National and Regional Panel Discussions


The objective is to elicit opinions on the state of the extension system and look forward to the future. It gives national and regional extension experts from government and NGOs, farmers and Development Agents, and private sector (e.g. investors in agriculture) to contribute to the national efforts to improve the system.

Regional panel discussion is a follow-up to the national e-discussion (Nov-Dec 2008) and panel discussion in January 2009 and the Regional Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Agriculture and Rural Development (BoARD) is a co-organiser of the panel discussion. Three regional consultations have been completed Amhara, Tigray and Oromiya. The Amhara discussion attracted 40 participants composed of mainly of government experts, NGOs, farmers, and development agents.

Four presentations were made:

  1. FAC summarised the extension path over the last 50 years
  2. The regional extension office explained the current status
  3. Farm Africa
  4. A local NGO known as Organisation for Development and Rehabilitation in Amhara (ORDA) provided case studies of innovative extension work.

(BoARD) is a co-organiser of the panel discussion.

The Tigray event attracted about 30 participants with similar profiles to Amhara. Two presentations were made:

  1. FAC summarised the extension path over the last 50 years
  2. The regional extension office explained the current status

The Tigray discussion was enriched by a field trip to a Farmer Training Centre (FTC) where the issues raised during the workshop were discussed with farmers on the ground. The Oromiya discussion was held at Ambo University, 125 km west of Addis Ababa. There were a number of presentations from the Regional Bureau of Agriculture, AgriService Ethiopia, SG-2000 and Ambo University. Supplements were made by the regional Livestock Development and Marketing Agency and Pastoral Development Commission. The next day, we visited a framer research and extension group (FREG) where we discussed the feasibility of the strategic ideas generated during the workshop. A local Private farmerinvestor gave an extended lecture on how small farmers can benefit from the extension system and also take their own initiatives instead of waiting for the extension agent.

Six reports will be produced and submitted to the Federal Extension Directorate for consideration in its efforts to improve the system. These include one national report (drafted), four regional and one synthesis report. This will also lead to a FAC brief on agricultural extension in Ethiopia.

A major input for our regional and national consultation is a comprehensive review of the Ethiopian extension system and lessons from the Asian Green Revolution completed by FAO. FAO Eastern and Southern African Regional Office based in Addis Ababa provided us with over 500 copies of these documents for distribution to participants.

FAC (physically) went back to the regions almost three years after the first round of consultations (Tigray – August 2006; Oromiya 2006, and Amhara Dec 2006) and found that it is still very much alive in the regions. The FAC Regional Groups established in 2006, although depleted for various reasons, helped organise the events. We have used the opportunity to strengthen regional groups. The Tigray team has requested FAC to support the completion and dissemination of a study on innovation systems that was started by the Tigray Agricultural Research Institute. We have encouraged them to submit a formal proposal with

  1. Objective
  2. Work done so far
  3. What remains to be done and
  4. Cost