agricultural extension programs at the village (VDC) level in which local farmers or farmers groups are empowered to plan and implement extension programs. This would include the management of the input supply (seeds, fertilizer) and linking products to markets. Furthermore, extension service must address the felt needs of the farmers and offer a more coordinated training and technical support from research and extension service providers. To address sustainability, extension programs should pay specific attention to promoting technologies that have excellent market opportunities.

To get extension personnel and educationist perspectives of the MEAS scoping study findings, and to explore other pertinent issues about agricultural extension, two workshops were organized in Nepal on June 9, 2013 (Rampur) and June 11, 2013 (Kathmandu). Senior officials from the Department of Agriculture (DOA), Department of Livestock Services (DLS), Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC), and faculty and students from the Agriculture and Forestry University (AFU) Nepal as well as representatives from USAID-funded project in Nepal participated in the first two workshops. The following six issues related to agricultural extension services were drawn from the participants’ discussion and/or presentation and field observation:

·        Improving agricultural extension services through specific policy and guidelines promoting decentralization, privatization, cost recovery, client participation in extension, and demand-driven delivery of extension service.

·        Linking agricultural research, extension, and education functions for national food security.

·        Promoting and supporting pluralistic extension services.

·        Using information communication technologies (ICTs) to enhance extension programs.

·        Linking farmers to markets through extension.

·        Managing extension services—program planning, evaluation, and in-service training of extension agents.

The above recommendations stress the need for AES to seek wider cooperation and collaboration amongst its stakeholders, for example, research and education. For constructive and fruitful collaboration to happen, stakeholders, including public extension personnel, needed a platform wherein they could share their perspectives related to AES and learn about the world trends in AES. The workshop entitled “Demand Driven, Participatory and Pluralistic Agricultural Extension Workshop” was a step forward in this direction. Mentioned below is the report of this workshop.

Objectives

The goal of the two-day workshop was to train senior and mid-career agricultural development professionals and university faculty on the emerging and demand-driven, pluralistic agricultural extension policies, programs, and modules. The workshop also aimed to develop key recommendations for strengthening agricultural extension programs and activities.

Workshop Agenda and Structure

The workshop entitled “Demand Driven, Participatory and Pluralistic Agricultural Extension Workshop” was organized at Dhulikhel, Kavre Nepal on March 3-4, 2014. The workshop was a joint work of Department of Agriculture (DOA), Department of Livestock Services (DLS), Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC), and Agricultural and Forestry University (AFU) Nepal. Dr. Suroj Pokhrel, Program Director, DOA and Prof. Naba Raj Devkota, Director, AFU worked closely with Prof. Murari Suvedi to plan the workshop. Dr. Suvedi extended invitations to select senior and mid-career agricultural development professionals in the Department of Agriculture (DOA), Department of Livestock Services (DLS), Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC), Agricultural and Forestry University (AFU), Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science (IAAS), select Non-Governmental Organizations, and the USAID Nepal. Fifty people participated in the workshop (see Annex 1).

Altogether six papers were presented (see Annex 2). Following each presentation, Michigan State University (MSU) resource persons facilitated a general discussion. Participants were provided with a checklist of questions and asked to focus their discussion around that checklist. Also, each participant was invited to fill out the checklist. Checklists contained mostly open-ended questions with a few Likert scale-type questions. The information filled out in the checklists was compiled and are presented in this report. On the second day, findings from group discussions were shared among all participants in a plenary session and over which participants’ comments and feedback were sought. This report begins with some notes from the opening session, continues with the findings of the breakout sessions, and ends with some notes from the concluding session and the conclusions of the report.

The opening session started with welcome notes by Dr. Michael Kaplowitz, Chair, Department of Community Sustainability (CSUS), Michigan State University. He outlined the workshop structure and expectations. Dr. Murari Suvedi shared the summary of discussions from first workshop in June 2013, organized at Chitwan and Kathmandu. The opening notes were followed by presentations. The first presentation was given by Dr. Rajendra Adhikari, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Agricultural Development “Key Features of Nepal’s Agricultural Development Strategy.” Dr. Adhikari presented the current state of agriculture and shared Nepal’s Agricultural Development Strategy (ADS). He also emphasized the need for speedy implementation of ADS to achieve the goal ADS has envisaged.

