Developing a framework for good national extension policy: A study of the Eastern African countries
Keywords:Extension, extension policy, East Africa, mission and goals, approach and function, clienteles
AbstractThis paper evaluates extension policies in Eastern Africa. Extension policies - explicit or implied - were assessed using a framework published by the FAO. Of the nine elements of the framework, three of the most enlightening - mission and goals, approach and functions, and clienteles - have particularly been employed. The unexpected initial finding was that only three countries in Eastern Africa have legislated (i.e. formally adopted) national extension policies. Implied policies were thus gleaned, where possible, for the remainder.
Broadly, the review found that East African extension missions and goals focussed on improving profitability of agricultural business, increasing output volumes and market share, stabilising food production and availability, and achieving objectives such as enhancing quality of life and environmental conservation. Regarding approaches and functions, the study found that public sector extension is undergoing transformation including decentralization and outsourcing extension services in the context of adopting pluralistic extension delivery systems. The dominant clientele were women and small- and medium-scale farmers. However, entrenched barriers limiting women's participation are still insufficiently addressed. Without formal policies, there can be little stable offering of extension in these countries. Governments should officially adopt extension policies that crystallise their vision, mission, goals and methods for advancing deliberately targeted clientele, thus enabling steady and measurable progress.