Prof. George Kanyama – Phiri, VC, LUANAR, Lilongwe, Malawi, launched e-extension initiatives on 1st Feb 2016 for farmers at Ufulu Gardens, Lilongwe under AIP-Malawi project. The major objectives were to:
- Establish LUANAR as the “Knowledge-Hub” extension
- Develop a robust system of knowledge flow from LUANAR/CGIAR centers to farmers
- Continuous knowledge upgradation of extension agents
- Crop-specific and predictive advisory to farmers
- Better farm-to-expert feedback mechanism
On 4th February, 2016, AIP conducted a consultative workshop at LUANAR with major stakeholders, to discuss and deliberate the e–extension initiatives to be introduced and challenges associated with them.
A capacity building program on e-extension initiatives was organized on 9th Feb 2016in Bunda College, LUANAR. The program focused on utilizingmAIP application using ICTs to connect LUANAR experts with farmers, thus increasing the speed of knowledge transfer and providing real time solutions. The participants included experts from various domains ofLUANAR, experts from extension departments and field teams associated with the project. All the 15 participants were distributed tablets installed with mAIP application. The application is useful for:
- creating farmer profile database
- field demonstration of best agricultural practices
- sending customized and crop specific advisory to farmers using SMS module
- remote crop management for timely technical assistance by experts
In addition, the project also plans to introduce information kiosk in the villageto improve knowledge base of farmers by showing videos in Chichewa language on modern techniques of seed production across the value chain. This, coupled with a call center, will connect farmers directly to the experts in LUANAR for resolving their agricultural issues.
This is the one of the most important e-extension initiatives introduced at LUANAR, which has the capacity to improve linkages between farmers and experts all over the country as well asenhance extension reach, improve cop productivity and farmer’s income by providing technical assistance at the right time. Growth in access to ICT, coupled with government initiatives for extension, will benefit more and more farmers through such solutions.