Prof. Murari Suvedi presented the second paper entitled “Global Trends in Agricultural Extension.”  The presentation highlighted the various approaches to agricultural extension and emphasized the fact that extension services are more pluralistic, participatory, and demand-driven. He also articulated the need for a common extension policy for the development of Nepalese agriculture.

Mr. Suresh Babu Tiwari, Acting Director General, Department of Agriculture, presented the third paper entitled “Agricultural extension: Experience from Nepal.” His presentation focused on contemporary agricultural extension services in Nepal and issues facing extension. 

The fourth paper was about “Linkage between research, extension, education and private sector in Nepal: Status and options” which was jointly developed by Dr. Devendra Gauchan, Dr. Hira Kaji Manadhar, and Dr. Dil Bahadur Gurung from Nepal Agricultural Research Council presented. Dr. Gauchan emphasized the need for coordinated approach (public, private and NGOs) to agricultural development.

Dr. Suroj Pokhrel, Program Director, Department of Agriculture presented the fifth paper entitled “Linking Markets, Farmers and Extension.” He advocated the need to link farmers to market and provide the support services in a value chain. He also shared some success stories to promote commercial agriculture.

Mr. Shyam Poudel, Program Director, Department of Livestock Services and the Project Director, Agriculture and Food Security Project, Ministry of Agriculture Development presented the sixth paper on “Extension Management: Use of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs); Gender Issues in Extension and Human Resource Development (Pre-service and In-service training).” He shared that there is enormous potential for the use of ICTs in Nepal that can be utilized for the benefits of the disadvantaged groups like women, but that inadequate institutional capacities and poor knowledge of ICTs among staff was hindering their usage. He emphasized the need for public-civil society collaboration for development and use of local resource persons, development of ICT competency of extension staff, continuous professional development on emerging technologies and issues in agriculture sector, and institutional reform and organizational development of the agricultural sector. 

Breakout Sessions

Five breakout sessions were held to allow participants to discuss in detail the subjects touched on in the presentations and to share their perspective on the issues. The group facilitators recorded the major resolutions of each breakout session and presented them in the plenary session.

Breakout Session 1: How to manage demand-driven, participatory and pluralistic agricultural extension

1.1     Measures to strengthen and sustain agricultural extension service

·        Public, Private, community/cooperatives/Farmer Groups Partnership (PPP) approach.

·        Bottom-up approach.

·        Linking farmers to market and (pre)contract production

·        Joint efforts of public, private, and Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) sectors.

·        Farmers’ needs-based extension service.

·        Community managed agricultural service centers.

·        Capacity building of the local people and recruitment of local resource persons.

·        Use of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs).

·        Linking farmers to research and education.

·        Contract out some specific extension services (privatization) to qualified and capable community based organizations (CBOs), NGOs or to leader farmers or the farmers’ facilitators.

 

1.2     Changes needed within the DOA and DLS to strengthen Agricultural Extension Services

·        Promote community-driven services with government (i.e., DOA, DLS) facilitation.

·        Decentralized program planning, implementation, and staff recruitment.

·        Community managed service centers: Community Agricultural Service Centers (CASC).

·        Capacity building of the local community; train local resource persons and mobilize them.

·        Bottom-up approach in program planning, implementation and evaluation is to be followed.

·        Increase number of service centers-- with at least one service center in each Village Development Committee (VDC).

·        Train extension workers on new and improved agricultural extension practices/methods.

·        Joint and effective monitoring and evaluation (M & E) and tie up it with reward and punishment.

·        Strengthen linkages with research and education.

·        Restructure the research, extension and education services with new Organization and Management (O & M) survey.


1.3     What aspects of agricultural extension services are decentralized in Nepal? Is decentralization working? What needs improvements?

Aspects of AES that are decentralized

Is decentralization working

 

What needs improvement?

 

·        Planning is decentralized up to the district level, not in village and community.

·        Devolution process is working for planning, but decentralization is still very weak in budgeting and program implementation.

·        Decentralization up to VDCs and community level

·        Functional decentralization

·        Nothing is decentralized. It is still in concept only. Everything is centralized.

 

·        From planning to implementation

·        Staff recruitment (It is centrally controlled now)

·        Monitoring and evaluation

·     Devolved extension services  are not owned by District Development Committees (DDCs) and VDCs.

Agriculture research, extension and education are not the priority of local authorities.

