Extension and Research

Research Area Extension and Research

Source: Flickr (treesftf)

Providing farmers with firsthand knowledge and experience on new and improved farming methods is central to increasing production, household income, and improving the country's food security.

Ethiopia has an established network of Farming Training Centers (FTC), numbering over 8,000 at the kebele (or village) level. These centers are staffed by development agents (DA) that provide farmers with new information, training, and demonstrations to encourage best farming practices. Though good in theory, most centers lack funding and resources to effectively teach farmers best practices. The DAs that instruct farmers often have limited knowledge or lack crucial skills and training. Further, lack of coordination among institutions carrying out these services has led to fragmented interventions, undermining the success of agriculture extension in Ethiopia.

The overall management and orientation of the extension system must be driven by farmer demand at the kebele level. Diagnostic studies identified several needs that must be addressed to strengthen agriculture extension services.

  • Strengthen the DA education system
  • Provide more funding to sustain quality centers
  • Ensure provision of equipment or inputs to demonstrate best farming practices
  • Increase coordination among institutions that deliver extensions services

To meet the needs of smallholder farmers, REAP will explore options that create a more market-oriented and financially sustainable extension system; as well as work to align extension services with market opportunities, cooperatives, and research institutions. A major component of research in this area will include improving gender equality. Additionally, since there are varying degrees of need from kebele to kebele, a program priority will be designing extension services that match local demand.

Read more about Ethiopian extension services in the report below.

Related Publications

Review and Recommendations for Strengthening the Agricultural Extension System in Ethiopia