Posted on :Thursday , 16th March 2017
Agricultural teachings need to be offered in line with smallholder farmers' interests and given special focus on value enhancement technologies as well as practices. The remark was made by Dr. Deola Naibakelao, Managing Director of Sasakawa Africa Fund for Extension Education (SAFE) Monday at a three- day SAFE networking workshop.
The Managing Director further said: "If small-scale farmers get advice from extension staff who passed through value-chain oriented curriculum, they will substantially increase their income through value- added products."
At the event, Dr. Deola took the opportunity to call on agriculture ministers , agricultural university presidents and instructors as well as employers to fully implement value-chain addition oriented curriculum in all member universities. " our first curricula was production oriented; now we need to shift to value-chain addition oriented curricula," he added.
However, he said challenges have been observed while implementing the value- chain-oriented curriculum and practical measures need to be taken to overcome challenges in this regard.
According to Dr. Deola, SAFE's future plan is to generate a large number of competent extension agents in collaboration with various universities aimed at creating strong market link and improving smallholders' lives.
For her part, Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA) and SAFE Board Chairwoman Prof. Ruth Oniang'o told The Ethiopian Herald that : "The extension system is working best in Ethiopia. Because Ethiopia's extension system is the largest in African. It is next to China when it comes to the number of public extension staff."
The Board Chairwoman also said Ethiopia's best extension experiences would be shared to the rest of the world. "There is strong political will in putting resources, supporting extension staff, building farmer training centers and the like in Ethiopia."
Representative from the Ethiopian Rural Economic Development and Food Security Sector Dejene Abesha said : "Next to Ghana , Ethiopia is one of the pioneers in introducing B.Sc. Program in mid -career extension professionals." Moreover, Ethiopia has also the highest number of universities offering the program, he said.
Established in 1991, Sasakawa Africa Fund for extension Education (SAFE) has been supporting and exerting efforts in extension education in Ethiopia.