The Feed the Future Developing Local Extension Capacity (DLEC) project galvanized diverse extension and advisory service (EAS) stakeholders to measurably improve agricultural extension programs, policies and services.
DLEC accomplishes this objective through three interrelated sets of activities: conducting targeted diagnostics on country EAS systems to identify gaps and opportunities and recommending potential areas for public, private and donor investment; implementing action research activities (engagements) that build local capacity and generate evidence on how to improve EAS; and mobilizing lasting communities of practice (CoPs) to advocate for scaling proven approaches.
DLEC (2016-2021) is led by Digital Green in partnership with consortium members such as the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS).
Launched in May 2016, DLEC is a five-year Leader with Associates cooperative agreement. The flexible award mechanism enables DLEC and our partners to test and share best-fit solutions to improve extension and advisory services through core funding while simultaneously enabling USAID Missions to invest in associate awards for activities that further their country strategy.
DLEC's core activities are:
During the project’s first two years, DLEC completed 10 diagnostics in Feed the Future and aligned countries to evaluate the EAS ecosystem. The diagnostic reports provide insight into the strengths and challenges faced by national extension systems and outline customized recommendations. The diagnostics evaluate the access, quality and sustainability of the governance structures and policy environment; organizational and management capacities and cultures of EAS organizations; advisory methods used within each system; the extent to which the system is market-oriented; how the system engages different communities, including youth and women; and how it supports overall livelihood strategies of farmers by addressing relevant topics such as nutrition and resilience. The profiled countries include Bangladesh, Guinea, Honduras, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Senegal. DLEC also helps conduct additional studies at the request of local USAID missions, such as on youth and private sector engagement in extension.
DLEC also regularly engages with key national extension stakeholders to advocate for the uptake of recommendations and strengthen national EAS systems. In Liberia, activities recommended in DLEC’s diagnostic report have been incorporated into a proposal submitted by the Ministry of Agriculture to the Food and Agriculture Organization. View our latest diagnostics here: Agrilinks
DLEC works with USAID Missions, public and private sector and civil society to implement locally-tailored, partnership-based solutions that address country-specific challenges and build the capacity of country stakeholders. Current and completed engagements include:
• In Uganda, a field experiment led by IFPRI found that providing information to both heads of the household led to an increase in joint decision-making, increased knowledge retention and greater uptake of practices.
• In Bangladesh, a transport-to-market mobile solution, implemented by Digital Green, provided smallholder farmers in Jessore convenient access to markets and connected them to extension services, quality inputs, financial services. Through the engagement, over 5,000 farmers (10% women farmers) sold 18k+ metric tons of fresh fruit and vegetables generating USD 4 million in sales. Participating farmers received 14% higher prices for their produce and experienced 25% reduction in cost of transportation.
• In Ethiopia, results of an impact evaluation, led by IFPRI, showed up to 37% greater likelihood of smallholder farmers receiving advice/training via video and adopting improved technologies. Digital Green also partnered with Fintrac, FAO, Ethiopia’s Agricultural Transformation Agency and CABI to test a holistic digital suite of tools to provide localized farmer-centric fall armyworm mitigation advice.
• In Honduras, Care International built the capacity of the national government agency overseeing extension provision on participatory and best-fit EAS models to reach Honduran smallholder farmers with quality public extension.
• In Kenya, Digital Green is partnering with the Kenya Agricultural & Livestock Research Organization and the Makueni County Government to develop customized digital content on fruit fly prevention for mango farmers.
• In Nigeria, video-enabled extension implemented by two dairy processors trained by Digital Green, resulted in the processors (i) doubling their reach and quantity of milk processed; and (ii) reducing the rejection rate for spoiled milk from 40% to 0%. Digital Green, in partnership with the KANO Agricultural & Rural Development Agency tested a model for participatory curriculum development and dissemination on most impactful agronomic practices for the rice value chain. The customized curriculum of priority practices resulted in 23-35% yield increase compared to control plots.
• In Rwanda, Digital Green, in partnership with One Acre Fund and Rwanda Agriculture Board, tested incentive schemes to improve performance of volunteer farmer promoters. The engagement found a 37% increase in the adoption of good agricultural practices and an 8% increase in farmer knowledge due to the improved performance of the farmer promoters.
• In South Sudan, Digital Green partnered with the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and private sector seed companies to implement the community-video approach to build awareness on high-quality seed among smallholder farmers.
Communities of Practice
DLEC mobilizes lasting communities at national and global levels in collaboration with GFRAS and others to advocate for scaling proven approaches to catalyze change in EAS. We convene a global CoP and collaborate with several country-led EAS communities such as the Uganda Forum for Agriculture Advisory Services (UFAAS) and the Bangladesh Agriculture Extension Network (BAEN). Results from the DLEC engagements are used as a catalyst to advocate for change and contribute to current or future extension programs implemented by our community members. DLEC is also collaborating with multiple donors to lead the development of a common framework for extension metrics.
To learn more about DLEC and how you can get involved, contact Dr Kristin Davis, Project Co-Director at firstname.lastname@example.org or Ms Shreya Agarwal, Director - Strategy, Digital Green at email@example.com. For more information on accessing this LWA, contact DLEC’s AOR, Mr John Peters firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Kristin Davis
DLEC Project Co-Director
Sr. Research Fellow, IFPRI
Dr. David Spielman
Technical Advisor, DLEC
Sr. Research Fellow, IFPRI
Director - Strategy,
Sr. Program Manager - Strategy
Head of Africa
Head of Communications - Asia
This website is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility of Digital Green and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.