kenyaAgricultural extension in Kenya dates back to the early 1900s, but its only notable success was in the dissemination of hybrid maize technology in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The government through its Ministry of Agriculture provided the bulk of extension services to both small scale farmers and commercial producers. After the implementation of structural adjustment programs (SAPs) in the 1980s, the Kenyan government came under considerable pressure to scale down its dominant role in national economy (FAO 1997). Kenya’s agricultural extension budget together with extension staff numbers has plummeted significantly. At the same time, the performance of the public agricultural extension service in Kenya was questioned and its effectiveness became a very controversial subject (Gautam and Anderson 1999). The traditional public extension system was perceived as outdated, top-down, paternalistic, uniform (one-sizefits-all), inflexible, subject to bureaucratic inefficiencies and therefore unable to cope with the dynamic demands of modern agriculture

History

History

To respond to these challenges, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development formulated the National Agricultural Extension Policy (NEAP) to guide improvements in delivery of extension services in 2001. The NEAP recognized the need to diversify, decentralize and strengthen the provision of extension services to increase their sustainability and relevance to farmers. The NEAP was meant to form the basis for all extension work within the government and in its interaction with other stakeholders in agricultural research and development. To operationalize the NEAP, the ministry prepared a National Agricultural and Livestock Extension Program (NALEP) and NALEP Implementation Framework. The policy has been criticized for been ambiguous on the specific roles of various actors in extension provision and particularly for failing to specify how the private sector would be encouraged to play a stronger role in extension. Thus there has been a desire to reform the public extension into a system that is cost effective, responsive to farmers’ needs, broad-based in service delivery, accountable and with in-built sustainability mechanisms. There has also been a call for stronger involvement of stakeholders and beneficiaries at grass root level.

Rural and agricultural development is integral to any strategy to alleviate poverty and promote broad-based growth in Kenya, and the importance of agricultural extension in relation to the fight against poverty has been underscored in the Strategy to Revitalize Agriculture (SRA) (Republic of Kenya, 2004). It is envisaged that the economic expansion momentum will be consolidated further through Vision 2030 Strategy which is a successor to the ERS (MOA, 2008). Extension is identified as a critical area that requires immediate action and is one among the six SRA first-tracked interventions. Kenya’s small farmers had traditionally benefited from two major types of extension systems. The first is the government extension system focusing on mainly food crops. The government has tried a number of extension styles, including progressive or model farmer approach, integrated agricultural rural development approach, farm management, training and visit (T&V), attachment of officers to organizations, farming systems approaches and farmer field schools (FFS). The second type of extension system includes the commodity-based systems run by government parastatals, outgrower companies, and cooperatives. The commodity-based extension deals mainly, but not exclusively with commercial crops such as coffee, tea, pyrethrum and sisal. These extension services are deliberately motivated by profits, and tend to work well when both the firm and farmers clearly benefit from the extension expenditures.

As a result of flaws in the public extension system, a third type of extension service has emerged: the privatized agricultural extension initiatives provided by private companies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), community-based organizations (CBOs), and faith-based organizations (FBOs). Extension is now broadly seen as a complex system where services are provided by a range of private and public sector entities. The National Agricultural and Livestock Extension Program (NALEP), the main government extension program is implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture and supported by the government of Kenya (NALEP-GoK) and Swedish International Development Agency (NALEP-Sida). The program aims at enhancing the contribution of agriculture and livestock to social and economic development and poverty alleviation by promoting pluralistic, efficient and demand-driven extension services to farmers and agro-pastoralists (Muyanga and Jayne, 2006). But there are concerns about the effectiveness of the pluralistic agricultural extension systems involving both public and private extension delivery methods in reaching target farmers and producing expected results of lifting the standard of living of small holder rural farmers as well as boosting businesses for commercial farmers.

At the national level, Kenya public extension comprises 5470 staff members and is managed by a team of 910 senior staff according to the MEAS report (2011). One hundred and three staff member has a Master of Science degree, four staff was trained at the PhD level and the rest of the team studied at the bachelor level and agricultural diploma. Women account for 32.3% of senior management staff.  There are 3,086 subject matter specialists to provide backsopping support to the field staff, all of them have a bachelor degree and 33.0% of which are female. The total number of field workers is 1464, they all hold a 2 to 3 year agricultural diploma, and 32.2% are female. There are two other groups of workers: Information, Communication & Technology (ICT) Support Staff and In-Service Training Staff. Although the public sector does not employ in-service training staff, 10 workers are involved in ICT support services (Table 1).