·        Need to follow-up the guideline to use VDC grant fund on agriculture Extension

 

The guideline for the use of 15% VDC grant is not working properly.

·        Locally government is not fully involved yet. Local government involvement is necessary.

 

Local investment in agriculture development is negligible.

·        Local technical manpower

·        Subsidy and services in local level

 

1.4     Can effectiveness of Agricultural Extension Service be improved?

An overwhelmingly high number of respondents (97%) indicated that effectiveness of AES can be improved by adopting public, private and community partnership (PPP) approach. Charging fee-for-service in AES does not seem to be an option as only less than half (45%) agreed to it. However, some respondents clarified that some extension services like artificial insemination, and treatment in livestock can be provided on fee-for-service basis (Figure 1).

Other measures to improve effectiveness of AES are:

·        Contract farming.

·        Embedded service and input delivery.

·        Developing and mobilizing local resource persons.

·        Empowerment of the farmers groups.

·        Case based extension, monitoring and effective evaluation of work and person.

·        Licensed agricultural advisors/agents.

·        Low interest loan and insurance by bank.

·        Multi-stakeholder platform for policy formulation-to-implementation.

·        Participatory extension (research development).

·        Promotion of private sector service in accessible and commercial areas and public sector support in remote and poor smallholder’s cases.

·        Take fee on some services like artificial insemination (AI), treatment, etc.

·        Use of diverse approaches.

·        Need to be more specific towards the nature of service with respect to client based, feasibility and also according to farmers’ priority.

·        Need to provide subsidy support on output basis.

·        Need to strengthen the farmers organizations: Farmers Groups (FGs), Cooperatives, Alliances/Federation and encourage them to engage in political processes.

 

1.5     How can AES better serve the disadvantaged groups?

·        Developing special packages/modules that work for these groups.

·        Following participatory approach.

·        By motivation by local mediators/facilitators.

·        Providing training, educating, and organizing them into groups or co-operatives.

·        Decentralized extension services (e.g., farmer-to-farmer extension).

·        Every VDC needs to have a technician.

·        Encouraging poor and ultra-poor farmers to focus on high value crops.

·        Assurance of appropriate price for farmers’ produce.

·        Promoting the short-term income generation program. Empowerment and income generation.

·        Targeted programs for women and poor.

·        Needs-based program planning.

·        Making easy access to technical inputs and providing inputs in subsidized rates.

·        One door delivery system (umbrella system of service mobilization).

·        Promoting pro-poor and gender-friendly extension services.

·        Encouraging local groups/individuals to work as service providers. Local service providers can better serve women and poor.

·        Channelizing public funds towards the support of disadvantaged groups.

·        Including disadvantaged groups along agricultural value chain: program planning, implementation, evaluation, monitoring, and marketing.

·        Targeted program with flexibility to adapt to local situation (decentralized mode).

 

 

Breakout Session 2: How to establish/strengthen linkages between agricultural research, extension, education, and the private sector?

2.1  How would you describe the linkages between research, extension, education, and private sector?

Linkages

Very weak

Weak

Satisfactory

Strong

Very strong

Total

%

N

Mean

SD

Agricultural Research and Agricultural Extension

0.00

84.85

15.15

0.00

0.00

33

2.15

.36

Agricultural Research and Education

48.28

34.48

17.24

0.00

0.00

29

1.69

.76

Agricultural Education and Extension

27.59

72.41

0.00

0.00

0.00

29

1.72

.45

Agricultural Research and private sector

76.67

23.33

0.00

0.00

0.00

30

1.23

.43

Agricultural Extension and private sector

7.41

48.15

44.44

0.00

0.00

27

2.37

.63

Agricultural Education and private sector

64.52

35.48

0.00

0.00

0.00

31

1.35

.49

Scale: 1= very weak, 2= weak, 3= satisfactory, 4= strong, 5= very strong

 

Linkages between “agricultural research and private sector” and “agricultural education and private sector” are very weak, as 77% and 65% of the respondents expressed this. The other linkages between agricultural extension and private sector, research, and extension seem to be a little better, but weak; still, none of the linkages reach the satisfactory or higher threshold (Table 2.1).

2.2    Constraints in fostering linkages between agricultural research, extension, education, and the private sector.

·        Lack of clear-cut policy and coordination.

·        Frequent changes in the leadership (e.g., Secretary, Executive Director, Director General, etc.).

