A HSAD extension consultant has just finished a review of the extension work ongoing in Iraq. Currently, the main delivery method is through designated centers and farms, which is believed to provide the best way forward in terms of increasing extension capacity. A focal point for the delivery of such services allows infrastructure to be built around this hub, and gives much more potential for further development. One concern of the current state of extension activities is the lack of available extension workers – there are currently 2500 farmers for each of the 1000 extension specialists.
One of the main aims of the HSAD initiative is to improve the way in which new techniques and technologies are delivered to farmers. Effective and widespread adoption is crucial if Iraq is to achieve national food security and meet the food and nutritional demands of its growing population. In response to these demands, the HSAD Program recently initiated a series of training sessions to equip extension agents with the knowledge and skills to produce informative instructional videos targeting Iraqi farmers.
Extension services – the way that new techniques and technologies are promoted and distributed to farmers – are often held back in Iraq’s Kurdistan Region (IKR) by budget cuts, limited funds, and poor facilities. In remote areas, a lack of transportation complicates the task of reaching some of the region’s most vulnerable and resource-poor producers.
Improving the delivery of new techniques and technologies to smallholder farmers is a key aim of the HSAD program. A recent activity focusing on this component of the program was a five-day training course held at the Erbil Extension and Training Center.
HSAD recently held its first extension workshop in Erbil. Around 80 participants, including representatives from a variety of extension centers, attended the three day event to exchange their experiences.