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Extension and Advisory Services in Zambia

A Brief History of Public Extension Policies, Resources and Advisory Activities in Zambia

In Zambia, agriculture plays a key role in the economy and could be a major driver of growth and poverty reduction. The sector is characterized by a dual structure, where a small number of large commercial farms, concentrated along the railway line, co-exist with scattered subsistence smallholders and few small commercial farmers who face severe difficulties accessing input and output markets. It is estimated that about 40 percent of rural households are engaged solely in subsistence agriculture. While the agricultural sector has long been neglected by the government’s urban bias and single-minded emphasis on maize for food self-sufficiency, the country’s infrastructure, extension services and agricultural research and development remain underdeveloped, especially in remote rural areas (Bonaglia, 2008).

Since the early 1990s, agricultural policy has undergone a major change, shifting from heavy government intervention to a liberalized system aimed at bolstering private sector participation in various aspects of agricultural production including input supply, processing, marketing and extension service provision. As part of the government disengagement, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forest embarked in public-private partnerships through creation of agricultural trusts with the mandate to manage public assets on a commercial basis and provide research, advisory and training services (Bonaglia, 2008). However, the 1996-2001 Agricultural Sector Investment Program (ASIP) designed by GRZ and donors to facilitate the transition to a market economy in agriculture did not produce the desire outcome. A series of droughts coupled with an unsupportive and unpredictable business environment contributed to reducing the incentives for the private sector to fill the void left by public intervention (Katharina Felgenhauer, 2007).

The new National Agricultural Policy (NAP) 2004-2015 provides the overall vision and policy framework for the agricultural sector and assigns a pivotal role to the private sector, which is expected to engage increasingly in service provision. The Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives (MACO) is expected to focus on its core functions (policy formulation, enforcement of legislation and regulation) while developing partnerships with other stakeholders in the sector to ensure adequate provision of extension services, agricultural research, and monitoring and evaluation. Donors are encouraged to provide financial, technical and other support in the implementation of agricultural policies and programs and capacity building for stakeholders (Bonaglia, 2008). MACO uses its staff from the national level down to the field level to implement extension programs. At the national level, Zambia public extension comprises 742 staff members and is managed by a team of 308 senior staff according to the MEAS report (2011). Seven of the senior staff members have a PhD and 31 were trained at the Master of Science level. Women account for 13 % of senior management staff. There are 64 subject matter specialists, 323 field-level extension staff and 26 ICT staff. The MEAS report indicated that the public sector does not employ in-service training staff (Table 1).

Table 1: Human Resources in the Public Extension Service in Zambia (Governmental or Ministry-based Extension Organization)

Major Categories of Extension Staff

Secondary School diploma

2-3 yr. Ag diploma

B.Sc. degree

M.Sc./Ing. Agr. degree

Ph.D. degree

Gender

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

Senior Management Staff

3

114

3

10

25

114

7

24

1

6

Subject Matter Specialists (SMS)

 

 

11

53

 

 

 

 

 

 

Field Level Extension Staff

45

278

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Information, Communications & Technology (ICT) Support Staff

3

5

1

2

3

5

2

4

 

1

In-Service Training Staff

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total Extension Staff:   742                  

73

397

15

65

28

119

9

28

1

7

            Source: IFPRI/FAO/IICA Worldwide Extension Study, 2011

 Major Institutions Providing Extension/advisory Services in the Country 

Public Sector

The public sector is represented by the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperative (MACO) through the Department of National Agricultural Information Services (NAIS), the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, The University of Zambia School of Agricultural Sciences and other education and research institutions around the country. These institutions provide extension services through various departments councils and institutes some of which are listed below

  • Public Extension Institutions
    • Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MACO)
      • Zambia Agricultural Research Institute (ZARI) www.zari.gov.zm
      • Department of National Agricultural Information Services (NAIS)
    • Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Development (MLFD)
      • Department of Veterinary and Livestock Development
      • Central Fisheries Research Institute (CFRI)
      • Central Veterinary Research Institute (CVRI)
  • Public Research and Education Institutions
    • ASTI Agricultural Research and Development, http://www.asti.cgiar.org/zambia
      • Zambia Agricultural Research Institute (ZARI)
    • National Institute for Scientific and Industrial Research (NISIR)
    • University of Zambia, School of Agricultural Sciences
      • Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension 

Private Sector Firms

The liberalization of Zambia economy in 1991 set in motion policies to support the development of its private sector. The private sector organizes in forum with specific objectives and partners with government institutions to bring innovative techniques to farmers. An example of forum is the Agricultural Consultative Forum that facilitates stakeholders’ consultation and work toward provision of policy advisory services, networking and information sharing.  The Agri-Business Forum (ABF) is a business association that represents the interests of private sector companies and farmer producer association directly or indirectly linked to outgrowing (contract farming). ABF facilitates the development and application of innovative approaches to contract farming for profitable smallholder farm production and agribusiness development. Some private firms directly involve in agricultural related activities are listed below.

