Osumba, J.J.L.; Recha, J.W.; Oroma, G.W. Transforming Agricultural Extension Service Delivery through Innovative Bottom–Up Climate-Resilient Agribusiness Farmer Field Schools. Sustainability2021, 13, 3938.
Osumba, J.J.L.; Recha, J.W.; Oroma, G.W. Transforming Agricultural Extension Service Delivery through Innovative Bottom–Up Climate-Resilient Agribusiness Farmer Field Schools. Sustainability 2021, 13, 3938.
There is consensus that climate variability and change is impacting food security in Eastern Africa, and that conventional extension approaches, based on top-down model of information dissemination and technology transfer, are too inadequate to help smallholder farmers tackle increasingly complex agro-climatic adversities. Innovative service delivery options exist but are mostly operated in silos with little effort to explore and blend them. There are efforts to develop a blended Climate-Resilient Farmers Field School methodology to address the gaps, with objective to improve participants’ knowledge, skills and attitude to apply the blended approach and to sensitize actors on what needs to be advocated at the policy level. Some 661 local trainers/facilitators (ToT/ToFs), 32% of them women and 54% youth, were trained across Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, with additional 76 Master Trainers (MToTs) trained to backstop the ToT/ToFs. Through the implementation, the process reached 36 agribusinesses covering some 237,250 smallholder farmers trained across Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda on CSA technologies, practices, and innovations by the end of 2020. The blended approach offers lessons to transform extension to help farmers improve food security and resilience. Preliminary findings indicate that the process is rapidly shaping individual adaptive behavior and group adaptive thinking. Lessons also show a strong need for agronomists to work more closely with agro-meteorologists to ensure that farmers are properly guided to participate appropriately in the co-generation and application of climate information and agro-weather advisories, which they can interpret easily and utilize for their agricultural production purposes. Experience from this initiative can be leveraged to develop scalable participatory extension and training models
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