Liberia: Revamping Ailing Extension Services Delivery System

 — EU-funded project ends capacity building workshop for extension officers

A two-day training aimed at providing extension officers the opportunity to acquire cutting edge knowledge on contemporary extension services delivery has ended in Suakako, Bong County. 

The training workshop dubbed “Workshop on Capacity Building of Extension Officers for Effective Service Delivery in the Integrated Rice-Fish Farming System in Liberia” brought together twenty three extension officers from government ministries and agencies operating in the rice, fisheries and aquaculture industry. The Project Focal Persons (PFPs) of the DeSIRA Integrated Rice Fish Farming System (IRFFS) project also benefited from the training. EU-funded DeSIRA-IRFFS Project, Innovation Specialist, Prof. Paul Bolorunduro

The EU-funded DeSIRA-IRFFS Project, Innovation Specialist, Prof. Paul Bolorunduro told participants that the workshop followed findings of a survey that the project team conducted in March 2022. 

“The research focused on three areas. The areas are stakeholder analysis, the gap analysis and need assessments of extension officers. It is from these finding that we have developed materials for this training workshop,” said Prof. Paul Bolorunduro. 

The workshop also addressed several trending topics in today’s agriculture world, ranging from Adult Learning for Behavioural Change to Gender Mainstreaming in Extension and Advisory Services. 

Speaking during the training, the Project Coordinator and AfricaRice Country Representative, Dr. Inoussa Akintayo reassured participants of the project’s ambition to improve food and nutrition security and farmers’ income.  According to him, constant capacity building activities could be one way that extension officers can be effective in carrying out their duties.  He also challenged the extension officers to apply knowledge that they have gained.  

“It is important to understand that we need the extension officers to transfer technology down to the farmers who are the end users of this integrated rice fish farming technology. The project is here to enhance your skills, and I encourage you all to apply the knowledge that you have gained from the training.  Do not sit on the information passed down because it is important for the betterment of the farmers and the nation,” said Akintayo.

What is said about the DeSIRA-RIFFS project? 

The DeSIRA Integrated Rice Fish Farming project aims to improve food and nutrition security by transforming low-yielding, climate-risky traditional rice-fish production systems into more climate-resilient, high-yielding, resource-use efficient systems in Liberia.  The project targets 174 household farmers in each of its implemented counties - Gbarpolu, Grand Gedeh, Maryland, Margibi, and River Gee. 

Africa Rice and World Fish are implementing the EU-funded DeSIRA Integrated Rice Fish Farming System project (IRFFS) in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), Central Agricultural Research Institute (CARI), and the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA). 

C:\Users\GEORGE\Desktop\Photos from Recent Training Conducted Sept 5-8,2022\Training on Extension Delivery -IRFF Technology\Extension six.jpgMinister George Forpoh gave the overview of Agricultural Extension System in Liberia

At the same time, Deputy Minister for Regional Development Research and Extension, George Tee Forpoh used the occasion to recognize the EU and other development partners’ contribution to improving extension services delivery.

“We are always opportune to enhance the skills of our staff. This is important because extension holds the root to every aspect of agriculture.”

He also encouraged participants to use the knowledge gained from the training to impact the farming community. “Knowledge is power, but we ask that you don’t dwell on that to overlook the farmers, since some have years of experience to their belt.”