ACEL to Sponsor EXTENSION Africa Conference

Oct. 8, 2014

The Center for African Studies (CAS) and partnering departments will host an international conference October 20th and 21st, 2014 on Agricultural Extension and Food Security in Africa.  The conference will feature paper presentations on food security, extension, gender, environment/climate change, private sector, information technology, youth and related issues on African development. The conference will be hosted at the Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center (Day 1) and the Fisher College of Business (Day 2).

Keynote Speakers will include
* Mr. Benedict S. Kanu, Lead Agricultural Expert, OSAN, African Development Bank, Abidjan, Cote D'Ivoire. Topic: "Prosects and Challenges of achieving Food Security in Africa"
* Dr. Keith Smith, Associate Vice President Agricultural Administration and Director, Ohio State University Extension. Topic: "100 Years of Cooperative Extension Service in the United States: Lessons for African Countries"
* Dr. Silim Nahdy, Executive Director, African Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services (AFAS), Kampala Uganda. Topic:  "The Future of Agricultural Extension in Africa"  

Why the conference? Smallholder farm families account for more than 70 percent of Africa’s one billion population. Therefore, any hopes of increasing agricultural production and achieving food security must focus on this smallholders farming sector. Extension workers constitute the main source of information on modern farming methods for these farmers. Therefore, the greatest challenge, facing African leaders is making extension more effective. However, obstacles to extension effectiveness in Africa include: salaries, benefits and transportation but more significantly, the training of extension workers. Rondinelli argues that the process of agricultural and rural development programs in Africa is becoming increasingly complex yet extension workers lack the sophistication to cope effectively with this increasing complexity. What training do extension workers need? Is a common extension model for Africa possible? How can the effectiveness of extension be measured? The College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, especially the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education and Leadership, which seeks to provide technical assistance to African countries on extension must address these critical issues.  This conference, organized by the Center for African Studies and the Office of International Programs in Agriculture, provides a forum for examining the future of extension in Africa’s agricultural transformation agenda. It is hoped that the conference will lead to policy changes, curriculum reform and field experimentation on extension effectiveness.

The conference will also feature paper presentations on research topics on food security, extension, and related issues.

Conference Sponsors include the Office of Diversity and Inclusion,the International Studies Program, the Mershon Center for International Security Studies, the Middle East Studies Center, OSU Extension, and Department of  Agricultural Communication, Education and Leadership. For more information on the conference please contact Laura Joseph, Assistant Director of the Center for African Studies or Robert Agunga, Director at: (614) 292-8169 or by email at