Addis Ababa March 14/2017A three-day regional workshop to share experience on development of value chain management curriculum to train extension workers with technologies and practices kicked off yesterday in Addis Ababa.
The main purpose of the Sasakawa Africa Fund for Extension Education (SAFE) program is to bring African agricultural universities and colleges into rural development process to create new innovative extension education program and build capacity of frontline agricultural extension workers.
Representatives of partner universities from different African countries and professionals and researchers from 9 universities in Ethiopia took part in the workshop.
More than 30 papers and case presentations are to be delivered on the workshop.
While addressing the workshop, Dejene Habesha from the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources said that the program is supporting the nation in designing pastoral and agro pastoral oriented curriculum.
“I am glad to know that through SAFE’s leadership, we now have specially designed pastoral and agro pastoral oriented curriculum which focuses more on pastoral and agro pastoral issues compared to the previous ones.”
He said “This is in line with Ethiopian government plan to pay special attention to pastoral and agro pastoral subsector.”
One of the participants Dr. Desalegen Mola, Dean of Environmental Science from Bahir Dar University said that the program helps to build capacity of extension workers who are unable to attend regular classes.
Dr. Muluken Gezagene, from Haramaya University said that the role that the project has been playing in building the capacity of extension workers in Ethiopia is important.
Dr. Jefferson Mutimba, one of SAFE Regional Coordinators said the project is aimed at building capacity of extension workers in collaboration with universities so that the professionals could be effective.
The project focuses on small holder agriculture with the aim of enhancing economic benefit of farmers through boosting production and benefit them from promotion of agricultural value chain management through supervised enterprise projects (SEP), the organizer said.
SAFE deals with the innovative aspects of mid- career agricultural extension BSc Program to upgrade the capacity of extension workers in the agriculture sector, it added.
Ethiopia has the highest number of extension workers in Africa and one of the densest agricultural systems in the world with over 20 development agents per 10,000 farmers.
With SAFE program in progress, the country expects to produce more qualified extension workers to reach out to farmers with quality services.