Wednesday, October 5, 2011


NAADS may make more sense if the players can use the Self Help Group (SHG) initiative. Self Help Groups are explained below for the benefit of the players in policy who may have a role to play in modifying the system as it is of now.

William Kituuka Kiwanuka


Self Help Groups (SHGs) are established on people's institutions which are based on three pillars:
1) Economic,
2) Social and
3) Political empowerment.

To implement the Self-Help-Group approach successfully, local NGOs are needed, who consider it as a promising tool to empower people and who allocate competent staff towards it.
It is important to highlight the voluntary service of the many women in the communities who facilitate the Self-Help-Groups on the ground: The Community Facilitators. It is only because of them that the Self Help Group approach can expand the way it is spreading – turning the lives of people for the better.
In the process of implementing the approach, it is important to link the approach with a Rights Based Approach focusing on Human Rights and a special emphasis on Child Rights. The concept has a clear focus on empowerment. It looks at poverty as denial of rights and alleviation of poverty as reclaiming ones rights. In implementing this concept, the emphasis is on:
i. Identifying the very poor, mobilizing them and helping them realize their rights. To build their capacity such that they can claim their rightful place in society;
ii. Bringing an attitudinal change in members such that they can unleash (exploit) their God -given potential. This is achieved by helping the member realize that s/he is of worth, has the potential and can take steps forward for ones own development;
iii. Building a strong People's Institution by bringing together large numbers of people together in small homogenous groups that are meeting and sharing on a regular weekly basis. The small groups are bound together by a second level association and an apex body at the top. This homogenous body is able to bring structural changes in the environment;
iv. Handing overall ownership and responsibility to the People's Institution after building their capacity to carry on their own. The people's institution operates independently, such that the whole programme is sustainable.
v. Working with people in such a way is a tremendous and very motivating experience. It is therefore not surprising that many NGOs develop an interest for this approach.

Poverty and “Rights Based Approach”
While poverty has been a phenomenon in society since the beginning of civilization, in many countries the disparity between rich and poor has increased considerably. Some see globalization as the root cause of this disparity; others claim that it has improved national economies. However poverty is a multidimensional social problem that depends on but goes well beyond not having enough income and the means to meet basic needs.
A close, causal relationship exists between poverty and human rights. Extreme poverty is a human rights violation. Poor people are denied access to resources such as education, work, land, etc. In the report on human development from the year 2000, titled “Human Rights and Human Development” poverty is described as “...a prime hindrance of an adequate living standard and the realization of human rights”.
In their Vienna Declaration 1993, article 14) the United Nations have recognized that “The existence of widespread extreme poverty inhibits the full and effective enjoyment of human rights” and stipulated that “its immediate alleviation and eventual elimination must remain a high priority for the international community.” In the same declaration the United Nations World Conference on Human Rights reaffirms “The right to development, as established in the Declaration on the Right to Development, as a universal and inalienable right and an integral part of fundamental human rights” The Declaration is based on the understanding that Poverty is often both the cause and the consequence of human rights violations.
Needy people are no longer supplicants, but rather holders of rights which are claim able. From this perspective people should be strengthened to work for social justice and living standards with human dignity as their rights.
Thus looking on poverty from the perspective of Human Rights or more specifically from the perspective of the Child Rights Approach, situations of poverty are no longer seen simply from the viewpoint of human needs and developmental deficits, since children and young people are independent beings and have rights which they can claim.
The SHG approach complies with the Child Rights Approach, as it helps to create conditions which enable poor people to understand their rights and to cooperate actively in shaping their own futures. The SHG approach is an essential step in moving from the elimination of a present need toward help which is sustainable. It helps to strengthen local organizations, communities, and groups also in increasing their awareness of legal rights.

The Context
The exclusion of women and girls from access to and control of resources and opportunities for development arising from gendered roles, stereotypes, rituals, beliefs and other structural arrangements reinforces poverty. Gender-related division of labour makes women particularly responsible for the subsistence of their families and in times of economic crisis, women bear the burden of providing for their families basic needs. One in three women cares for the nourishment and education of her children without a man's help. This huge responsibility is not balanced by the access and the right of women to decision making neither on the level of the families nor on community or political level.
The analysis of women's discrimination requires answers to some basic questions:
1) Who does what and who benefits at whose costs?
2) Who has the access to resources and opportunities?
3) Who controls the resources and opportunities?
4) Who and what supports / perpetuates the patterns of women's discrimination?
5) How do men and women, boys and girls and societies as a whole acquire such biased patterns of gender stereotypes?
What can be done to solve this problematic situation, by whom and how? Who will bear the cost, who will be the major stakeholders?

