1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
Strengthen the extension and delivery systems of Afghanistan and Pakistan to better meet the needs of farmers and the rural poor.
1b. Approach (from AD-416):
Under the auspices of the Food and Agriculture Working Group (“Working Group”) of the United States-Afghanistan-Pakistan Trilateral Initiative (“Trilateral”), UC Davis and a consortium of other universities will develop, organize, and conduct three workshops covering varying aspects of an effective agriculture extension training system and delivery mechanisms for information to farmers in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. As a result, the ministries of agriculture and provincial governments in Afghanistan and Pakistan will have a system and a group of trained extension technicians to train additional technicians and develop agricultural extension programs throughout their respective countries.
3. Progress Report:
During the reporting period, University of California, Davis led a consortium that included Washington State University, Purdue University, Iowa State University, and the University of Maryland, to plan and implement the fourth AfPak extension training workshop, held at the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan in January 2013. USDA and the consortium engaged national program partners in Pakistan and Afghanistan, including the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock (MAIL), Afghanistan. 41 Pakistani and 7 Afghan participants attended. Despite considerable efforts in advance, the coordinators were unable to get approval for Afghan MAIL participants to attend. Thus, only seven trainers from the Afghan Research and Extension Development Project (AGRED) were able to participate. Nevertheless, participation by AGRED at this workshop provided needed capacity building for the Afghan national extension program. This workshop addressed participatory extension with farmers, including instruction on how to link extension professionals directly with farmers to assess farmer needs, to reinforce and practice the participatory approach, and develop extension materials that will aid in the implementation of an effective demand driven extension program for farmers. Evaluations for the workshop were extremely favorable. Following the workshop, UC Davis is assessing the trainees as they train in provinces and villages in their respective countries. As such, they have contracted with the UAF Department of Agriculture and Education to conduct follow-up studies in Pakistan and with AGRED in Afghanistan. Participants in the survey were 19 Pakistani and 16 Afghans who attended workshops 3 and 4 and who learned to link professional extension participants directly with farmers to assess the farmers’ needs and to reinforce and practice the participatory approach and develop appropriate extension materials. In July 2013, Dr. Khaled at UAF began to conduct the follow-up activities and use the survey instrument in Pakistan. However, the AGRED project start-up was delayed so no data from Afghanistan are available yet. Additionally, the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) conducted training on conflict resolution in extension. This USIP training was conducted as part of a UC Davis-USIP pilot program on working with extension as a tool of peacemaking and conflict resolution. The training was well-received. USDA Foreign Agricultural Service is providing additional support to this project, which will enable UC Davis and the other consortium members to carry out a fifth and final “capstone” workshop at UAF in Pakistan, focused on technical training, and participants’ assessment reports on the participatory activity with farmers, use of electronic media for extension.