05 June 2006

Delivering extension services to farmers in developing countries

In an article for CTA's Knowledge for Development portal, Michael Madukwe argues that a sound agricultural extension policy is indispensable to achieve success in transferring knowledge to farmers. He introduces two approaches and seven strategies that need consideration by developing countries as they change the ways agricultural technology is taken to farmers.

In the Farmer-Group Approach, "farmers support each other to learn and adopt. Thus farmer-to-farmer extension is amplified. Rather than simply be agents for technologies imposed from outside, the extension agents are expected to become catalysts..." The Farmer Field School Approach "is a participatory approach, which facilitates farmer demand for knowledge, and offers opportunity for the end users to choose, test and adapt technologies according to their needs. Through participation in FFS, farmers develop skills that allow them to continually analyze their own situation and adapt to changing circumstances."

Strategies discussed are: Provision of legal and policy framework; Link to market opportunities; Recognizing indigenous knowledge; Targeting and gender sensitivity; Networking and enhancing the capabilities of extension service providers; Increased use of ICTs in extension; Increased use of private extension service providers.




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