The Self Help Group Concept
As more and more SHGs are formed, there are more CLAs established. When there are 8 to 10 CLAs, they come together to form a Federation. The Federation would normally register itself as a Community Based Organization and thus have a legal identity for the entire People's Institution. The Federation, through its empowered members seeks to bring social transformation in the community. By virtue of its strength in numbers, the Federation lobbies with the government and other civil society players to bring policy changes that are just and fair thereby bringing sustainable change. The Federation wields power in terms of a people's institution representing a large number of people.


The SHG process not only brings social and economic development to the members but also is a process that leads to Social, Economic and Political empowerment. The term “Political” is not used in terms of party politics but more of people's power. This is an important factor to usher in an equitable society.
The UN Millennium Declaration puts development at its core. It defines development as a right and reconfirms political, economic, social, and cultural rights. Furthermore it emphasizes fundamental principles like freedom and equality. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights serves as its foundation.
The rights-based approach to development is the manifestation of the view that development and rights are interrelated. An equivalent relationship between poverty and rights is already explained in section 1.1. Development as such is a right stipulated in the Human Rights Declaration and development is understood as the realization of rights. Empowerment is the core strategy of the rights-based approach to development as it is enabling people to claim and realize their rights. According to the World Bank, “Empowerment is the process of enhancing the capacity of individuals or groups to make choices and to transform those choices into desired actions and outcomes. Central to this process are actions which both build individual and collective assets, and improve the efficiency and fairness of the organizational and institutional context which govern the use of these assets.” Hence, it also aims at structural changes which bridge the gap in the power structure of society, thereby giving voice and power to people who had no say in the way society was managed.

A few examples for empowerment are:
i. Women can raise their voice against harmful traditional practices and bring about change although traditional leaders try to impose these practices.
ii. Farmers have the informed choice to grow what they want to grow and have a say in deciding on the price of their produce. Traders can no more exploit them.
iii. Community members have the opportunity to come together to ensure that the local government school delivers quality education and teachers are no more taking their duty lightly.
iv. Girl children are going to school and no more staying at home to look after younger siblings because of changes in gender perspectives
v. Gender stereotypes are challenged and transformed such that women are no more subordinate participants of family and society

The Self Help Group approach is a process leading to the empowerment of people.
Empowerment is a slow process. Outsiders cannot empower the weaker sections of society. The weaker ones can come together and go through the process of empowerment. However, institutions, NGOs and Government agencies can support processes that increase self-confidence, develop their self-reliance, and help them set their own agenda – unleashing their potential.

Self Help Groups
Selection Criteria for the Promoting Organisation and Community
1) Identifying carefully the organisation to implement the approach is important
2) The right community needs to be selected for implementation
3) People who are involved with direct implementation are very important.
4) They have to be identified carefully

Promoting Organisations that can implement well
An organisation who wants to implement the Self Help Group approach needs some
organisational traits that make it compatible for the promotion of the approach:
i. Believe in Self Help
ii. Believe in Participation and Empowerment of women
iii. Willing for a Political empowerment process
iv. Comfortable with use of volunteers
v. Are prepared for handing over responsibilities / Phasing out
vi. Believe in involving people in decision making processes (not top-down). Strive for Cost effective approaches and solutions
vii. Familiar with fund raising / looking for different sources
viii. Positive Leadership attitude

The Promoting Organisations who want to implement the SHG approach need to have or develop a certain attitude in order to achieve empowerment:



The National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) program of Uganda is an innovative public-private extension service delivery approach, with the goal of increasing market oriented agricultural production by empowering farmers to demand and control agricultural advisory services. Although initial evaluations of NAADS have been quite favourable, these evaluations have been primary qualitative in nature. This study quantifies the initial impacts of NAADS in the districts and sub-counties where the program was operating by 2005. It is based on descriptive analyses of results of a survey of 116 farmer groups and 894 farmers in sixteen districts where the program was operating at the time and four districts where NAADS had not yet begun operating to control for factors that may have contributed to differing initial conditions among the communities.

