The government Zimbabwe has officially launched the national forum for agricultural advisory services to improve communication and coordination among all players in the agricultural sector.
Gibson Chijarira, chief director in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development said the launch of the forum was an important milestone for the country.
“Agricultural extension is a vehicle for timely advice and modernisation of our agricultural sector. The farmer is a key person and this forum is critical in conveying standardised extension messaging. There are so many players in the agricultural extension services sector and we have to ensure proper coordination in terms of the messages we give farmers. Conflicting messages does not benefit the farmer,” he said.
Zimbabwe Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services
The Zimbabwe Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services (ZFAAS) aims to improve agricultural communication and knowledge management, sharing of best practices and networking among agricultural extension service providers in the country.
This forum brings together various stakeholders and actors in the agricultural extension sector to help benefit farmers with standardised and consistent messaging that will boost their crop productivity.
“This is a step in the right direction. There is a lot of extension messaging which is going out to the farmers and at times the messages are contradictory. We need to standadise and harmonise our messaging so that farmers get correct information that will help them boost their yields,” said Dr Isiah Mharapara, chairperson of ZFAAS.
The launch of ZFAAS was in fulfilment of the African Union agenda to promote and better coordinate the agricultural sector to enhance food security and transformed food systems. ZFAAS is now the country chapter of the African Forum for Advisory for Agricultural Advisory Services (AFAAS) – pan African platform for sharing knowledge and best practices on extension services. The World Hunger Help, a German development agency, supported the establishment and launch of ZFAAS through the Zimbabwe Agriculture Knowledge and Innovation Services (ZAKIS) project.
“We need to promote coordination among all stakeholders to help transform the country’s agricultural sector through this platform,” said Kumbirai Nhongo, a ZAKIS project officer.
“This is part of a continental agenda by the AU to transform food systems in Africa. Most African countries now have vibrant forums and the launch of ZFAAS is a significant milestone for Zimbabwe.”