Farmer Extension & Training
Wezesha (enable) is our farmer training and extension program. Africa Turnaround has designed an innovative and extension and training model with three features: 1) Key services, 2) Training model, 3) Sustainable model.
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 agricultural best practices.
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 approach:
We use a blended approach that combine mobile self-learning, coach support and demo farm based training. Training is tied to the crop cycle so as to make it most relevant and practical. Farmers can learn on their mobile without the need for a smart phone on internet connectivity.
2. Support groups:
To optimize effectiveness of training in transferring of practical skills, the farmers are grouped in small cohorts of 25 participants. Every three training cohorts are then organized into larger groups of 75 dubbed clusters. Several clusters are coordinated and managed by our Wezesha agent- Twalisha field officer.
1. Low cost:
Mobile learning is reinforced with coach support. We deploy youth trained workers dubbed Wezesha agents who are trained and supplied with a digital 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 (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. Twalisha 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:
In the case of demo farm based training, the cost of venue and necessary refreshments are kept by hosting the training 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.
Our market linkage services to farmer organizations through our sister company, Twalisha Limited, enable farmers to meet the cost of training and extension.