What is AgEx?
It’s short for Agricultural Extension. This name represents the EWB team formerly known as MoFA, or Public Sector Agriculture. Traditionally, we have partnered only with the Ghanaian Ministry of Food and Agriculture. We are now expanding our scope to embrace all extension service providers in Ghana, including public, private and civil society actors.
What is agricultural extension?
Agricultural extension is the provision and facilitation of agricultural information. Extension usually refers to the link between research, or those generating new information, and farmers, who can harness the information to maximize productivity and profitability. It can also involve sharing existing knowledge among farmers about indigenous farming practices.
Why are agricultural extension services important?
Extension is the primary way that farmers can gain information about how to farm better. This includes growing a higher quality and quantity of food, as well as environmental preservation and expanding their livelihoods. In a country where over 60% of the population is involved in agriculture, extension is a very important service!
Why is this something EWB is working on?
Extension is as much about the how as the what. It’s one thing to have a cache of good agric info, but selling it to farmers is another challenge. For educated people or those who make rational decisions, simply providing information is enough: they will make the most profitable choice, or the one that maximizes their benefit. But for all the real human beings out there, extension is as much about marketing strategy as providing good information. This is behaviour change at its finest!
We’re getting ahead of global trends
Many NGOs and civil society organizations are also involved in extension activities. In addition, many agribusinesses include information services as part of their value-add for farmers. Global extension is trending toward a more “pluralistic” model of extension with several actors (public, private, civil society) playing different roles—and so are we!
Our team is making a strategic shift from a partner focus to a functional focus
Rather than focusing purely on the public sector, we are broadening our scope to work with a multitude of extension actors. This allows us to capitalize on our experience while building a stronger extension system in Ghana that will serve more farmers in an effective way. We will also work vertically through the extension system, from Dorothy up to policy-makers, sharing our experiences and innovations.
Delivering good extension services does not just involve field work
It starts at the beginning with effective education, continues developing in a supportive environment with effective management and sufficient resources, and finishes in the field with useful tools and approaches to increase success and adoption of new and better technologies. Ultimately, this leads to improved farming livelihoods and higher incomes.
We work throughout the system to add value to extension services
Working in Ghana’s Agricultural Colleges, we are striving to improve the quality of education that students receive. Using the District Director Fellowship and other management initiatives, we work to create an enabling environment for extension staff where they get the support, resources and training they need. With the Agriculture As a Business program and technology adoption initiatives, we aim to improve the quality of extension services and build capacity of field staff.