10 January 2011

Mobilizing the potential of rural and agricultural extension

This paper presents an overview of current opportunities and challenges facing efforts to increase the impact of rural and agricultural extension. The starting point for this analysis is in recognition that the days when agricultural extension was synonymous with the work of public sector agencies are over.

The ‘extension services’ described here may just as likely consist of an input vendor advising a farmer about what seed to plant, a television station broadcasting a weather forecast, a supermarket advising traders about what standards are required for the vegetables they purchase or a farmer organization lobbying for research that reflects the demands of its members for new technologies.

Mobilizing the potential of extension is about enhancing this broad and complex flow of information and advice in the agrifood sector.

The paper presents the position of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS) on where agricultural extension stands today and where it needs to go in the future.

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