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CDSF Conducts Training on Use of Computer Tablets for Agricultural EAS

The Capacity Development Support Facility (CDSF) facilitated four rounds of training on the use of computer tablets for agricultural extension and advisory services. The training was conducted in Axum, Shashamene, Adama and Dangila towns with 128 (23 women) participants drawn from twenty-three woredas in four regions, namely Tigray, SNNPR, Amhara and Oromia. Selected Kebele Development Agents (DA) and representatives of regional and woreda AGP offices also participated in the training.

The purpose of the training was to enable Kebele DAs to effectively use computer tablets to assist them in providing agricultural Extension and Advisory Services (EAS). The training is part of CDSF’s effort to pilot the use of computer tablets in agricultural extension work in Ethiopia. To this end, CDSF purchased and  100 computer tablets and distributed to participating DAs in the pilot areas.

 

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The topics covered during the two-day training included: Knowledge Management in the Extension System, the Role of information communication technology (ICT) for Rural EAS, Taking Good Pictures for Agricultural Extension, Basic Videography, Using Computer Tablets for Farmer Training and EAS, and Using Computer Tablets to Identify Crop Diseases and Insects. Participants were taught how to operate the computer tablets. And, they practiced taking effective photographs and short videos that could be used to enhance the provision of agricultural extension advisory services.

CDSF’s work introducing computer tablets in selected pilot areas is clearly in line with the 2017 Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources (MoANR) Extension Strategy which recommended enhancing agricultural knowledge and information system through ICT-led extension service delivery. It is expected that the CDSF pilot project promotion of computer tablets will enhance access to knowledge and information exchange and utilization among beneficiaries

Participants consistently agreed that the training was useful in many ways and expressed their strong belief that the pilot project will set a good example in using ICT-led extension service delivery to enhance access to knowledge and information exchange and utilization beneficiaries.

Bitsay Araya is one of the DAs from Tigray Region, Raya Azebo Woreda, Genete Keble. Bitsay had the following to say about the training,

“We have been entrusted with a lot of responsibilities in our agricultural extension work. We frequently communicate with a number of farmers face-to-face. We report to our woredas offices in writing regularly and that makes our work a bit too tedious and sometimes ineffective. What is more, not all farmers heed our advices as most of our advices are done orally. To be honest, most of the time we fail to prove to farmers that our recommendations are highly reliable and effective as we don’t have enough reference materials that would have helped us to keep abreast with the latest information and knowledge in the area.”

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I strongly believe the three-day training is a long-awaited solution to most of our problems. We will be able to use the computer tablets and stay current with reference materials. In this regard, the Plantwise app installed on the computer tablet is one big opportunity. We are now able to use the computer tablet for information and knowledge capturing, storing and information-sharing tool. We have learned how to take effective pictures and record video clips that will also help us to improve our advisory services.
The advantages of ICT-led agricultural extension service delivery cannot be overemphasized. We thank CDSF for the training and for providing the tablets. We will surely work hard to put into practice the knowledge and skills we gained in this training.”
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