Farmer Advisory Services Boosted by SAA’s ‘Ma’ed’ App

An extension agent talking with a farmer with a smartphone in hand
An extension agent talking with a farmer with a smartphone in hand

Thirty-two-year-old frontline Extension Agent (EA) Eyob Mengesha has over the last two years transformed his capacity to deliver agricultural advisory services on the go, thanks to his proficiency with the Ma’ed Farm Suite (MFS). The MFS is a crop-based android mobile app platform that allows EAs to access offline agricultural information and digitized content for the provision of advisory services to smallholder farmers. It was developed in 2022 to complement the Sasakawa Africa Association’s (SAA’s) other digital extension technologies, which include the Amplio Talking Book and the Digital Classroom System (DCS). 

Mengesha, who has a master’s degree, was among the earliest EAs to receive training on the MFS offered through the SAA’s Digital Agricultural Extension and Advisory Services (DAEAS) program. He has, so far, successfully advised 150 smallholder farmers (17% women) supported by the MFS, further affirming the defining position of digital innovations in improving the quality, timeliness, inclusiveness of services provided to smallholder farmers.

“The training and subsequent access to agricultural information has enabled me to harness offline resources on topics such as regenerative agriculture and post-harvest technologies using MFS. This access has significantly improved my ability to provide farmers with up-to-date extension and advisory services,” he said.  

He further observed an interest among young farmers to learn more about the MFS app, with the demonstrated potential of its use as a tool to enhance their farming businesses.

“However, for the app to be used more effectively, SAA should provide additional resources and access to tools, covering areas like crop-livestock integration, horticulture, permaculture, nutrition, and animal production, amongst other topics,” he noted.

Meanwhile, the advent of the MFS remains in alignment with the Ethiopian government’s Digital Ethiopia 2025 strategy, which prioritizes the agricultural sector for achieving inclusive prosperity. It also aligns with the Ministry of Agriculture’s DAEAS Roadmap 2030, and the Digital Agriculture Roadmap (DAR).

Retrieved from SAA E-Newsletter, issued in April 2024, titled "Focus on Ethiopia"

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