The Agri Advisory Services Division (AASD) which was established by Agribank to train and mentor farmers aims to transfer skills and knowledge as well as change attitudes towards farming in order to increase productivity.
AASD's ultimate objective is to transform agricultural interventions into viable business enterprises and focuses on orienting farmers towards adopting appropriate climate resilient strategies and agro-processing practices, which will ensure national food security and sustainable livelihoods.
Elaine Smith, Manager: Agri Advisory Services Division at the bank said that training opportunities will be presented by clients and non-clients to attend various platforms for up-scaling their knowledge and skills-base.
"Evening lectures will give a platform to keep farms in urban areas informed and equipped with farm management skills, while excursions will farmers identify the best farming practices, therefore enhancing their understanding of the commitment and sacrifices one has to make to become productive and profitable," she explained.
She emphasized that there will be farmers' information days to ensure information dissemination to as many farmers as possible and to be used as a platform for networking and on-farm research trials will be used to demonstrate and create awareness on various appropriate farming practices to influence informed decision making.
"Farm mapping will produce farm maps to aid farm planning and management and training packages may be arranged in conjunction with other specialized agricultural training providers," she added.
Smiths also explained that identified clients will be offered a chance to receive mentorship free of charge but must be willing to sign a mentorship and training agreement to demonstrate their commitment to farming productively.
"Such clients will be attached to a mentor based on the location or operational zone of the mentor so as to maintain regular contact for personalized advice and guidance based on the client's needs," she said.