·        Lack of resources in research institutions like NARC and lack of incentives to the staff working in these institutions

·        Ignorance of public sector in research issues.

·        Minimum space for private sector in planning.

·        Lack of collaboration and joint venture program; no partnership approach in place.

·        Lack of power and project sharing cultures.

·        Research and education functions of AFU and private sectors are not well recognized by the GON.

·        No clear extension policy to establish and strengthen the linkages.

·        No direct linkage between MOAD and Universities like AFU (AFU is working under the MoE).

·        No participation of farmers on technology generation. Lack of roles of private sectors in policy formulation.

·        Insufficient coordination and resource allocation.

·        Roles of stakeholders are not clearly defined.

·        Absence of expert exchange between extension, research, and education.

·        Lack of positive attitude and no resources are allocated per need.

·        Lack of local level agricultural research network.

·        No feedback mechanism and poor participation of community in agricultural programs.

·        No common programs; stakeholders are working independently. NARC is under MoAD, but is autonomous; and extension and education stakes are under different ministries.

 

2.3    What mechanism should be in place to strengthen the linkages between agricultural research, extension, education, and the private sector?

·        Joint action plan.

·        Line ministry of AFU must be MOAD, instead of Ministry of Education (MOE). Adopt Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) system.

·        Conduct M.Sc. and Ph.D. research in NARC and DOA farms.

·        Decentralize participatory research extension in a coordinated manner.

·        Form a top level coordination committee.

·        Exchange of scientists, collaborative research, and participatory planning, monitoring and evaluation.

·        Establish a common cell in each institution and initiate a coordinated planning.

·        Organize farmers’ days, common/joint agricultural exhibitions, and observation tours.

·        Develop agricultural alliances at district level.

·        Involve university students in research and extension as interns.

·        Provision of common basket fund for research, extension and education like in ICAR (one umbrella system).

·        Private sector involvement in market development.

·        Form a “Research and Agricultural Extension Committee” at district level.

·        Conduct regular monitoring and promote dialogue through National Agricultural Technical Working Group (NATWG), Regional Agricultural Technical Working Group (RATWG) and District Agricultural Technical Working Group (DATWG).

·        Joint implementation of research activities.

·        Follow participatory action research.

·        Strengthen information sharing mechanism.

 

Breakout Session 3. Strengthening participation of private sector in linking markets, farmers and extension.

3.1    How effectively are major agricultural products marketed in Nepal?

Agricultural products

Ineffective/

weak

Satisfactory

Effective

Very effective

Total

%

N

Mean

SD

Food grains

42.86

57.14

0.00

0.00

28

1.57

.50

Fruits

48.28

37.93

13.79

0.00

29

1.66

.72

Vegetables

20.69

62.07

17.24

0.00

29

1.97

.63

Fish

6.67

73.33

20.00

0.00

30

2.13

.51

Poultry

0.00

33.33

63.64

3.03

33

2.70

.53

Livestock

25.81

61.29

9.68

3.23

31

1.90

.70

Seeds

48.39

35.48

16.13

0.00

31

1.68

.75

Scale: 1= ineffective/weak, 2= satisfactory, 3= effective, 4= very effective

Marketing of poultry (and poultry products) seems effective (64% respondents said so) while marketing of other agricultural products (e.g., fish, food grains, vegetables, etc.) is either ineffective or satisfactory. About half (48%) of the respondents say marketing of fruits and similar percentage (48%) say marketing of seeds as being ineffective or weak. These data indicate lapses in marketing of agricultural products (Figure 3.1). However, marketing of produces varies according to locality and remoteness of the geography.

3.2    Agricultural products needing new markets and the potential new markets.

Agricultural products

Potential new markets

Vegetables (off-season)

Northern Indian states

Vegetable and cereals seeds

Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Tibet, domestic market

Fruits (apple)

Bangladesh, domestic markets

Citrus fruits

China, Gulf countries

Ginger

SAARC countries, Gulf countries

Cardamom

EU countries, Gulf countries

Honey

SAARC countries, EU, Japan, Bangladesh

Orthodox Tea, Coffee

Leather

Global except middle east and USA

Milk

Domestic markets

Meat

domestic markets

Cheese, Chhurpi

Global

Lentil

Bangladesh, Gulf countries, India

 

