Developing a Policy Framework for Agricultural Extension Systems in Tunisia
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The Tunisian government is facing many challenges in delivering effective extension services to communities across the different regions within the country. Therefore, in the face of declining natural resources linked to overutilization, population growth and climate change, national extension services need to review their priorities and reform their modes of service delivery. New extension approaches need to emerge locally, based on experimentation, learning, and adaptation to prevailing as well as evolving conditions. It is within this context that the proposition of a policy framework was developed, aimed at providing the national extension service and other actors with strategic guidance towards allocating resources and information where they are critically needed most. This approach is designed to meet the needs of final end users, who face an increasingly complex and evolving production and market environment. The policy framework adopted an analysis based on secondary information and interactions with key stakeholders involved in the extension information chain within the government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and the private sector. The discussions and interactions suggest that extension staff should receive appropriate training to carry out their duties. They also reveal that scarce resources can be used more effectively through partnerships with the private sector and use of information and communication technologies where appropriate. From the interactions, it is critical to note that monitoring and evaluating the performance of extension service delivery, based on stakeholder feedback, is also crucial in ensuring that extension staff skills remain relevant to extension services' end-user’s needs.