Market-based Farmer Extension Program
Wezesha (enable) is our market-based farmer training and extension program. Africa Turnaround has designed an innovative and sustainable extension model that has 3 key components: 1) Key services, 2) Training model, 3) Sustainable model. If you are interested in piloting this model with us, kindly contact us.
1. Organizing farmers
Profiling of farmer groups: Develop a profile for selecting smallholder farmer groups.
Mobilization channels: Work with our youth wezesha agents to reach small holder farmers in groups.
Accountability: Encourage farmer groups to develop self-coordination and accountability.
2. Training and extension
Agricultural training: We conduct training on production, harvesting and post-harvest management, aggregation and marketing.
Farming as a Business and financial literacy skills training.
3. Aggregation and marketing
We offer assistance in aggregation and market linkages in cooperation with the farmer organization.
1. Training structure:
Our standard training program (agronomic, business, financial literacy) is a 50 hour (6 days) training covering theory and practical with theory taking 31.5 (3.7 days) and practical taking 18.5 (2.3 days). The training can be blocked or staggered depending on what suits participants and program objectives.
2. Training cohorts:
To optimize effectiveness of training in transferring of practical skills, the farmers are trained in small cohorts of 25 participants. Every three training cohorts are then organized into larger groups of 75 dubbed clusters. Each cluster (of 75) is managed by our Wezesha agent (Twalisha trainer and extension officer).
3. Training sequence and approach:
Theory training will be covered in 3.7 days. The training makes use of samples and pictures to illustrate certain concepts such as identifying crop pests and diseases. Commencing the training with farming as business topics is aimed at inspiring the farmers to view and approach their farming venture as a business and equip them with skills essential for managing their farming enterprises. Marketing also comes early in order to allow farmers to consider their marketing options, value of bulking and shopping for bulk buyers. A simple business and marketing plan template is availed to participants to allow them plan their farming enterprises. The rest of the training is built on this foundation of farming as business. The training then goes on to discuss how to prepare for production including seed sourcing and land preparation.
1. Low cost quality trainers:
We deploy youth trained workers dubbed Wezesha agents who are trained and supplied with a training and extension kit (Wezesha Kit). To guarantee quality, the Wezesha agents work under the supervision and with the technical support of a Chief Agronomist with over 7 years of experience in farmer training and extension work.
2. Cost shared model:
Our training and extension program always seeks to realize a leverage model of implementation where cost is shared between government extension programs, input manufacturers' outreach programs, and NGO farmer support programs. Where applicable the model is also input linked where the Wezesha agents (local trainers and extension workers) work as input promoters and distributors and earn a margin. Where agreeable with the farmer organization, the farmers also share in the cost by committing in advance a small fee paid in the form of a harvest share. The farmer organization sells the committed harvest share and passes the proceeds on to the Wezesha agent as a bonus, at the end of the harvest period.
3. Performance based:
Linking Wezesha agents’ end of season bonus to harvest results ensures that the agents work hard to realize optimal harvest for each of their farmers.
Transportation of trainers is a major cost in provision of extension services. To keep the cost of field logistics low, boda bodas (hired motor bikes) are used and are charged on per trip basis. Preparing and organizing the training is undertaken by a senior Wezesha agent (a Junior Agronomist) at no extra cost.
5. Training logistics:
To keep the cost of venue and necessary refreshments low, the training is hosted in a most suitable home of one of the 25 farmers in a training cohort. Given plenty of food in the rural setting, the participants are also encouraged to arrange for refreshments. With the demo farms hosted by one of the cohort members, this arrangement would also work for practical trainings.
6. Small Demo Plots:
We recommend quarter an acre which allows enough room to conduct practical sessions with our recommend group of 25. Small demo plots allow coverage of the practical sessions within a short duration of time. The shorter the sessions the less it costs.
7. Community videos and mobile projectors:
To drive costs even lower, we are working to build a model where community videos in local languages are used to reach out to bigger numbers more efficiently without compromising quality.
8. Market linkage:
Our market linkage services to farmer organizations through our sister company, Twalisha Limited, guarantee markets to the farmers.
9. Close monitoring and Partner updates:
We provide periodic updates and analytical reports to program partners. Close monitoring of each step ensures that corrective measures are taken in good time in order to a guarantee results.