3.3      Constraints for market development and roles of EAS and private sector to address them.

Constraints for market development

Roles of AES to address them

·        Broker (middle men) dominated (monopolized) marketing system

·        Farmers friendly marketing policy

·        Few or no collection centers

·        Establish collection and market centers with stores

·        Poor or weak linkages between producers and marketers

·        Facilitate the linkages, promote contract farming, involve private sector in planning

·        Strengthening and networking farmers organizations

·        Demand driven production lacking

·        Irregular pricing

·        Grading, quality based pricing, develop price setting mechanism

·        Lack of marketing information system

·        Create Marketing Information System (MIS) in public private partnership and conduct surveys

·        Weak pre- and post-harvest management

·        Insurance, training

·        Small scale and scattered production

·        Follow value chain, focus on high value products, contract farming

·        No or weak quality control mechanism

·        Laboratory facilities, and residual testing (incentive based quality), training, certification

·        Lack of adequate infrastructure: roads, electricity, storage

·        Government investment and output based subsidies needed

·        High cost of production

·        Output based subsidy inputs, least cost production based on research

·        Lack of agribusiness skill

·        Training, produce the product according to business plan

3.4    Involvement of private sector to link farmers to markets

·        Contract farming.

·        Processing with facilitation from local government.

·        Cooperative marketing, input and output sale.

·        Formation of groups and cooperative collection centers.

·        Scaling up of the production.

·        Private sector should lead and public sector should facilitate.

·        The GON facilitates to offer credits on nominal interest rates.

·        Price blocking.

·        Monitoring and leadership by government.

·        Minimum support price for products.

·        Rational allocation--awareness on food quality-organic products.

·        Market system led by cooperatives.

·        PPP model: infrastructure and hardware development by government and management by private sector.

·        Private sector should be involved in packaging, processing and storage as well as production.

·        Regulation by the government agencies.

·        Linkage of cooperative with private wholesalers.

·        Government imposes certain percentage of profit from the private sector for social services.

·        Value addition of products.

·        Link farmers to marketing by formulating conducive policy environment.

 

The points in 3.2, 3.3 and 3.4 show that Nepal possesses the niche to produce high value products, for example, honey, coffee, orthodox tea, large cardamom, cheese, lentils and seeds all of which have international market potentials. Small-scale production, monopoly of middlemen, no mechanism for quality control, and no reliable mechanism for testing and certification are barriers to marketing. Value chain approach, contract farming, government’s help in hardware development, and private sector’s role in marketing of agricultural products are suggested.

 

Breakout Session 4: Effective delivery of extension message to farmers and use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs)

4.1    Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) being used and ICTs with for use in Nepal

ICTs in use

ICTs with scope for use

·        Cell phones, Agri radio program, FM, TV, and printed materials

·        Mass communication: Community radio, Local news channels in TV

·        TV, radio, FM

·        Cell phone, SMSs

·        Price information center or tele-centers

·        Internet, webpages

·        Mobile sets can be used, internet, publications, toll free phone, etc.

·        Use of mass media

·        Messages in local languages

·        E-library

·        Tele extension service

·        Printed materials

 

4.2     How can Agricultural Information and Communication Center (AICC) be strengthened?

·        Providing training on use of ICTs to AICC staff. This training should be made mandatory.

·        All aspects of AICC need strengthening. AICC should focus on core functions.

·        Mobilization of trained personnel.

·        Provide refresher training.

·        Train subject matter specialists (SMSs) and mobilize them to train other staff.

·        Support with equipment.

·        Provide the latest software.

·        Establish E-learning center at regional level.

·        Use of audio/visual materials.

·        Experts’ documentation.

·        Location specific (fitting to the locality) learning.

·        Regular maintenance and operation of computers.

·        Appropriate software for data analysis.

·        Regular meeting (at least once per month), data sharing mechanism.

·        Involve NGOs and private sector.

·        Promote the use of internet.

·        Regular updating of information.

·        Online reporting system.

 

4.3     What are the ICT training needs of frontline extension workers?

·        Capacity building (training on use of internet, email, etc., and other ICTs) communication tools, refresher training, adoption of continuous evaluation mechanism.

·        Data management and analysis.

·        Electronic networking, e.g., online communication to the concerned stakeholders.

·        Training on effective communication.

·        ICT materials, e.g., poster, fact sheet preparation.

