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Efficiency Expected As Monitoring Of Agric Extension Services Goes Digital

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By Stephen Nuwagira

Many times, politicians and residents of Ibanda district have claimed they do not see district or sub-country extension staff provide the much-needed services.

However, the extension workers insist they are always on the ground, saying the accusations are to discredit them.

This kind of finger-pointing could soon end after the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) rolled out its electric extension system in the district to support the monitoring of extension staff and planned activities.

The agriculture ministry’s e-diary App. Photo by Stephen Nuwagira

Through the system’s electronic diary (e-diary), extension workers will be able to file daily reports on MAAIF’s e-extension system, which will be accessible to their supervisors, the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) and the directorate of extension services at the ministry.

Charles Damba, the senior agricultural extension and skills management officer at the ministry’s directorate of agricultural extension services, says the application (App) allows supervisors in the district and at the ministry to monitor activities online, removing the need to file periodic paper reports.

This will boost service delivery as the extension staff will be monitored all the time, he adds.

“A district or ministry official accesses the system from wherever you may be and monitors the performance and activities of the extension workers who are in the field, instead of going there physically to supervise them,” Damba explains.

All extension staff in the 44 districts where the system has so far been rolled out must upload their annual work plans onto the system and perform them accordingly.

“So long as you have a smartphone or a laptop, you can access this system,” Damba says.

He adds that stakeholders, such as farmers, can also log onto the e-extension system and write any questions or challenges they are facing, easing communication between the extension workers, the ministry and the public.

Peter Abaho, the Ibanda district principal agriculture officer, said the work plans and activities of all extension staff in the district will be online going forward.

The district leadership will be able to know where farmer training, animal vaccination or distribution of coffee seedlings is, at any given time, in real-time.

He said the system will help tighten supervision and stop absenteeism, adding that the public has always complained about the lack of extension staff in their localities.

Barbara Kanyesigye, the Igorora town council agriculture officer, said it was a timely intervention, explaining that extension workers have hitherto been using record books, which could easily be destroyed by rain.

Rwenkobwa town council agriculture officer Tito Mugabe, said the app will improve reporting and accountability.

“Farmers have also been accusing us of not visiting them, but now this will be put to an end since there will be evidence in form of photos, videos and voices from all the activities conducted,” he said.

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