Master’s Project Defense - Byton Simwela - Aug 4

Date: July 21, 2015
Time: 10 a.m.
Location: Natural Resources RM 130

Developing a user-­‐friendly Handbook for Agricultural Extension Development

Officers (AEDOS) in Karonga District

Master’s Project Defense


Byton Simwela

Aug. 4, 2015

Room: 130, Natural Resource Building


Agriculture plays a crucial role in the Malawi’s economy; it employs 80% of the national  workforce,  contributes 39% of GDP and over 80% of foreign exchange earnings  and  smallholder  farmers  who  cultivate  on  fragmented  pieces  of  land largely dominate the sector. The importance of agriculture to the nation calls for a vibrant agricultural extension sector with competent extension officers to help the farmers  improve  their  productivity.  The  field  extension  officers  lack  proper guidelines on how to conduct farmer trainings. The project study sought to develop a   user-­‐friendly   handbook   on   how   to   conduct   effective   farmer   training   and agricultural extension programing for the field extension staff in Karonga district. The handbook was developed in collaboration with a sample of 24 AEDOs and 4 subject matter specialists (SMSs) from other technical departments in the district under the  ministry  of  agriculture. It was also based on literature and empirical evidence  from  the  field  of  agriculture  extension  and  education.  A  Sample  of  15 AEDOs was oriented on how to use the handbook and was also given an opportunity to suggest improvements. 4 SMSs were also oriented on the same and their views sought to improve the handbook. Views from the project committee comprising 2 professors from Michigan State University were also sought and incorporated in the final handbook, which was be made available to the AEDOs for use.  

Committee Members: 

  • Professor Matt R. Raven 
  • Professor John Kerr