·        ICT tools and their operation. Computer skills to operate web based ICT tools.

·        Radio program, videography, web page design, GIS training.

·        Training and skills development: e-media agri-technology, and video conference.

·        Software based training on ICTs.

·        Refresher training: e-learning center.

·        Training on how to conduct demonstration of technologies.

 

4.4     Methods/approaches appropriate to educate women farmers, disadvantaged groups and the poor.

·        Use of audiovisual on training and conducting hand-on training.

·        Demonstrations, exposure visits, and field days.

·        Group approaches, farm and home visit, and individual contacts.

·        Showing works done by similar women farmers, disadvantaged groups through TV and radio.

·        Technical and inputs support.

·        Local media, local language, informal environment, “seeing is believing”-participation.

·        Teach to male counterparts to take same household responsibility so that women will have time to work on farm.

 

4.5 What specific actions should be taken to serve women farmers and marginalized groups?

·     Use of audiovisuals and ICTs and motivate women and marginalized groups toward income generating activities.

·     Financial support until they start earning from their farming.

·     Income generation activities-- vegetables, mushrooms and bee keeping.

·     Training for empowerment and leadership.

·     Organizing these groups-- institutional development

·     Capacity building through training (local resource person (LRP), lead farmer training, etc.).

·     Linking with financial institutions to improve their access credit.

·     Focusing extension service to women farmers and marginalized groups.

·     Use of social mobilizers or the farmers’ facilitators at local level.

·     Use of ICTs related to women’s empowerment, especially income-generating activities like bee-keeping, mushrooms, processing, production of value added commodities, off-season vegetable production, seed production, mechanization, small farm tools, i.e., use of thresher, grader, grass cutter, soil leveler, transplanter.

·     Use of audiovisual for training and awareness.

·     While designing messages, think about their level (education, skill, and understanding), their preferences, motivation, and encouragement.

 

Farm radio and TV programs, FM, and cell phones are found to be popular among farmers and extension workers for dissemination of new messages. Farmers and stakeholders can benefit more with the use of internet, smart phone, e-library and/or e-learning centers, and call centers in extension in Nepal. These communication methods have scope for expansion and adoption.

Breakout Session 5:  Training of extension professionals (In-service/refresher training) and pre-service training of extension workers

5.1 Major pre-service educational needs/issues facing agricultural training institutions

Issues

Major issue

Minor issue

Not an issue

Total

%

 

 

N

Mean

SD

Adequate number of faculty to teach courses

100.00

.00

.00

35

1.00

.00

Physical facilities-class rooms, library, internet, etc.

94.12

2.94

2.94

34

1.09

.38

Research field or facilities and laboratories

93.55

3.23

3.23

31

1.10

.40

Hands-on training-internship/field work

35.29

64.71

.00

34

1.65

.49

Up-to-date curriculum

25.00

71.88

3.13

32

1.78

.49

Students interest and/or enrollment

19.35

6.45

74.19

31

2.55

.81

Level of funding support from government

47.06

52.94

.00

34

1.53

.51

Scale: 1= major issue, 2= minor issue, 3= not an issue

Inadequate number of faculty, insufficient physical facilities—classrooms, library, internet, etc., and limited research field or facilities and laboratories are the major issues facing universities, educational, and training institutions (Table 5.1). Student enrolment is not the major problem in Nepal as numbers of students vying for agricultural education and training are increasing every year. These points underscore the needs for infrastructural development in agricultural education together with preparing adequate human resources.

 

5.2 What new mechanisms need to be initiated to sustain collaboration between research-extension and education?

·        Collaboration. Initiate visiting professor and scholar exchange program for adjunct professors from DLS, DOA, NARC, and AFU.

·        Exchange of programs between organizations.

·        Exchange of specialists (professionals) between major partners AFU, DOA, and DLS.

·        Sharing human and financial resources and working for common results.

·        Internship programs.

·        Organize joint field visit programs for core groups

·        Organize traveling seminars.

·        Strengthening Agriculture Technical Working Group at national, regional and district levels seeking participation from all sectors.

·        Short-term exchange programs.

·        Involvement of stakeholders in curriculum development and internships.

·        Joint steering committee of mainstream organization at apex level and/or coordinating body at higher level.

·        Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Research, Extension, and Education organizations.