Table 1: Human Resources in the Public Extension Service in Kenya (Government or Ministry -based Extension Organization)

Major Categories of Extension Staff

Secondary School diploma

2-3 yr. Ag diploma

B.Sc. degree

M.Sc./Ing. Agr. degree

Ph.D. degree

Gender

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

Senior Management Staff

       

246

553

48

59

 

4

Subject Matter Specialists (SMS)

       

1023

2063

       

Field Level Extension Staff

   

472

992

           

Information, Communications & Technology (ICT) Support Staff

     

10

           

In-Service Training Staff

                   

Total Extension Staff:   5470

 

 

472

1002

1269

2616

48

59

 

4

Source: IFPRI/FAO/IICA Worldwide Extension Study, 2011

Extension Providers

Major Institutions Providing Extension/advisory Services in the Country

Public Sector

Agricultural extension services can be potentially provided by three main groups: the public sector, the private nonprofit sector and the private for-profit sector. The public sector includes Ministries and Departments of Agriculture and Agricultural Research Centers. In Kenya, the public sector is represented by the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) through the Direction of Extension, Research and Technical Training, the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Development (MLFD) through Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI), Kenyata University, other universities and research institutions around the country. These institutions provide extension services through various departments and institutes some of which are listed below:

Public Extension Institutions

  • Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) http://www.kilimo.go.ke/
    • Directorate of Extension, Research Liaison and Technical Training
      • Extension Services Division
      • Agricultural Sector Coordination Unit
      • Horticulture Crops Development Authority
  • Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Development (MLFD) www.kmfri.co.ke
    • Kenya Marine  and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI)

Public Research and Education Institutions

  • Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI)
  • Kenya Sugar Research Foundation (KESREF)
  • Coffee Research Foundation (CRF)
  • Tea Research Foundation of Kenya (TRFK)
  • ASTI Agricultural Research and Development Investments and Capacity in Kenya 
  • Kenyatta University
    • Center for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development

International Organizations

  • International Livestock Research Institute
  • GIZ - Promotion of Private Sector Development

Non-public Sector

Private Sector Firms

The private nonprofit sector includes local and international NGOs, foundations, community boards and associations, bilateral and multilateral aid projects and other non-commercial associations. The private for-profit sector consists of commercial production and marketing firms (such as input manufacturers and distributors), commercial farmer or farmer group operated enterprises where farmers are both users and providers of agriculture information, agro-marketing and processing firms. In Kenya, while most extension providers in the past focused on production, currently, the private sector extension providers are going beyond production to support value addition activities and link farmers with output markets. Public sector collaborates with other development agents and the government offering extension services, to reduce cost on the part of the private non-commercial extension providers (Muyanga and Jayne, 2006). Private companies co-finance major agricultural shows and also invest in extension which they considered as part of their marketing strategy.  

Non-Governmental Organizations and other Donors

In Kenya, private Non-Governmental, Faith based and Community-based organizations are currently providing farmers with agricultural extension services. Most of them are promoting commercialization of small-scale agriculture, and provide training on marketing and calenderization (not to grow when everybody is growing to avoid depressing output prices). The majority of NGOs has extension staff trained in relevant agricultural disciplines. Most of these NGOs rely on the government research institution such as KARI for technology, and others have established links with private companies as well as international research centers (ICRAFT, ICUPE, CYMMIT, CIP ICRISAT and IITA). Following is a list of selected Kenyan NGOs involved in agricultural production and agribusiness supply chain development

  • Care – Kenya
  • Sacred Africa
  • World Vision
  • Catholic Relief Services
  • Winrock International Institute for Agricultural Development

Farmer Based Organizations and Cooperatives

Farmers have the tradition of organizing themselves at local level into membership-based entities (associations, cooperatives). In Kenya, farmers have organized themselves in groups to facilitate such ventures as the marketing of agricultural output, mutual help assistance and acquisition of agricultural credit. Community labor-sharing groups in Kenya are one of the successful farmers’ based organizations providing supply of labor to farmers during critical periods of the cropping season. These groups allow the members to help each other to accomplish heavy farm tasks such as ploughing, planting, and harvesting. Some development organizations try to build on these local institutions to carry out their agricultural extension work. The work groups are common in many parts of Kenya, and are known by several names, including saga, ngwatio, bulala and m'wthya. They are used by NGO and other partners to promote and share new farming and conservation practices. Using community groups is a form of farmer-to-farmer extension, as farmers learn a particular innovation and share their knowledge and skills to other farmers. Farmers are generally enthusiastic to share their skills with other farmers. Extension cannot be expected to reach every farmer - hence, the need for selectivity and reliance on farmer-to-farmer dissemination (World Bank, 1999). The Kenya National Federation of Agricultural Producers (KNFAP) is the largest farmers union in Kenya whose mission is to “empower its members to make informed choices for improved sustainable livelihoods”. Other farmer organizations that provide some agricultural information and services to their members include: Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya (FPEAK); Kenya Flower Council; Cereal Growers Association and Co-operative Societies.

List of Extension Providers

icon target The following list shows an excerpt from the GFRAS Directory of Extension Providers for Kenya. Some of these entries may be specially marked for having more detailed information in the database of the Worldwide Extension Study WWES.

{tabEnabling Environment}

Enabling (or Disabling) Environment

It is proven that an effective extension system improves agricultural productivity through providing farmers with relevant information that help them optimize the use of resources. In its strategy to alleviate poverty and promote growth, the government of Kenya through the Ministry of Agriculture has put in place a National Agricultural Extension Policy to guide improvements in delivery of extension services. A complex extension system involving the public sector represented by the government and a range of private entities is working collaboratively to reach out to both small scale and commercial farmers in every part of the country. Kenya can boast of substantial advances in the use of ICTs especially the use of mobile phone and internet services in the provision of agricultural advisory services to farmers. However, there are concerns about the effectiveness of the pluralistic agricultural extension systems involving both public and private extension delivery methods, especially the ability for limited resources farmers to access paid extension services. Private extension is not a substitute for public extension and the public sector should continue funding extension significantly but in ways that do not duplicate services already being provided by sustainable alternative extension providers.

