Assessment of the Capacity, Incentives, and Performance of Agricultural Extension Agents in Western Democratic Republic of Congo
60 Pages Posted: 23 Oct 2013
Date Written: August 2013
Agricultural extension is critical for agricultural growth and food security, but making the extension system effective, demand driven, and responsive to the needs of a diverse set of producers remains a challenge. As part of the institutional reforms in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the extension system is being reviewed to identify strategies and practical actions to transform the system to better respond to the knowledge needs in a rapidly changing agriculture and food sector. This paper provides an in-depth review of the agricultural extension system of DRC including an analysis of its policies and legal framework, organization, and management; links to critical institutions; and capacity and incentive of different actors in the system. This review involved document analyses, interviews with key informants, and surveys of 107 extension organizations and 162 extension agents in 156 randomly selected villages in western DRC. This review suggests serious funding constraints, human resource management problems, no linkage and coordination within the extension system and with research and education systems, and a majority of underserved communities and farmers. This review also highlights a good opportunity given the huge human resources (more than 11,000 agents) deployed into the sectors and territories as part of the Ministry’s agricultural inspection system. However, their mandate is not clear and they currently focus on data collection (census) and checking what farmers do and limited in extension and advisory work. This review highlights the urgent need for human resource or civil service reform; public-sector commitment and funding; infrastructure rebuilding and skills upgrading in extension, education and training, and research organizations; and a unified policy or strategy with clear vision, mandate, targets, and performance-based incentive system.
Keywords: advisory services, agricultural extension, agricultural reform, Capacity, incentives, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Southern Africa, Africa south of Sahara, Africa
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