 

5.3 What model of agricultural training would be appropriate to develop agricultural entrepreneurs-cum extension workers at the Service Center and/or VDC level? Who should provide this training?

·        DOA, DLS in collaboration with entrepreneurs  can best utilize existing training centers facilities

·        Community level training and demonstrations.

·        Demand-based practical training by SMSs from all partners (AFU, DOA, DLS, NARC, Council for Technical Education and Vocational Training (CTEVT), etc.).

·        DOA and DLS collaboration with private sectors.

·        District level training--demand-based training and demonstration and also involve CTEVT.

·        Six-month internships for students from DLS and DOA in NARC centers.

·        Joint traveling seminars between organizations.

·        On-the-job training based on demand.

·        Participatory extension and entrepreneurs’ development training at service center and VDC level.

·        Practical crop cycle model training (Farmers Field School).

·        Practical training by local research station staff and district specialists.

·        Training Needs Assessment (TNA) based training or demand-driven training.

 

5.4 How can the regional agricultural research and training facilities of MOAD be best utilized for training of extension workers?

·        Appoint experienced trainers.

·        Equip the training halls with training materials.

·        Demand-driven training should be given at the training centers.

·        Develop training center not only as a training center, but also as a resource and service center.

·        Provide skills training, tailor curriculum per needs and strengthen hostel and dorm facilities.

·        Upgrade existing facilities.

·        All development partners should have access to training facilities of MOAD. AFU and Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science (IAAS) needs access to MOAD facilities.

·        Training should focus on demand-driven packages.

·        Joint mechanism and/or committee of experts from major stakeholders, namely NARC, DOA, DLS, AFU to organize training.

·        Link MOAD training facilities with university and research centers, and with private sector.

·        Prepare training calendar in advance; assign roles and responsibilities; curriculum development input should come from technology developers.

·        Joint curriculum revision.

·        NARC scientists, AFU and IAAS faculties should be engaged as trainers and resource persons.

·        Focus on hands-on teaching rather than on theory or classroom teaching.

 

Participants suggested the need for an apex body with representation from research, extension, and education sectors. Some of the suggestions for improvement of the linkages include exchanges of expert knowledge and experts between these three institutions, seeking inputs from DLS, DOA, and NARC officials in college curriculum development and updates, allowing internships for DLS and DOA people at NARC research farms, and allowing NARC researchers and university faculty and students to make use of DLS and DOA farms and laboratories for research. Finally, training centers can be best utilized if these centers have the equipment needed for trainings and if there are demonstration plots in the vicinity of the training centers. Also, training centers should conduct trainings based on farmers’ demands. Training centers can also contact agricultural colleges, universities and NARC research centers and let their scientists and experts serve as the training resource persons.

Concluding Remarks

Dr. Michael Kaplowitz presented the summary of findings of the breakout sessions and the plenary discussion preceding the wrap-up session. Concluding the two-day workshop, Dr. Michael Kaplowitz mentioned that institutions need to recognize the need for collaboration and partnership. Similarly, Dr. Murari Suvedi thanked all the participants for their active participation and contributions.

This workshop, with representation from research, extension, education, and NGOs, has been crucial to decipher the issues raised during the June workshops and expose other issues pertinent to the effective functioning of Nepal’s agricultural extension service. The participants acknowledged the lack of decentralization in agricultural extension service, lack of coordination and linkages between research, extension, education, and private sectors, and the limited participation of farmers in the extension service chain. Women, the poor, and rural and smallholder farmers who constitute the major farming population are barley served by the current service delivery mechanism. However, potential for the contribution of agricultural extension in agricultural development exists. The workshop also expressed a need for policy to put the above raised issues into action and streamline Nepal’s agricultural services.

References

ADB 7762-NEP. (2011). Vision report. Technical Assistance from the Preparation of the Agricultural Development Strategy. Asian Development Bank.

Kumar, K.S. K.; Karunagoda, K.; Haque, E.; Venkatachelam, L. & Bahal, G.N. (2012). Supporting policy research to inform agricultural policy in Sub-Saharan Africa and South-Asia. Addressing Long-Term Challenges to Food Security and Rural Livelihoods in South Asia.

Suvedi, M. & McNamara, P. (2012). Strengthening the pluralistic agricultural extension system in Nepal: Report on the MEAS rapid scoping mission, MEAS/USAID.


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