  • Zambia Cotton Ginners Association (ZCGA
  • Grain Traders Association of Zambia (GTAZ)
  • Zambia Export Growers Association (ZEGA)
  • Zambia Seed Traders Association (ZSTA)

Non-Governmental Organizations and other Donors

NGOs have the reputation of assisting both governments and farmers in the production, processing and marketing of agricultural commodities. The growth of local NGOs in Zambia has been quite rapid in the past decades, but their capacity to work with communities remains limited (Farrington and Saasa, 2002). For the government of Zambia to take full advantage of NGOs there is need to strengthen the management skills of these NGOs in such areas as financial mobilization and management, project planning, appraisal, implementation, and M & E. In this regard, the NGO Technical Services committee is trying to equip other NGOs with these skills, and the NGO Coordinating Committee attempts to harmonize their activities. It has been argued that with the advent of democracy and liberalization NGOs can play an important role in utilizing donors’ resources for development. 

Farmer Based Organizations and Cooperatives

In many developing countries, the agricultural sector is made up of a large number of smallholder farmers who are disadvantaged in accessing inputs, extension services and markets for their produce. The agricultural sector in Zambia is no exception. Zambia farmers have the tradition of organizing themselves at local level into membership-based entities (associations, unions, cooperatives). They mainly organize around common interest like the production of a given agricultural crop or to pool their resources together and facilitate access to credit and farm inputs

  • Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) www.znfu.org.zm
  • Conservation Farming Unit (CFU) www.conservationagriculture.org
  • Farmer Organization Support Program (FOSUP)
  • National Peasants and Small-Scale Farmers Association
  • Large-Scale Commercial Representative
  • Smallholder Farmers Representative

Enabling Environment

Zambia has one of the best land and water endowments in Africa that constitute a huge agricultural potential, which is still untapped and is the key priority in the government growth and poverty reduction program. Only 15 percent of total arable land is cultivated and a similar share of irrigable land is actually irrigated (Mooney, 2002 cited in Bonaglia, 2008). Several partners are working with the government to provide extension services to farmers, but MACO’s weak capacity to co-ordinate donors and ensure project integration remains a major problem. The relationship between Agricultural Research and Extension system is not as expected in Zambia and so there have been a lot of challenges. Since the early 2000s there has been an important shift in policy and a process to 'harmonize' extension service delivery to small- scale farmers has been embarked upon. This will involve developing guidelines to help address the problem of conflicting approaches that do not seem to be helping farmers to find solutions to their farming challenges. Instead many of the approaches have worked to entrench dependency among farmers especially because of the 'handout' approach in the course of extension service provision. This makes it difficult for extension service providers (that only offer capacity building without financial incentives) to work and other approach contributed to market distortions where inputs are subsidized on a large scale. 

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for Agriculture and Extension

Good communication systems between various actors of agricultural development are vital tools for the transfer of new and improve agricultural technology to farmers. Several ICT tools (e-mail, internet, phone, radio, TV, print) commonly used in other African countries and different parts of the world are found in Zambia today. Extension and information service provision plays an important role in agricultural development in any country. In recognition of this fact the Zambian government has since independence in 1964, made an effort to establish an effective extension and information system in the country. The country has quite a long experience in agricultural information delivery services through the use of mass media such as radio/television broadcasts and printed materials including newspapers in parallel with the mainstream extension services. Broadcasting services of agricultural radio programs targeting local small-scale farmers was initiated as early as the mid-1960s with assistance from UNESCO. A number of radio listening groups called ‘Radio Farm Forum Groups” were set up in rural communities all over the country and they were encouraged to listen to the radio programs with the motto of ‘Listen, Discuss and Act”. With financial and technical support from the International Institute of Communication for Development (IICD), the department of National Agricultural Information Services (NAIS) is developing an Internet based platform where farmers will be able to use mobile phones and send questions on the most pressing problems they are faced with in their farming activities to NAIS and receive appropriate answers within the shortest time possible. According to the 2009 World Bank statistics, 30.4 percent of the population of Zambia own and operate a mobile phone and 6.3 percent had access to internet. These statistics are promising and the government needs to encourage the use of these technologies given that ICTs can complement other extension and knowledge services.

Training for Extension Professionals

Training agricultural professional increases the skills of extension staff in the field, and the lack of continuing education opportunities could constitute a drawback to agricultural extension agents’ performance. The training of extension personnel contributes directly to the development of human resources within extension organizations. Formal agricultural training is provided by the University of Zambia School of Agricultural Sciences and current personnel taking on extension services are trained to work as general agricultural practitioners. The training departments of MACO and MLFD generally run ad hoc in-service training programs that do not prepare extension staff adequately to deal with complex agricultural problems.

