The famous Gezira Scheme was initiated in 1925 over two million hectares, mostly focusing on irrigated agriculture where extension played an active role. After independence in 1956, USAID assisted the government in establishing agricultural extension services. The country has tried a number of extension approaches including commodity approach, Training & Visit system, community development, and Farmer Field School (FFS). The extension services in the Sudan are entirely public. Main providers of extension services are the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Animal Resources and Fisheries. Only in some states, where donor-funded projects were or are being implemented, certain NGOs—such as Plan Sudan—receive project funding to perform extension activities within the framework of particular projects. Their operations, however, stop as soon as the projects end. The private sector is engaged in selling farm inputs and as such casually instructs producers in applying those inputs, but it is not involved in extension work in a major way.
The government is keen to convert its agriculture sector into an agri-business entity and attaches great importance to the strengthening of extension services. Changing farmers’ organizations into producers’ associations is evidence of that interest. Agriculture sector which was relatively ignored after the advent of oil many years ago has now become one of the top priorities due to the loss of considerable oil sources and revenues resulting from the creation of South Sudan. Among a number of programs under the Agricultural Revival strategy formulated by the government a few years ago, one program focuses on “enhancing the capacity of technology transfer and extension services using the village as a center for providing services and agricultural knowledge, in addition to introducing and adopting successful technologies aiming at increasing the productivity and improving the quality of products”.
MAJOR INSTITUTIONS PROVIDING EXTENSION/ADVISORY SERVICES
www.ttea.gov.sd (656 extension staff in 2009)
At national level, the Technology Transfer and Extension Administration is responsible for agricultural extension matters. The objectives of TTEA include the development of agriculture; improvement in the production quality; enhancement of farmers’ income through rational exploitation of natural resources; comprehensive human prosperity via profitable, sustainable agriculture; and making agricultural products competitive in international markets with the aim of assuring food security and increasing agricultural revenues.
The mandate of the TTEA covers the transfer of research-endorsed technologies to the farmers for adoption; development of agricultural institutions; mobilization and participation of stakeholders including farmers, financiers, scientists, private input dealers, service providers, marketing specialists and agricultural practitioners in the process of agricultural development.
The TTEA comprises Seed Division (seed certification, monitoring of seed import and export, development of seed production and processing, and technical advice on seed matters), Agricultural Engineering Division (technology transfer, farm machinery feasibility tests, training in the use of machinery, encouraging local manufacturing of machinery and tools, adapting modern irrigation equipment to local conditions, resolving issues related to post-harvest agricultural products, upgrading of agro-based and cottage industries, and promotion of locally available intermediate technologies), Agricultural Information Division (production of radio and television programs in support of extension, coverage and documentation of formal training events, field days, festivals, etc., and organization of permanent exhibition to diffuse information of interest to producers and investors), Agricultural Extension Division (extension research studies, evaluation of extension events, support to states’ extension programs, capacity building of extension staff and other stakeholders, improving rural livelihoods, field supervision, institutional coordination, and exchange of Sudanese experiences nationally and internationally), and Human Resources Development Division (organization of training activities at various levels). Each division is headed by a director. The TTEA also maintains a Technology Transfer Center and relevant Station whose mandate is to transfer technical information to stakeholders including farmers.