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Evaluation of Farmer Research Extension Group (FREG) as extension approach: the experience of Sida - Amhara Rural Development Program in Kalu District, of Amhara Region, Ethiopia

Rechten: Wageningen University & Research

Evaluation of Farmer Research Extension Group (FREG) as extension approach: the experience of Sida - Amhara Rural Development Program in Kalu District, of Amhara Region, Ethiopia

Rechten: Wageningen University & Research

Samenvatting

Agriculture is the main driver of the economy and the source of living for the majority of the population in Ethiopia. However, its performance has been poor and unable to feed the ever increasing population. Thus there is a need to change this trend and ensure the food security of the population. Agricultural extensions which is believed to be the main driving force for improvement of production and productivity has not yet brought significant change in level of productivity. In the country, different extension approaches have been adopted in different forms and types. However, their contribution to the improvement of the country’s economy and livelihood change of the rural poor is very limited. Designing and implementing appropriate agricultural extension services that contribute to sustained increase in production and productivity is vital. Extension activities has been the exclusive mandate and responsibility of government but there is a growing trend of involvement of other actors in the providing extension services by designing their own approach drawing lesson from the existing government extension approaches. One of the extension approaches introduced by Sida Amhara Rural development program (SARDP) is Farmer Research Extension Group (FREG) and has been implemented for five years in eight districts of south Wollo zone. The main objective of the study is to make recommendations to the Amhara Regional state on FREG as an alternative extension approach through evaluating its working modalities and activities. The successfulness of the FREG approach has not been evaluated either to be promoted further as alternative approach or to improve it. In view of that this research was conducted in kalu district among eight districts where FREG has been operating. For the study, an evaluative research method was used. A total of 30 FREG members and 2 extension workers, 5 development agents, head of the district agriculture office, ARARI crop director were involved in the interview and empirical findings are gathered and analysed using both qualitative and quantitative techniques and using SWOT as analysis tool of the study. As it is indicated from the findings FREG is found to be appropriate alternative extension approach to facilitate learning and knowledge sharing that ultimately improves the human and social capital of members. FREG as an approach has many relative advantage as compared to other extension approach that includes: Provide equal opportunity for both sex in the extension activities implemented under FREG, strengthen the link between extension research as a system, build the capacity of the farmers in technology testing and evaluation, improve productivity and production among FREG members and improve the income and livelihood of the FREG members. Major crops like maize, wheat teff grown in the area that have been tested and evaluated under FREG members have shown significant production improvement as the result of the introduced technologies and knowledge gained during the interaction of different stakeholders. Besides, FREG has also enhanced the participation and involvement of stakeholders in the process of technology evaluation and dissemination that pave the way for the institutionalization of the approach. The overall assessment and findings of this study has shown FREG is an appropriate alternative extension approach to be scaled up by the regional government with some modification of the approach. Ensuring gender equality, involving stakeholders through the process, inclusion of marketing which was not considered as component of the approach, strengthening and creating the link between input suppliers and FREG should be considered during further improvement of FREG. Finally, realising FREG is appropriate alternative extension approach, SARDP should play proactive role in finding or creating responsible body to own the approach for its sustainability.

Toon meer
OrganisatieVan Hall Larenstein
AfdelingTraining Rural Extension and Transformation
Jaar2008
TypeAndersoortig materiaal
TaalEngels

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