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Green Extension: Promoting Sustainable Agriculture
Promoting Sustainable Agriculture
National Project Director
Lao Upland Rural Advisory Service
DTEAP, 06th July 2018
1. Why we are implementing Green Extension
2. What is Green Extension
3. Capitalization Process
4. Briefing Note
5. The Policy Challenge
6. Questions for Discussion
1. Rationale for Green Extension
Four reasons why we are implementing Green
• Government Policy for Agriculture Sector
• Negative impacts of some farming practices
• Evidence from success cases
• International trends in extension
2. What is Green Extension?
Green extension is a type of rural advisory service which supports the
scaling up of sustainable agriculture by facilitating socio-ecological
learning processes with farmers
Green Extension is a service can be provided by a range of differing
organisations: government departments, NGOs, private enterprises, and
by farmer groups. Everybody can contribute!
Green Extension is not a single approach or blueprint for achieving
sustainability; it includes a range of methods to promote various types of
Green Extension supports farmers in analysing local problems and
opportunities, and testing alternative practices under local conditions.
3. Capitalization process
Sustainable agriculture has been promoted in Laos for 30+ years eg:
organic farming, agro-forestry, IPM, SRI, SCV.
The government can capitalise on this experience by examining the
lessons that have been learned from the past and thereby identify
measures to scale up the implementation of successful approaches.
Meetings was held over the past 6 months involving farmers, field
workers, project managers and policy makers:
January: Discussions among key stakeholders to develop an analytical
February: Practitioners workshop to share lessons among on-going projects
March: Presentation of lessons at the Lao Upland Conference
The capitalization process leads to preparation of a Briefing Note
Framework for analysis
GE Principle What this involves
rural families take stock of available resources;
inventories and maps prepared
Community Planning analysis of opportunities and constraints;
agreement reached on priorities for innovation
Action research innovations are piloted; options are compared;
communities collect data and analyse results
Farmer-to-farmer learning experience is shared among households and
communities; knowledge and skills transferred
informal networks and/or formal groups are
created to sustain and scale up innovations
Workshop in XK Province
27th February to 1st March 2018
The workshop brought together 65 practitioners, representing 9 projects,
7 Districts, 6 farmer groups
Green Extension Cases
GE Principle Case from Xieng Khouang
FALUPAM approach to land use planning
Community Planning ‘Mahasaly’ decision-making game
(EFICAS project – CIRAD)
Action research Farmer Field Schools in rice
F2F activities in tea and coffee
(LURAS project - Helvetas)
Organisational development Organic Farmer Networking
(COFI project - SAEDA)
Conclusions from workshop
Capacity to implement Green Extension already exists. Govt Staff and
farmers have been trained. Techniques have been piloted. Results have
been documents. Manuals, posters and videos have been produced.
Equipment has been handed over.
The project approach has helped create this capacity, but is also a
hindrance to mainstreaming. Activities are fragmented. Often small scale,
with no critical mass. Funding starts and stops. Weak local ownership.
Staff regularly reassigned.
Provinces need to take the lead. PAFO should be more proactive in
planning and coordinating Green Extension. If resources are needed, they
should lobby for staff, funds and facilities, but to do this they need a clear
strategy and a mechanism for M&E.
In summary: We know how to do it, but we could do it better if we
Luang Prabang Conference
Discussion on the ‘problem’ of extension projects
Fragmented and uneven implementation, with gaps and duplication;
Lots of pilot activities which fail to reach critical mass;
Experts are constantly reinventing terminology and methodology;
Exaggeration of achievements and limited self-criticism;
Focus on technical delivery rather than learning to address systemic problems;
Weak coordination in planning and limited collaboration in implementation.
Three major alternatives to projects
Government managed program (PBA)
Farmer learning networks (F2F)
Private sector technology transfer and marketing
The ‘big ideas’ exercise
83 ideas for scaling up extension were submitted by participants
4. The GE Briefing Note
Draft has 7 sections
1. Sector Context: recent trends in agriculture in Laos
2. Policy Goals: NESDP, MAF Strategy
3. GE Concept: definitions, links to agroecology, New Extensionist
4. Past Experience: summary of Sust Ag projects in Laos since 1980’s
5. Capitalization: GE framework (5 principles), outcome of XK w/s
6. The challenge of projects: issues discussed at the LPB conference
7. The broader challenge of supporting sustainable agriculture
5. The Policy Challenge
The success or failure of Green Extension depends on the enabling
environment for sustainable agriculture.
Changes in knowledge and skills will not lead to changes in practice unless
other factors are in place. Most importantly: financial returns
Some factors affecting profitability of sustainable agriculture:
Value chain governance
Opportunities for enterprise development
Household cash flows
6. Questions for Discussion
1. Is the concept of Green Extension clear? What should DTEAP do to
promote the wider implementation of this concept?
2. Why have previous extension projects failed? Sustainable agriculture
practices have been promoted for more than 20 years in Laos, but still
not scaled up: what are the main constraints?
3. What can be done to improve the financial returns from organic
agriculture for small farmers? What can farmers do? What can
Government do? What can development projects do?