Statistical Indicators                                                                                     

Zambia                                                                                                                        Year

Agricultural land (sq km)

224,300

2008

Agricultural land (% of land area)

30.1

2008

Arable land (hectares)

2,355,000

2008

Arable land (% of land area)

3.7

2008

Arable land (hectares per person)

0.19

2008

Fertilizer consumption (per ha of arable land)

50

2008

Agriculture, value added (% of GDP)

21.6

2009

Food production index (1999-2001 = 100)

135

2009

Food exports (% of merchandise exports)

7.5

2009

Food imports (% of merchandise imports)

6.5

2009

GNI per capita, Atlas method (current US$)

960

2009

Literacy rate, adult total (% of people ages 15 and above)*

70.9

2009

Literacy rate, youth female (% of females ages 15-24)

67.3

2009

Ratio of young literate females to males (% ages 15-24)

82

2009

Ratio of female to male secondary enrollment (%)

84

2009

Mobile cellular subscriptions (per 100 people)

21.4

2007


28.0

2008


30.4

2009

Internet users (per 100 people)

4.9

2007


5.5

2008


6.3

2009

Population, total

12,935,368

2009

Population density (people per sq. km of land area)

17.4

200

Rural population

8,335,551

2009

Rural population (% of total population)

64.4

2009

Agricultural population* 

8,140,000

2008

Agricultural population (% of total population)*

62

2008

Total economically active population in Agriculture*

3.122,000

2008

Total economically active population in Agriculture (in % of total economically active population)*

64

2008

Female economically active population in Agriculture (% of total active in agriculture)*

47

2008

                                            Source: The World Bank, http://data.worldbank.org, *Food and Agriculture Organization, http://faostat.fao.org

Publications

Anandajayasekeram, P., K. E. Davis, and S. Workneh. 2007. Farmer Field Schools: An Alternative to Existing Extension Systems? Experience from Eastern and Southern Africa. JIAEE, Volume 14, Number 1. Retrieved on November 1, 2011 from 

Bonaglia, F. 2008. Sustaining Agricultural Diversification. Business for Development. OECD. www.oecd.org/dataoecd/7/11/40534117.pdf
www.odi.org.uk/work/projects/03-food-security-forum/docs/d4c1.pdf

Farrington, J., and O. Saasa. Drivers for Change in Zambian Agriculture Defining What Shapes the Policy Environment. Final Report submitted to: Department for International Development (DFID) Contract DCP/ZAM/019/2002 London and Lusaka.

FAO. 1997. Agricultural Operations Technology For Small Farmers In Eastern And Southern Africa: Project Findings nd Recommendations. Africa Region: Kenya, Lesotho, The United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe. Report prepared for the participating governments by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Rome, 1997. Retrieved on November 1, 2011 from www.fao.org/docrep/field/381305.htm 

Garrett, James L. 2004. Community empowerment and scaling-up in urban areas. The evolution of Push/Prospect in Zambia. FCND Discussion Paper Brief 177. Washington, D.C.: International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) (Brief) www.ifpri.org/pubs/misc/dt2e9.asp , www.ifpri.org/sites/default/files/publications/fcnbr177.pdf

Haggblade, S. 2007. Returns to Investment in Agriculture Policy Synthesis Food Security Research Project-Zambia. Ministry of Agriculture & Cooperatives, Agricultural Consultative Forum, Michigan State University and Golden Valley Agricultural Research Trust (GART) Number 19 – Lusaka Zambia 2007. Retrieved on November 1, 2011 from http://aec.msu.edu/fs2/zambia/wp8zambia.pdf 

IFAD/ROPPA. 2010. Farmers speak out: The vision and Recommendations of Africa’s Farmers’ Organizations for the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program. International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Network of Peasant and Producers’ Organizations of West Africa (ROPPA). Retrieved on November 1, 2011 from www.ifad.org/pub/pa/farmers.pdf 

Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives. 2008. The Agricultural Support Programme (Asp) in Zambia, an Innovative and Successful Extension Approach. Agriculture Support Programme (ASP). Retrieved on November 1, 2011 from http://asp.ramboll.se/Docs/EndofProgramme.pdf 


Resources Related to Linking Farmers to Markets

  • Likando Mukumbuta, ZATAC Limited and Bagie Sherchand, Development Alternatives, Zambia.Enabling Smallholder Prosperity: Zambia's Smallholder Milk Collection Centers.Case Study Presentation.Click here to view video presentation



         Persons responsible for this summary: Andre Mbassa Nnoung and Burton Swanson

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