Tirana, 9 June 2011 – A workshop “Establishment of a virtual research and extension information and communication network in Albania” was organized by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Consumer Protection (MoAFCP) and the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) in Tirana. It brought together around 60 participants from the Agricultural field: representatives of municipalities across Albania, academia, all five Agricultural Technology Transfer Centres (ATTCs), private extension services, input suppliers, farmers and farmer organisations, NGOs, related donors, and policy-makers (MoAFCP, representatives of Ministry of Science and Education, Albanian Agency for Research, Technology and Innovation.)
The development of an efficient agricultural research and extension system, with functional linkages to farmers and other actors of the agricultural sector, is considered as an important factor for the reorientation of Albanian smallholder farmers towards markets, their income diversification, contribution to environment protection, and adaptation to climate change.
The workshop provided a good opportunity to validate and refine existing resources, and identify the needs and main functions of a virtual extension and research information and communication network in Albania.
The event encouraged an exchange of experience, sharing of lessons learned, and discussion of a model in agricultural innovation system from FAO experience. The workshop developed a shared vision for an effective Agricultural Innovation System (AIS) in Albania, able to bring new products, processes and forms of organization into social and economic use, which requires the active and interactive networking of all actors involved in agriculture. Discussions also focused on development of an operational framework, the main functions of a virtual research and extension information and communication network in Albania, the role and responsibilities of stakeholders.
The workshop is part of the second phase of the project: “Assessment of current agricultural research and extension system, stakeholder information and communication needs and gaps for providing effective and relevant services to Albanian smallholder farmers”, part of the One UN programme and funded by the UN Coherence Fund.
The project is coordinated by the FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia, Hungary. It aims to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the current agricultural research and extension system, and the needs of its stakeholders, recommending follow-up actions for the improvement of services to farmers. Furthermore, it is expected to improve interaction among all stakeholders and the institutional framework for AIS in Albania. Particular attention is being given to smallholder producer organizations, including rural women organizations.
For more information, contact:
Nevena Alexandrova, PhD
Agricultural Research and Biotechnology Officer
FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia