Harmonization of extension messages on climate smart agriculture in Malawi : Do we speak with one voice, and to whom?

Harmonization of extension messages on climate smart agriculture in Malawi : Do we speak with one voice, and to whom?

Poor access to extension services has been one of the major challenges that smallholder farmers in Malawi face. Dissemination of agricultural technologies is mainly done through field level extension workers and lead farmers; however, such workers are few in number. In addition to this, there is lack of harmonization of messages, approaches and methods in extension delivery at field level. Using baseline cross-sectional data, this study aims at contributing towards harmonization of extension messages and coordination of extension service providers in the implementation of climate smart agriculture technologies in Malawi. Existing information channels for disseminating climate smart agriculture and the capacity of extension workers and lead farmers were analyzed. Key study findings include poor coordination among stakeholders in the delivery, message package and incentive schemes; nonexistence of government approved climate smart agriculture specific training manuals among stakeholders; lack of knowledge and skills among field level extension workers in disseminating climate smart agriculture technologies; and limited access to knowledge and information by female farmers. The study recommends a harmonized and gender sensitive approach in extension delivery, coordination in the implementation of climate smart agriculture activities, and strengthening of District Agriculture Extension Committees for improved facilitation in extension delivery.

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