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Experts call for greater investment in extension services

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Agriculture and development experts have advised the Government of Malawi to consider making greater investment in the extension services, stressing that this is key to the realization of enhanced productivity and production.

The experts made the advice in Lilongwe during the 11the Ndizotheka Eminent Speakers Series, which was organized by MwAPATA Institute and the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR).

The 11th Ndizotheka Eminent Speakers Series was organized under the theme: Building 21st Century Agricultural Research and Extension Capacity in Africa.

The main speaker, Thomas Jayne, said time had come for humanity to innovate in order to become more sustainable, resilient and productive.

Professor Jayne making a presentation during the 11th Ndizotheka Eminent Series in Lilongwe–Photo by Watipaso Mzungu

“But how can humanity do that? By increasing investments in research, development and extension – both science/technology (including traditional knowledge) and social science. In developing regions, agricultural research and development has consistently generated the greatest impact on agricultural growth and improved living standards of all types of public agricultural expenditures,” said Jayne who is University Foundation Professor emeritus of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics at Michigan State University.

He is also a Fellow of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association and a Distinguished Fellow of the African Association of Agricultural Economists.

He is a board member of the Regional Network of Agricultural Policy Research Institutes in Eastern and Southern Africa and the MwAPATA Institute in Malawi.

During a panel discussion, Agricultural Research and Extension Trust (ARET) Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Albert Changaya, Director of Knowledge and Learning at the National Planning Commission (NPC), Dr. Joseph Nagoli, Dr. Paul Fatch, who is Head of Agricultural Extension Services at LUANAR, and farmer from Dowa, Christopher Chimzimu, pointed out the need for the government and its development partners to equip small-scale farmers with knowledge and skills on how to build resilience in light of the devastating effects of climate change.

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