ICT

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for Agriculture and Extension

The development of the information society in Kenya can be reviewed in terms of the development of ICTs, informatics, e-government or telecommunications reform policies, which have been actively pursued since the early 1980s. According to the proposed National ICT Policy, there has been rapid growth in ICT development and adoption in Kenya. The 2009 World Bank statistics report indicated that 48.7 percent of the population of Kenya own and operate a mobile phone, and 10 percent of the population had access to internet in 2009. Several ICT tools used in disseminating agricultural knowledge and technology elsewhere including email, internet, phone, radio, TV, and print are found in Kenya. An illustration of a potentially beneficial application of new technologies is found in mobile telephony. The SMS-based service offers farmers a timely source of information, as they no longer have to wait for newspapers to publish the information a day after the price is reported (Mungai, 2005). The Mumias Information & Welfare Advances (MIWA) project is currently (2011) testing the effectiveness of cell phone messages to a subset of farmers on recommended agronomic practices such as weeding, trash lining, and gapping. KACE launched an SMS-based information service—SokoniSMS64—for farmers. The SokoniSMS service enables these farmers to receive market prices in various market centers around the country through their mobile phones. Equipped with this information, the farmers are able to determine the most profitable market center to transport products to and circumvent middlemen who usually offer to buy the products at much lower prices. Another example of ICT use is infonet biovision; it is a web-based information platform offering trainers, extension workers and farmers in East Africa a quick access to up-to-date and locally relevant information in order to optimize their livelihoods in a safe, effective, sustainable and ecologically sound way.

Training

Training for Extension Professionals

The quality of extension staff may well be a more important constraint on the diffusion of innovations and adoption of new technologies than the farmers themselves. Training agricultural professionals increases the skills of extension staff in the field. Agricultural training institutions in Kenya (Kenyatta University and Egerton University) like in many other East African countries provide formal training in agriculture and agriculture related fields at the degree and diploma level. The Directorate of Extension, Research Liaison and Technical Training of the Ministry of Agriculture oversees the planning, utilization and management of technical human resources requirement and training needs for the Ministry. The Ministry has two colleges; Bukura Agricultural College for training and upgrading skills of serving officers from certificate to diploma level and Embu Agricultural Staff Training College (EAST College), which focuses on short refresher courses for in-service agricultural professionals (MOA, 2008).

Statistics

Statistical Indicators                                                                                               

Kenya                                                                                                                         Year

Agricultural land (sq km)

271,000

2008

Agricultural land (% of land area)

47.6

2008

Arable land (hectares)

5,300,000

2008

Arable land (% of land area)

9.31

2008

Arable land (hectares per person)

0.14

2008

Fertilizer consumption (per ha of arable land)

33

2008

Agriculture, value added (% of GDP)

22.6

2009

Food production index (1999-2001 = 100)

126

2009

Food exports (% of merchandise exports)

44

2009

Food imports (% of merchandise imports)

15.4

2009

GNI per capita, Atlas method (current US$)

760

2009

Literacy rate, adult total (% of people ages 15 and above)*

87

2009

Literacy rate, youth female (% of females ages 15-24)

93.6

2009

Ratio of young literate females to males (% ages 15-24)

103

2009

Ratio of female to male secondary enrollment (%)

90

2009

Mobile cellular subscriptions (per 100 people)

30.1

2007

 

42.1

2008

 

48.7

2009

Internet users (per 100 people)

7.9

2007

 

8.7

2008

 

10.0

2009

Population, total

39,802,015

2009

Population density (people per sq. km of land area)

69.9

200

Rural population

31,085,374

2009

Rural population (% of total population)

78.1

2009

     

Agricultural population* 

27,764,000

2008

Agricultural population (% of total population)*

72

2008

Total economically active population in Agriculture*

12,840,000

2008

Total economically active population in Agriculture (in % of total economically active population)*

72

2008

Female economically active population in Agriculture (% of total active in agriculture)*

49

2008

Source: The World Bank, *Food and Agriculture Organization FAO

References

References

MOA. 2008. The Ministry at a Glance. Ministry of Agriculture, Republic of Kenya, Office of the Permanent Secretary, April 2008.

Mungai, W. 2005. Using ICTs for Poverty Reduction and Environmental Protection in Kenya: The “M-vironment” Approach in A Developing Connection: Bridging the Policy gap between the Information Society and Sustainable Development. International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)

Muyanga, M. and T. S. Jayne. 2006. Agricultural Extension in Kenya: Practice and Policy Lessons. Tegemeo Working paper 26/2006. Tegemeo Institute of Agricultural Policy and Development, Egerton University, Nairobi. 

World Bank. 1999. Agricultural Extension the Kenya Experience. Précis World Bank Operations Evaluation Department, Winter 1999. Number 198. 

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