GFRAS Update June 2020

In this issue, we report activities from the GFRAS apex, regional networks, country fora, and strategic partners:

  • Brand-new GFRAS website, with a community area for members to exchange information;
  • COVID-19 response by GFRAS and its networks (AESA, APIRAS, and EUFRAS), as well as the winning stories from the GFRAS-YPARD call;
  • RELASER Ecuador Forum presented results on rural farming services assessment tool;
  • Information on the 2020 edition of the GFRAS Annual Meeting, to take place online;
  • i2connect Train-the-Trainer program announced as part of the CECRA Train-the-Trainer program starting in 2020/21;
  • Coming soon: the North American Agricultural Advisory Network, and a NELK module on e-Extension

gfras website

GFRAS launches a brand-new website!

With the support from Feed the Future and the DLEC project, GFRAS has developed and launched its new website! With a more modern design, new features, and an improved registration process, the new page also offers a community area where registered members can exchange information, share videos and documents, promote events, propose discussion groups, and more!

Visit the website and create an account, if you are not yet a member. It is free for all and allows users to access a database of extension providers, experts in various regions, and documents about the status of extension services in a variety of countries. Access it here!

COVID-19 Special Section

GFRAS Apex Response

GFRAS has recently conducted a survey on what kind of COVID-19 information our constituency would like to receive. The absolute top interest lied on understanding the impact of COVID-19 on food value chains, and possible mitigation strategies. Based on that, GFRAS created a special section on its website to share and promote information related to this. It has also launched a campaign, in collaboration with YPARD (Young Professionals for Agricultural Development) and in conjunction with the IFAD-financed Last-Mile Programme, looking for novel stories on local solutions that enable the agricultural sector to operate under the current partial or full lock-down of society.

Seventeen stories were awarded prizes ranging from USD 100 to USD 500. They illustrate how the local agricultural sector in general and the rural advisory service, in particular, are coping with the pandemic, and, most importantly, how are smallholder producers adapting to the situation. The winning stories are available here.

AESA Response

AESA created a dedicated section on COVID-19 and RAS on its website for showcasing the roles played by RAS in supporting farmers to adapt to COVID-19 and has published 18 blogs and 11 field notes specifically on this topic. The network has also participated in a Webinar on “The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on agricultural value chains – What we can do to mitigate the impact! – the impact on service delivery to different actors along the value chain” organized by the Value Chain Capacity Building Network (VCB-N) in collaboration with GFRAS, IFAD, Helvetas and Hivos on 15 May 2020. AESA Focal Point shared the experiences on the use of ICTs to advise and assist farmers facing a challenge in marketing their produce due to COVID-19 lockdown.

APIRAS Response

APIRAS also dedicated a special section on its website to share the response on COVID-19 in Asia-Pacific, promote good practices, opinions and news. Up-to-date, five blogs (one from each sub-region) have been published on the impact of the pandemic, and how RAS are supporting farmers. AESA and MELA, two sub-regional networks of APIRAS, also shared their experiences with the ongoing challenges in South Asia and the Mekong region in the Webinar organized by the FAO and GFRAS on 19 May on the topic “Extension and Advisory Services: At the frontline of COVID-19 response in ensuring food security in Asia”.

EUFRAS Response

Following EUFRAS interactive webinar on experience exchange regarding the solutions and measures taken within the COVID-19 pandemic, a position paper addressing the issues raised during the discussion was prepared and distributed within the advisory organizations of EUFRAS member countries. It is available here.

 Green Photo Beauty Skincare Facebook Cover

RELASER Ecuador Forum presented results on rural farming services assessment tool

The RELASER National Forums aim to highlight the issue of extension in the national debate. They work by identifying, classifying and articulating actors relevant to the joint creation of a work plan for the impact on the country’s policies. In Ecuador, the RELASER National Forum is made up of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG) through the Directorate of Management and Transfer of Agricultural Innovative Knowledge, along with FAO, and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA).

Last March, the Forum presented the evaluation of the ATER System with RAS Tool methodology, which seeks to characterize the ATER services of the multiple service providers. With this background, it is intended by 2020 to strengthen ATER actions, in coordination with other related actors to this topic in the country.

GFRAS 2020 Annual Meeting to take place online

In line with its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the GFRAS Board decided to cancel the face-to-face edition of its Annual Meeting, scheduled to take place in October this year.

However, with such a timely topic, GFRAS and the regional networks co-organizing the meeting – namely EUFRAS and IALB – have decided to carry on with an online event, still scheduled to take place between October 4-7 2020. The topic is defined as “Preparing Advisers for the Digital Era” and keynotes are planned to address future client needs and how to reach them, as well as a foresight to the business model of advisory services in 2030 if we go digital.

Registration will open in July.


i2connect Train-the-Trainer Program announced

EUFRAS is taking part in the i2connect project working to fuel the competencies of advisors and their organizations to engage and support farmers and foresters in interactive innovation processes. The i2connect project will produce a wide range of resources for farm and forestry advisors and other AKIS stakeholders. The general CECRA (Certificate for European Consultants in Rural Areas) Train the Trainer 2020/21 course is offered for future adviser method trainers and will start in September 2020.

The three-day i2connect innovation method Train the Trainer program is integrated into this opportunity to develop qualified methodological trainers. The five-day CECRA FastTrack Train-the-Trainer in Ireland, 17-21 May 2021 addresses experienced trainers. More information is available here.

With kind regards,
GFRAS Secretariat
June 2020