The goal of this policy takes inspiration from the agricultural policy framework of the Gambia and the agricultural development agenda of the International Community. The policy is therefore designed to provide an extension system that is capable of delivering effective service to support a modernized market-led agricultural development effort of the people of the Gambia.
• To develop the capacity of extension services providers to enable them deliver effective, efficient and responsive extension services. The aim is to ensure quality staff is recruited in addition to a program of continuous upgrading of staff to develop the requisite capability for extension services delivery. The strategies to be adopted are as follows;
- Undertake adequate pre-employment training: This will involve reorienting the training at the agricultural training schools to enable trainees have the knowledge and skills in participatory Learning approach;
- Ensure continuous training of staff. MOA and the other services providers must ensure adequacy of well-trained staff to sustain effective extension delivery. The development and implementation of in-service training will help update the knowledge of staff;
- Develop the capacity of staff in facilitation and technical competence in commodities that are of importance to farmers. In addition to having knowledge in commodities of importance to stakeholders, the most important skill required of the extension worker, in adopting a participatory approach, is facilitation; and
- Provide needed tools and motivation. Staff should be well remunerated, provided with protective clothing and means of reaching the farmers as easily as possible.
• To Ensure Private and Not-for Profit sector participation in Extension Delivery through:
- Establishing partnership between MOA and private sector services provider through service provider platforms;
- Promote development and use of farmer groups and networks for services delivery;
- Encourage contract farmers as well as out-grower schemes between a group of persons in which one group provides resources for another group engaged in the actual production;
- Regulate extension services delivery;
- Development of standards for extension delivery; and
- Develop and implement a strategy to encourage private sector to deliver extension services.
• To build the capacity of stakeholders to enable them to operate effectively along the Agricultural Value Chain. The aim of this objective is to enable stakeholders approach agriculture as a business so as to produce to meet the demands of the market and in the process increase the household income. This will be done by:
- Disseminating information on relevant commodity value chains
- Generating and disseminating information about various actors along the value chain.
- Developing and use participatory learning and other relevant methods for effectiveness and impact: Participatory technology generation and delivery; Farmer Field Schools and farmer to farmer extension; Mass media and ICT for extension delivery
- Promoting multi-stakeholder groups and linkages that could encourage stakeholders to demand services along the agricultural value chain
- Identifying and promoting related off farm activities
• To promote intra and inter-sectoral collaboration to support market led agricultural services
- Ensuring inter-ministerial support for agricultural development.
- Establishing workable mechanisms for strengthening relationships between the agricultural related Ministries, International NGOs and other Development Partners.