Launching Ceremony of “The 3rd ToT (Training of Trainers) for Capacity Building of Agricultural Extension Service in the Democratic Republic of Congo”
On January 1st 2020, WFP announces that among the sub-Saharan countries especially DRC, Zimbabwe, South Sudan will suffer severe hunger crisis this year. Hunger and conflict fuel one another, with armed conflict and widespread displacement prevailing for the past 25 years and multiple other crises, including recent climate shocks (more frequent and intense floods, droughts, and storms).
Why has there been a negative trend in agricultural production although DRC’s 80 million hectare of arable land has high potential to produce surpluses of crops and livestock? This question derives from three chronic problems within agricultural extension service in DRC, which impedes agricultural technology adoption:
(i) The complete dualization between agricultural research and agricultural extension service
(ii) SNV is the only governmental organization under the Ministry of Agriculture, which is in charge of agricultural extension but facing budget crisis for a long time.
(iii) The lack of professional human resources which leads to a stagnant trend to accept new technology.
As a result, in order to foster higher agricultural productivity and accelerate agricultural growth in DRC, KOICA support focuses on the following policies and strategies:
(i) Endorsement of the Ministerial Decree to accelerate agricultural extension implementation in the national level
(ii) Establishment of new national level institution for agricultural R&D, executive training, and strengthening the capacity of leaders of farmers’ cooperatives, women and youth in rural communities.
In response to these efforts, the launching ceremony of “The 3rd ToT (Training of Trainers) for Capacity Building of Agricultural Extension Service in the DRC” was held on 27th January 2020, in Caritas Congo. The new 20 trainer candidates of NAEC will be in charge of one lecture for each group in this training programme. Interestingly, most of them are the beneficiaries of 1st and 2nd ToT, ROK-DRC-Uganda Training, and 2019 Training in Korea. For substantial explanation, total 21 of NAEC teacher candidates received two weeks training programme in Uganda National Farmer's Leadership Center (NFLC) focusing on cross-border technology spillover in October 2018, tapping into indigenous knowledge. Then successive training of four weeks at Canaan Global leadership Center (Canaan Farmers’ School) was conducted in Korea in November that year. Through this process, five of them were finally selected as NAEC trainers for five modules : Extension, Marketing, Horticulture, Livestock, and Food Crops. Thus, developing the skills and competencies of the beneficiaries to take greater control of this project can be another important aspect of this 3rd ToT.
Under the umbrella of KOICA and the Ministry of Agriculture (MINAGRI), National Agricultural Extension Center (NAEC) is planned to open in the end of this coming March, specifically designed to serve as a new backbone to host, share and facilitate the extension. NAEC is the first collaborative project between KOICA, UNOPS, and the Ministry of Agriculture (MINAGRI) in DRC, contributing to ensure sustainable long-term food security as well as to increase agricultural productivity through empowering farmers. The endorsement of ministerial decree will grant formal legal right to this new governmental institution and the followings are the main responsibilities and duties :
◆ developing future government-led training center of extension service for officials and farmers
◆ broad community adoption of agricultural technology
In contrast to earlier ToTs, all the 40 participants of the 3rd ToT are the selected officials from SNV and the selection process was also conducted by SNV in order to induce SNV to be more autonomous in the management. Caritas Congo is temporarily offering the training on behalf of NAEC before its official opening. The curriculum of this course is composed of 90 hours for three weeks in total and it aims to encourage farmers who are reluctant to adopt or adapt technologies that fit their own interests and needs.
The Ministerial Decree shall be finalized to ensure smooth operation of the implementation of NAEC during 2019-2022. Policy inconsistencies and the absence of a functional long-term agriculture, and related policies and strategies remain major challenges. The DRC’s willingness and capacity are the two of most important conditions of this complex framework. It also prescribes continuous and analytical monitoring system to be implemented, in addition to specific targets to be achieved.