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Aquaculture Extension and Outreach Services in Africa

Aquaculture

An aquaculture extension service offers technical advice on aquaculture to farmers and supplies them with the necessary inputs and services to support their agricultural production. It provides information to farmers and passes to the farmer’s new ideas developed by aquaculture research stations.

The establishment and operation of effective extension services is an essential driver for the paradigm shift required to transform African aquaculture from a predominantly small-scale subsistence farm activity into a competitive agricultural sub-sector.

In Africa, the cultural experience and exposure of the youth to livestock and crop farming results in a traditional competence in these sectors – at least for most non-urbanised people. The knowledge and skills for the development and operation of aquaculture is novel and has not developed ‘organically’ over eons. The acquisition of the necessary practical knowledge and skills for aquaculture requires training, hence the need for effective extension services.


AU IBAR Conference 2017:

The INTERAFRICAN BUREAU FOR ANIMAL RESOURCES (IBAR) from the African Union (AU) hosted a Conference in Accra, Ghana in 2017 where after a guideline document for the provision of extension services to support commercial aquaculture enterprise development in Africa was compiled.

The Joint Conference of Africa Ministers of Agriculture, Rural Development, Fisheries and Aquaculture recognized the potential of the aquaculture sector to generate wealth, social benefits and to contribute to the development of the African economy. However, producers experience in the sector has been marked with high rates of failure due to lack of guidance. For this to materialise, the knowledge and skills base within the African aquaculture sector must be developed and expanded through effective extension services.

In Africa, high rates of aquaculture failure continue to occur due to lack of guidance. Accordingly, there is a vast need for the application of appropriate and effective extension services. A paradigm shift in the approach to aquaculture development on the continent requires the transformation of extension services to better support aquaculture value chain and enterprise development. This guideline seeks to support this paradigm shift, which can ultimately lead to tangible benefits for the people of Africa.

In the guideline, effective extension services are defined as the transfer of relevant aquaculture knowledge and skills to new entrants and existing participants in an accurate and timely manner that can contribute to the success of aquaculture value chains.

The guidelines show the importance of “whole-value-chain” extension and explores the content of effective extension programmers. For these programmes to be effective, Governments need to identify and upskill extension officers. A clear differentiation must be made between the knowledge extension officers have and their ability to transform this knowledge into skills that result into successful aquaculture business.

These guidelines unpack a range of extension models, from basic exposure to advanced teaching at universities and training institutions, through to the role of aquaculture associations, and other participants in the aquaculture value chain. Importantly, the guidelines highlight the potential role of the social media in aquaculture extension on the Continent.The full article is for subscribed members only. To view the full article please subscribe. It’s FREE!Log In Register

Author

  • Manager, Aquaculture, Department of Animal Sciences, Stellenbosch University

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