Professionalising a dairy cooperative’s extension services: experiences from Kenya
Extension capacity building requires an integrated approach that works at both the management and implementation level to be successful.
The functioning of an agricultural extension team can be substantially improved through the increased use of virtual communication – made more apparent by Covid-19 – between team members themselves, and with farmers.
Extension services are much more effective with improved beneficiary targeting; strengthened lead farmer roles; and diversified extension methods.
Providing follow-up support to trained extension staff on extension content and approach is critical in building their capacities and confidence.
Agricultural advisory services are often considered to be the domain of the government, however, in practice, many other organisations also provide these services, such as commercially-oriented organisations that sell farm inputs or purchase products from farmers. This has become known as Agribusiness-based Advisory Services or ABAS. But how does ABAS work in practice and how can support agencies work with ABAS providers to strengthen their services? The experiences of the Baringo Agricultural Marketing Services Cooperative Society Limited (BAMSCOS), a Kenyan dairy cooperative, has generated important insights.