Ghana’s Ministry of Food and Agriculture currently operates an agricultural extension agency program to help teach smallholder farmers the most current farming techniques, but there are not enough agents to provide a constant presence in local communities. As part of the Disseminating Innovative Resources and Technologies to Smallholder Farmers (DIRTS) project, researchers collaborated with the ministry to test a new community agricultural extension agent program, which selected and trained local agents to supplement the existing MOFA agents and provide more frequent teaching and support.
After three years:
- Community extension agents successfully increased local farmers’ knowledge and improved their practices.
- Delivering specific information about a practice close to the time when the practice should be adopted may be an important component of a successful program.
- However, farmers’ improved knowledge and implementation of best practices did not ultimately translate into increased yields or more earnings for the farmers.
- Farmers who received the program invested more in the use of chemicals, but not other inputs.
*These results are preliminary and may change after further data collection and/or analysis.