Stakeholder workshop to start develop research and extension information network in Albania

Stakeholder workshop for the establishment of a virtual research and extension information and communication network in Albania will take place between 9-10 June 2011 in Hotel Continental, Vore-Tirana.

The event is organised in the framwork of the project UNJP/ALB/006/UNJ Phase II: Strengthening the functional linkages and building capacities among the stakeholders of the national research and extension system for providing effective and relevant services to Albanian smallholder farmers.



Project background and justification

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 one important factor for the reorientation of Albanian smallholder farmers towards markets, their income diversification, contribution to environmental protection and adaptation to climate change.

As a major outputs of the implemented in 2009 the One UN Coherence Fund funded project UNJP/006/ALB/UNJ “Assessment of the current agricultural research and extension system, stakeholder information and communication needs and gaps for providing effective and relevant services to Albania smallholder farmers”, a comprehensive situation analysis of the current research and extension system with regard of the information and communication needs of the stakeholders was elaborated. As a main gap, the analysis points out: “Only singular cooperation is to be seen between the Agricultural Universities and public research and extension, as well as between public research and extension and input suppliers and processors. Especially this deficiency of functioning linkages is a bottleneck for the development of the Albanian Agricultural Knowledge and Information System (AKIS) and provides room for more effectiveness and efficiency. Private commercial extension is hardly existing and exclusively serving the small number of big, commercial agro-enterprises. There is practically no linkage between these private actors and the public extension system”.  Further, recommendations for the follow-up measures to address the most acute problems were developed. These recommendations include inter alia:

·         Elaboration of an improved institutional framework also on inter-institutional level to provide better interactions between universities and agricultural technology transfer centres (ATTCs); and among ATTCs, Agricultural University of Tirana, and Extension services (public and private);

·         Considering the farmers needs for a regular provision with timely information on markets, weather, inputs, among others, and the given scarcity of extension staff a coherent communication strategy with a systematic use of mass media should be elaborated and implemented;

·         Strengthening the training function of the ATTCs would be a most interesting option for further development of the centres with the active and systematic involvement of and cooperation with NGOs and input suppliers. However, this option has to be well considered and a feasible strategy has to be elaborated to this end.


The current project will contribute to the strengthening of the functional linkages among the stakeholders of the research and extension system in Albania through improving the institutional framework to allow better interaction and involvement of the stakeholders and developing a communication strategy, which would include a research and extension network to enable farmers’ and rural population’s market-orientation, income diversification, environmental protection and adaptation to climate change.  It will address the National Development Goal in line with MDG 1 on Eradication of poverty and hunger; contribute to the strategic priority objective for food, agriculture and rural development: “Improve economic efficiency and competitiveness in agriculture and agro-processing through productivity enhancement and higher product quality (farm modernization measures and support for restructuring and development of value-added activities)”. The project will address the top medium-term priorities areas for Government–FAO collaboration agreed in the NMTPF: Advice on reform of the extension and advisory services in term of overall philosophy/concept and capacity building and know how.


The expected outcome of the project is an improved involvement and effective interaction among all stakeholders of the Agricultural Innovation System (AIS) in Albania. As a result of the project the following outputs will be produced:

·         efficient and improved institutional framework for AKIS in Albania;

·         effective communication strategy in extension, including pilot ICT network;

·         improved networking capacities of all groups of stakeholders.   


Workshop objectives

·        Present project objectives and concept;

·        Share lessons learned from FAO related networks (e.g. AgroWeb, ESCORENA, TECA, VERCON)

·        Share agricultural innovation system model and the role of ICTs

·        Develop a shared vision for a virtual research and extension information and communication network in Albania

·        Identify existing resources, needs for IC and main functions for a virtual extension and research information and communication network in Albania;

·        Define roles and responsibilities of stakeholders

·        Identify stakeholders’ training needs

·        Agree on operational framework and action plan.

Expected results

The key output is an operational framework comprising of:

  1. Shared vision
  2. Main functions of a virtual research and extension information and communication network in Albania
  3. Roles and responsibilities of stakeholders
  4. Training needs identified
  5. Action plan

Participants: 35 representatives of AIS stakeholders: extension services, municipalities, academia, all five ATTCs, private extension services, input suppliers, farmers and farmer organisations, NGOs, policy-makers (MoAFCP, Ministry of Science and Education, Albanian Research Agency), related donor projects initiatives

News submitted on 2.06.2011 BY: LASZLO PAPOCSI
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