Based on observed differences across the NAADS and non-NAADS sub-counties, it appears that the NAADS program is having substantial positive impacts on the availability and quality of advisory services provided to farmers, promoting adoption of new crop and livestock enterprises as well improving adoption and use of modern agricultural production technologies and practices. NAADS also appears to have promoted greater use of post-harvest technologies and commercial marketing of commodities, consistent with its mission to promote more commercially-oriented agriculture.

Despite positive effects of NAADS on adoption of improved production technologies and practices, no significant differences were found in yield growth between NAADS and non-NAADS sub-counties for most crops, reflecting the still low levels of adoption of these technologies even in NAADS sub-counties, as well as other factors affecting productivity. However, NAADS appears to have helped farmers to avoid the large declines in farm income that affected most farmers between 2000 and 2004, due more to encouraging farmers to diversify into profitable new farming enterprises such as groundnuts, maize and rice than to increases in productivity caused by NAADS.

NAADS appears to be having more success in promoting adoption of improved varieties of crops and some other yield enhancing technologies than in promoting improved soil fertility management. This raises concern about the sustainability of productivity increases that may occur, since such increases may lead to more rapid soil nutrient mining unless comparable success in promoting improved soil fertility management is achieved. Continued emphasis on improving the market environment, promoting adoption of more remunerative crop enterprises, and applied agronomic research identifying more effective ways to profitably combine inorganic and organic soil fertility measures in different crop systems can help to address this problem.

Shortage of capital and credit facilities was often cited by farmers as a critical constraint facing them, in addition to scarcity of agricultural inputs, lack of adequate farmland, unfavorable weather patterns and problems of pests and diseases. These emphasize that the quality of advisory services is not the only important factor influencing technology adoption and productivity, and the need for complementary progress in other areas, especially development of the rural financial system.
Implications are drawn for enterprise targeting and ensuring sustainability of improvements in productivity, as well as for designing and implementing service provision programs in other parts of the Uganda and in other countries.
Benin, Samuel
Nkonya, Ephraim
Okecho, Geresom
Pender, John
Nahdy, Silim
Mugarura, Samuel
Kayobyo, Godfrey

Uganda: NAADS Policy Should Change

Milcha Busingye

10 November 2010

PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni has, since its inception, suspended the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) twice. He first suspended it in 2007 but it resumed operations in 2008 after a Cabinet review.
This year in July, the President again suspended sh120b meant for NAADS after discovering misuse of funds.
The Government should replace NAADS with another pro-people body. This would require restructuring in the Ministry of Agriculture regarding its role in NAADS and policy changes in terms of implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
Uganda has no reliable industrial base and for decades to come may have its economy remain largely dependent on agriculture for self-sufficiency and foreign exchange earnings. Food crops account for at least 68% of the agricultural GDP. The GDP rates also vary across social-economic and regional lines ranging from 59% in the north to 28% in the central region.
The mandate of the new body should be an evolution for engendering agriculture, poverty eradication, accessing improved technologies, information, boosting agricultural productivity and profitability with emphasis on the poor, youth, women and other vulnerable groups.
The Government should fulfil its 10% budget allocation to agriculture in accordance with the Maputo Protocol of 2003 where African leaders signed a declaration to conform to World Bank recommendations of 6% annual growth in agriculture.
Uganda has failed to allocate more than 5% of the budget to the sector. Malawi and Rwanda have attained a 16% food production improvement. Mozambique and Mali already produce bio-fuel crops such as cassava for production of fuel to replace fossil fields in operating automobiles and industrial machinery.
The Government should usher in a scientific agricultural revolution of multiple community technology development in the fields of bio-fuel and bio-tech crops.

