By Francis Musinguzi.
Photo: Community based Extension Staff engage farmers in a learning exchange visit in Kasenda Sub County
Extension services have been and remain the main conduit for disseminating information on farm technologies, support rural adult learning and assist farmers in developing their farm technical and managerial skills.
KRC introduced a community-based agricultural extension program at the start of 2021 to address a glaring farm extension service gaps in Kabarole, Kasese and Bunyangabu Districts. According to the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (2019), the ratio of extension worker to farmer is 1: 1,800 whereas the recommended is 1:500 (the approved structure is 13 officers at district level and 3 extension staff at sub-county level).
KRC extension workers are working with farm families organised in their associations to transfer skills for good agricultural practices (GAPS) through on-farm demonstrations, mentoring groups to streamline governance and facilitate linkages with agriculture market system actors.
KRC farm extension operates a demand driven approach, responding to the felt needs of farmers. Through the farmer hotline (0800133533) stationed at KRC FM Radio and daily interfaces with the communities, farmers’ questions are aggregated by the experts, researched and responded to on radio for the benefit of the wider community.
KRC extension workers who are equipped with their bikes, pruning saws and other tools are always on call to respond to questions from the farmers. This approach has proven to meet the ideal expectation of agriculture extension and most importantly spending adequate time and timely response to farmer’s needs.
Photo: KRC Community Radio based Extension workers conducting soil testing experiments at KRC Food Security and Agribusiness Department Boma