Providing better agricultural advice through e-Extension
Following the COVID-19 pandemic, which restricted peoples’ movements and assembly, SAA-Ethiopia moved with speed to intensify its e-Extension programs.
Since 2010, SAA has been working to digitalize agricultural extension systems, but the COVID situation necessitated an acceleration in pace to popularize the use of digital tools in providing timely advice to farmers on good agricultural practices (GAP) including line planting, appropriate fertilizer application, mulching, crop rotation and minimum tillage.
Getachew Belay, a Development Agent (DA) at the Taguba Meskel Farmer Training Center (FTC) in the Meket district of the Amhara region, says the new digital tools have enhanced access to agricultural information by both extension agents and farmers. A frontline extension agent, supporting 302 smallholder farmers, Belay says the voice calls and text messaging tools that they previously worked with were limited in terms of information dissemination capacity. He adds that the SAA promoted technologies have “greatly improved my access to information on GAPs regardless of internet connection, and enabled me to provide advisory services in a more timely and cost-effective manner.”