The writer is the deputy president of the Peoples Development Party


In the face of much reduced public expenditure, extension services in sub-Saharan Africa have a daunting challenge: farmers' need for information is as high as ever, but the resources to provide it are meagre at best. In September 2006, the Sub-Saharan Africa Network on Agricultural Advisory Services (SSANAAS) held a symposium in Kampala to share and learn from new experiences in extension delivery. In collaboration with the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) Secretariat of Uganda and other partners, participants from 19 African countries gathered to identify priority development needs and discuss ways of improving technology and information transfer, with particular emphasis on market orientation and farmer empowerment. The following Points of view reflect a range of ideas and opinions on the topics discussed.

New roles and new potential
What are the challenges?
Is decentralising extension services a good idea?
Can extension services be demand led?
Information and technology
Market chains
The policy perspective

New roles and new potential

Agricultural extension is no longer just about improving yields and producing food - the bottom line is to make money. That is a necessary concept if large numbers of subsistence farmers have to break out of poverty. To be a successful farmer you have to be skilled, and you need an opportunity to actually make money in the countryside. People have not been aware of that.
Olle Otteby, Agricultural Support Programme (ASP) Team Leader, Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives, Zambia

We are working with agro-processors and large marketing agencies, to create a value chain from production to marketing, linking farmers to marketing and processing entities. It is beginning to take shape.
Silim Nahdy, Executive Director, NAADS Secretariat, Uganda

Farming is beyond subsistence, it is more like a business. In the past they were used to getting things for free, donations. They cultivated small plots of land and they were happy with getting enough to feed the family throughout the year. But now they have other needs - they have to send their kids to school, they have medical bills to take care of. Mentalities have changed and farmers are now willing to invest.
Verona Parkinson, AGEMA Consultancy Services, Mozambique

Today we are talking about participation at the farmer's level. We need to empower our farmers so that they can be active partners in the whole process of development - otherwise they will continue to be passive.
Mercy Akeredolu, Coordinator, Sasakawa African Fund for Extension Education Approach (SAFE)/Institute of Rural Polytechnic (IPR), Mali

We are trying to manage and facilitate the process of developing individual households. We work with households because if you involve children, the wife - it becomes a much stronger business unit. If the head of the household is away the business can still work. And you have this multiplying effect where it is spreading from children and their children.
Olle Otteby, ASP Team Leader, Zambia
back to top
What are the challenges?

The budget requirement is the main challenge. In Uganda NAADS has probably only 50% of what we require and we therefore cover only about 60% of the country. Secondly you need innovations, you have to keep on evolving. You have to start with a flexible menu, and you have to keep evolving and changing it.
Silim Nahdy, Executive Director, NAADS Secretariat, Uganda

The biggest challenge is the transformation of our agricultural extension services from the old stereotype of connecting researchers and farmers - to being innovative, discussing and working with farmers, researchers and the business community. As a policy maker, educating people and sensitising them to understand the farming sector is important to avoid inaccurate, inappropriate policies.
David Kazungu, Chair of the NAADS Board of Directors, Uganda

People have to think outside the box. Extension work has to be done by everybody - everybody who works with farmers. A farming system is one that needs a myriad of technologies. Maybe what we need is to have an individual who is very good at providing linkages. One cannot solve everything and I think that is a big challenge, changing the mindset.
Barney Laseko, Participatory Agricultural Development and Empowerment Project (PADEP), Tanzania
back to top
Is decentralising extension services a good idea?

The decentralised extension system is better because it works with the farmers at the local level. The centralised system in most cases does not take into consideration the problems of the farmers because it looks at national issues that are affecting the country as a whole. The decentralised approach will specifically look at the issues affecting the local farmers at that local level.
Sophia Kasheeta, Ministry of Agriculture Water and Forestry, Namibia

Decentralisation means that districts manage their own funds - this way things are done faster. In the past everybody had to wait for the national office to disperse funds. Sometimes funds came late, and with rain fed agriculture time is sensitive. If the money comes in late farmers can lose a whole cropping season.
Verona Parkinson, AGEMA Consultancy Services, Mozambique

The advantage of decentralisation is that you reach many more farmers. In Kaduna City in Nigeria we have over five hundred and fifty one thousand farming families. The number of people involved means that we have to compartmentalise the approach.
Abdul-Kadir Kassim, Kaduna State Agricultural Development Programme, Nigeria

From my experience of working with National Agricultural Advisory Services I think there is a tremendous shift and achievement in as far as overall output is concerned. When you look at the privatised or the decentralised extension system it promotes farmer empowerment. Farmers' capacity has been built to be able to make decisions on how to improve their own livelihoods and they are taking charge.
Grace Kazigati, District NAADS Coordinator, Kabarole, Uganda

Can extension services be demand led?

