Structure of Agriculture Extension Services
The Department of Agriculture Extension Services has five (5) technical branches namely: Extension Methodology and Systems, Agribusiness Development, Food and Nutrition, and Agriculture Gender Roles Extension Support Services and Agriculture Communication. The branches are supported by Extension Management through provision of administrative, planning, human resources management and financial services. The Department’s structure extends to Agriculture Development Division (ADD) level, where each branch has offices and officers to implement its interventions. There are eight ADDs that support implementation of agriculture extension programmes and activities in Malawi. The ADDs are: Karonga, Mzuzu, Kasungu, Salima, Lilongwe, Machinga, Blantyre and Shire Valley
Functions of Agriculture Extension Services
The Department of Agriculture Extension Services performs five (5) core functions through its branches as presented in the Table below:
Table 1: Functions of Agriculture Extension Services
|Extension Methodology and Systems||Developing and promoting extension methods, approaches and systems for farmer and client engagement|
|Agriculture Communication||Packaging and Publishing agriculture information, knowledge and messages through interpersonal, print and electronic media.|
|Agribusiness Development||Developing Farmer Organisation (FO) and farmers’ capacity in agriculture commercialisation.|
|Food and Nutrition||Developing Farmer Organisation (FO) and farmers’ capacity in appropriate food and human nutrition practices.|
|Agriculture Gender Roles Extension Support Services||Mainstreaming gender, HIV and AIDS in agriculture policies, programmes and projects.|
Specifically, the Branches perform the following functions;
Extension Methodology and Systems Branch
The Branch comprises Extension Methodologies, Training and Systems Section and Farm Business Management Section. It is popularly known as Extension Methodologies and Systems (EMS) Branch under the Department of Agriculture Extension Services. It is headed by the Deputy Director of Agriculture Extension Services (DDAES).
Purpose and Objectives
- Provision of effective extension mechanisms and transfer methodologies for enhanced adoption of agricultural technologies
- Promotion of economic analysis in order to determine profitable and viable enterprises
- Coordination of staff and farmer training
- Development of farmer associations and cooperatives for enhancement of farmer empowerment in extension activities.
- Key Functions
- Policy and coordination, Stakeholder coordination and systems
- Technology dissemination and methodologies approaches and concepts.
- Agricultural training
- Capacity building of agriculture extension staff
- Development and promotion of extension approaches and systems
- Promote research extension farmer linkages at different levels of implementation in the country.
- Agriculture Communication Branch
The mandate of ACB is to develop and communicate agricultural technical messages on recommended technologies so as to enhance adoption by smallholder farmers and increase agricultural productivity. To fulfil its mandate, the Branch uses a multimedia approach whereby the weakness of one medium is compensated for by the strength of the other. In this regard, print, radio, video and mobile audio-visual units and social media platforms are currently being used in communicating recommended agricultural technologies. As communication unit of the ministry, the branch mainly targets smallholder farmers, agricultural extension workers and the public at large.
Agriculture Communication Branch has three functional sections namely; Publications, Radio, Video and Mobile Unit. The Branch has satellite agricultural communication units (ACUs) headed by Agricultural Communication Officers (POs) in all Agriculture Development Divisions (ADDs)
- Publish agricultural publications such as newsletters, magazines, booklets, manuals, posters and leaflets.
- Develop agricultural technical messages
- Provide printing and translation service
- Produce and facilitate airing of agricultural radio programmes
- Operate mobile units
- Monitor and evaluate effectiveness of agricultural messages
- Provide technical guidance and supervision to satellite agricultural communication units in the ADDs
- Co-ordinate and participate in agricultural exhibits and functions of national importance
- Improve staff and general public understanding of agriculture through the radio, publications and multi-media campaigns.
- Disseminate information, messages on agricultural enterprises through its multimedia channels.
- Editing and designing publications and training manuals. Edit training materials and draft publications on agricultural enterprises.
- Publicise and organize media coverage for agricultural functions and activities.
- Circulating information packs, training materials, publications among farmers and extension front line workers.
- Liaise with subject matter specialist on various topical subjects that needs to be covered.
Agribusiness Development Branch
- Farm business planning and management
- Market and agriculture value chains development
- Farmer organization development
- Coordinate of agribusiness and policy direction
- Coordinate of national agribusiness events
Food and Nutrition Branch
- Promote production and consumption of a variety of high nutritive value foods both crops and livestock
- Promoting dietary diversification by intensification of nutrition education through trainings, demonstrations and food displays on proper food processing, preservation and storage, preparation and consumption with emphasis on the six food groups.
- In collaboration with other partners, conducts nutrition surveillance which results into information generation and provision on the status of food and nutrition issues.
- Promoting backyard farming with the goal of increasing the consumption of micronutrient rich foods.
Agriculture Gender Roles Extension Support Services Branch
Responsible for mainstreaming gender, HIV and AIDS in agricultural policies, programmes and projects.
Mainstream gender, HIV and AIDS issues in agricultural programmes and \projects in order to reduce existing gender disparities, further HIV infections and re infections and mitigate the impacts of HIV and AIDS at a community level and workplace.
- To promote quality participation of all gender categories including People Living with HIV and the affected in planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of all agricultural programmes and projects.
- To promote mainstreaming of gender, HIV and AIDS issues and interventions in Agricultural Programmes and Projects in Farming communities and workplaces.
- To facilitate identification and establishment of Income Generating and Special projects for all gender categories including PLHIV and the affected, in the farming communities in order to reduce gender disparities and empower them socially and economically.
- To facilitate the collection, generation and use of gender-disaggregated data to inform planning implementation, monitoring and evaluation of agricultural programmes and projects.
AGRESS Strategies and activities
Strategy 1: Build capacity of staff under various programs and sub programmes and farmers in mainstreaming gender, HIV and AIDS issues in programs and projects.
- Train staff on gender, HIV and AIDS mainstreaming.
- Conduct farmer training on gender, HIV and AIDS mainstreaming in programs and projects.
- Support DAESS structures with knowledge and skills to mainstream gender and HIV in their work
- Source, review and distribute gender, HIV and AIDS IEC materials to staff and farmers.
Strategy 2: Mainstream gender, HIV and AIDS in new and ongoing agricultural programmes and projects.
- Conduct gender analysis of existing programmes, sub-programmes and projects to identify gender and HIV issues
- Mainstream gender, HIV and AIDS issues in new projects and programmes including training programmes.
- Support establishment of model villages that deal with gender, HIV and AIDS issues by conducting gender, HIV and AIDS responsive appraisals and action planning.
- Implement household approach
Strategy 3: Promote income generating and special projects for vulnerable groups.
- Facilitate formation of IGPs and special projects groups for vulnerable gender categories.
- Train vulnerable farmers on income generating and special projects organization and management.
- Facilitate identification of viable IGPs for/with the vulnerable groups
- Develop IGP proposals for/with the IGP groups
Strategy 4: Reduce employees and farmers susceptibility to gender disparities and HIV infection.
- Train/orient staff on gender, HIV and AIDS and development.
- Conduct sensitization meetings for staff and farmers on impacts of gender imbalances, HIV and AIDS pandemic on agricultural development and rural livelihoods.
- Provide staff and their spouses with HIV prevention kits.
- Link staff and farmers to service providers to access services including antiretroviral therapy and food supplements.
- Form workplace support committees and information sharing sessions on HIV and AIDS.
- Promote labour saving technologies in communities.
Strategy 5: Promote gender, HIV and AIDS based monitoring and evaluation.
- Establish gender disaggregated Data banks at all levels
- Facilitate collection, interpretation and reporting of gender disaggregated data in all sub programmes and projects