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Extension and advisory services: at the frontline of the response to COVID-19 to ensure food security











FAO. 2020. Extension and advisory services: at the frontline of the response to COVID-19 to ensure food security. Rome.




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    Meeting
    Extension and advisory services: at the frontline of COVID-19 response for food security in Africa. Webinar Agenda
    30/jun/20
    2020
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    The global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is expanding daily. Governments around the globe are confronted with multiple challenges related to minimizing the devastating health impact and protecting human lives and ensuring sufficient food supplies and the functioning of services to those most in need. All this while coping with the economic consequences of COVID-19, which is expected to push an additional 548 million people below the poverty line. Between present disruptions and future threats to the food supply chain, the COVID-19 outbreak has generated extreme vulnerability in the agriculture sector. It is therefore crucial to mobilize all available instruments, institutions and stakeholders from both public and private sectors and civil society to ensure appropriate and timely response. Agricultural Extension and Advisory Service (EAS) systems play an indispensable role at the frontline of the response to the pandemic in rural areas. However, in order to adapt to the emergency context within the government regulations, EAS providers need to rapidly change their way of operating.
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    Brochure, flyer, fact-sheet
    Making extension and advisory services work for youth 2022
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    The global youth population has reached the unprecedented figure of 1.2 billion. This exceptional number has enormous potential: with farming populations ageing across the world, the agricultural sector needs to attract youth to ensure generational turnover and foster competitiveness. With their energy, ability to learn and innovative attitudes, youth can accelerate the transition to more sustainable agrifood systems that can feed the world’s growing population. For this to happen, important push factors are needed, including education and skills, access to productive resources and services (especially land, finance, and business development services), connectivity, and youth agency. But more is needed. Rural youth often operate in contexts where decent employment and entrepreneurial opportunities remain limited. Pull factors are thus also essential: private sector development, more demand for youth labour and products in value chains, improved working conditions and business enabling environments in rural areas. Integrated, multi-stakeholder approaches are needed to empower youth within agrifood systems. In this regard, extension and advisory services (EAS) are key, not only to enhance skills and access to information and support, but also to facilitate innovation, and act as brokers of employment opportunities in rural areas. Sadly, most EAS providers are not prepared for these tasks. Their design and delivery results in them reaching mostly wealthier and already established farmers. While public EAS providers are often short of resources, private providers may be less interested in serving youth, who are often perceived as a more ‘risky’ clientele. The advice EAS offer is neither tailored nor provided in youth-friendly formats. Which is why youth must be involved in EAS not only as clients, but also as providers.
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    Book (stand-alone)
    Indicator framework for national extension and advisory service systems
    Metrics for performance and outcome measurement
    2022
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    Extension and advisory services (EAS) play a key role in facilitating innovation for sustainable agricultural development. To strengthen this role, appropriate investment and conducive policies are needed in EAS, guided by evidence. It is therefore essential to examine EAS characteristics and performance in the context of modern, pluralistic and increasingly digital EAS systems. In response to this need, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has developed guidelines and instruments for the systematic assessment of national EAS systems. The Indicator Framework provides overarching guidance on EAS systems assessment, including a list of 40 indicators (10 core and 30 complementary) which cover all major aspects of EAS from inputs to impact. This Indicator Framework provides much needed structure to EAS assessment, taking into account contemporary, pluralistic services and is complemented by FAO’s instruments for participatory data collection in EAS, including quantitative and qualitative data.

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