Farmers or the rural people know exactly what they are missing, and if we have the extension system well set out then these questions are going to be answered for farmers.
Barney Laseko, PADEP, Tanzania

Farmers have to be able to articulate their needs and they have to be able to specify exactly what they require. It is working, but there are problems because the context of advisory services is now broader. You find farmers asking for market advisory services, financial advisory services - different from the usual agronomy and animal husbandry issues. So the context is a lot broader and yet you find the marketplace for services is still very narrow.
Silim Nahdy, Executive Director, NAADS Secretariat, Uganda

If you fail to achieve what you have gone to do in the community, you have to go back to the drawing board. You have to discuss with the people, let them give you their reasons for failing to take on what you have advised, then you can modify your approach.
Abdul-Kadir Kassim, Kaduna State Agricultural Development Programme, Nigeria
back to top
Information and technology

The most interesting thing for me has been negating the rhetoric that farmers need credit more than anything else - that is very wrong. Farmers are mostly after technology and information, not credit. They have the resources to work with, and they demand things they can get hold of.
Barney Laseko, PADEP, Tanzania

Technology is not the problem. There is much research that has been done by research institutes - in Nigeria we have over 18 agriculturally related research institutes developing technology. The issue is the linkage between research institute and conveying the research findings to the farmers - the extension or the advisory services.
Abdul-Kadir Kassim, Kaduna State Agricultural Development Programme, Nigeria

We are talking of technology development. I think the most appropriate approach today is to develop technology with the farmers. We are asking researcher up there to come down to the farmer level, see them as active partners and empower them, helping to strengthen the capacity of these farmers.
Mercy Akeredolu, Coordinator, SAFE/IPR, Mali

It is a matter of what messages are passed to farmers. It is about everyday communication with farmers, especially with regard to marketing - we want to be timely so that we can capture the moment and benefit. Messages must be timely, effective and cost effective.

Tabitha Kimani, National Agricultural Extension Programme, Ministry of Agriculture, Kenya

Market chains

If you stimulate production and there are no marketing outlets then you are creating confusion. I think the extension services should focus more on market identification and market restructuring. You have to bring farmers into groups, introduce the question of standards for production - where the research and extension network has to work effectively.
Abdul-Kadir Kassim, Kaduna State Agricultural Development Programme, Nigeria

One of the biggest mistakes I see personally is that many people talk about markets and they are talking about export markets. The times are gone when we export the cotton, cocoa. Today the African countries must provide the market for what they produce agriculturally.
David Kazungu, Chair of the NAADS Board of Directors, Uganda

We are going to look at ways and means of making our extension services more market orientated. I am confident that if the marketing system in Kenya is well organised, production is not a big issue. Our farmers can produce as long as there is a guaranteed market.
Joseph Mungere, Ministry of Agriculture, Kenya
back to top
The policy perspective

Recently we have implemented the national agricultural sector policy, which is guiding all the key players wishing to be involved in extension service delivery. We had a similar policy earlier, but it did not embrace all the various sectors in the agricultural industry. The current model embraces the agriculture and related sectors, in co-operative development.
Joseph Mungere, Ministry of Agriculture, Kenya

The policies are there and that is why we function well. But at times we have a problem with rapid succession in policy.
Silim Nahdy, Executive Director, NAADS Secretariat, Uganda

At universities in Mali we use a market oriented approach to train those involved in the extension services at management level, because these are the people involved in policymaking. We have not had a stable policy, but policy is becoming more favourable for agricultural extension. The government is beginning to realise that farmers have to be involved in the development process.
Mercy Akeredolu, Coordinator, SAFE/IPR, Mali

As a policy maker, educating people and sensitising them to understand the farming sector is important to avoid inaccurate, inappropriate policies.
David Kazungu, Chair of the NAADS Board of Directors, Uganda

No comments:

Post a Comment