GFRAS, the Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services, is about enhancing the performance of advisory services so that they can better serve farm families and rural producers. GFRAS will thus contribute to improved livelihoods in rural areas and the sustainable reduction of hunger and poverty. Rural advisory services help to empower farmers and better integrate them in systems of agricultural innovation. The GFRAS structure reaches smallholder farmers via the regional rural advisory services networks, which are made up of national-level platforms. The national platforms include actors from all sectors working in rural advisory services, and work directly with smallholders. National platforms help prioritise national-level issues and formulate demands to be taken to the regional and global levels.
GFRAS’s vision is for rural advisory services to effectively contribute to agricultural innovation systems for sustainable development.
GFRAS ‘s mission is to provide advocacy and leadership on pluralistic and demand-driven rural advisory services for sustainable development.
To achieve its mission and vision, GFRAS focuses on the three strategic fields of action, discussed below. In doing so, it pursues outcomes (changes in behaviour) related to the enabling environment, institutions and organisations (focusing on regional networks as the core of the forum), and human resource development (individual capacities).
- Strategic field 1: Advocacy and support for an enabling policy environment and appropriate investment in rural advisory services
- Strategic field 2: Professionalisation of rural advisory services
- Strategic field 3: Facilitation and enhancement of effective and continuous knowledge generation and exchange
Many challenges exist in agriculture and rural development today, including food price crises, natural resource depletion, changing and uncertain markets, environmental degradation, and climate change. Countries worldwide are affected, regardless of their social, economic, or political status. Additionally, in spite of national and international development efforts, there is still persistent rural poverty, and global nutrition challenges. Rural advisory services are fundamental to supporting people to deal with existing and new challenges, and to improve the livelihoods of rural people worldwide.