Journal of Extension Systems

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1992, Volume 8(1 & 2)

N. Roling, Editorial

  1. Antholt, C. H. Relevancy, Responsiveness, and Cost-Effectiveness: Issue for Agricultural Extension in the 21st Century.
  2. Harter, D. & Hass, G. Commercialization of British Extension System: Promise or Primrose.
  3. Asante-Mensah, S. & Seepersad, J. Factors Influencing the Adoption of Recommended Practices by Cocoa Farmers in Ghana.
  4. Quispe, A. & Gabon, J. A. Household Income in Resettlement Project in Southeast Mexico.
  5. Hassanullah, M. Organizational Properties & Manifestations of Different Models of Extension Work.
  6. Obibualcu, L. O. & Mauve, M. C. Institutional Framework for Transfer of Agricultural Technology to Resource-Poor Fanners in Nigeria.
  7. Jayasekhar, L. Karunakaran, K. & Lowdermilk, M. Women in Irrigation Management: A Case Study in South India.
  8. A-As-Saqui, M.  Strategies for Sweet Potato Technology Transfer in Liberia.
  9. Karami, E. & Torkamani, J. Need and Prospects for Fanning Systems: Research and Extension in Iran.
  10. Wijeratne, M. & Abeysekara, W. T. Diffusion Trends of Institutional Innovations: Farmers' Pension auld Social Security Benefit Scheme of Srilanka.
  11. Asiabaka, C. C.  Assessment of the Training Needs and Job-Performance of Women Agricultural Extension Personnel in Nigeria.
  12. Roling, N. Effects of Applied Agricultural Research auld Extension: Issues for Knowledge Management.

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These are exciting times for extension and extension science, respectively our profession and our 'discipline'. Never before has there been such general agreement that change can only come about through people. Never before has, therefore, so much attention been paid to adult education, facilitation, participation, capacity building, empowerment, and other forms of 'extension'. Let me give a few examples.

(1) All over the world, forests are threatened as people try to tap the wealth that has been stored in them over thousands of years. All over the world also, governments have tried to protect forests through throwing the people out, fencing and creating reservations. It has not worked. No longer responsible, local people have encroached and continued to graze their goats and sheep, cut the firewood and otherwise destroy what remains. Now, there is a complete turn-about in approach. It is generally, recognised that the conservation of forests can only be successful if local people are put in charge and made to feel they 'own' the forest as a resource for themselves and their children. Therefore, much energy is expended on social forestry, community forestry, or what have you. Extension philosophies and methods are a key to the success of these approaches.

(2) Land care (erosion control, fighting salinity, preventing desertification) is increasingly recognised as a key aspect of sustainable agriculture. This concern adds a totally new dimension to conventional agriculture.... and extension. Instead of focus on transfer of research-based technologies and technology packages of fertilisers, seeds and biocides, land care calls for helping local groups recognise the scale of the problem of environmental degradation, making visible the consequences of mis-management, helping establish platforms for joint decision making about natural resource management units, such as water catchment areas, and providing assistance in applying general principles to locally specific conditions.

(3) Integrated Pest Management, now generally propagated as an alternative to increasingly untenable chemical pest control, especially in advanced agricultural industries, such as irrigated rice, calls for a totally new dimension to extension. Instead of treating farmers as the lowest form of civil servants who merely follow orders from extension workers, IPM requires farmers to be experts with a great amount of local knowledge about 'herbivores' and 'carnivores' the influence of climate, the characteristics of different cultivars, etc. Helping such 6 experts' takes a very different approach to extension than some extension workers have been used to.

One could go on. The point is that extension has undergone a transformation. How can we help farmers do their own agricultural experimentation and research? How can we facilitate local groups to take ownership of their problems as a pre-requisite to solving them? How can we use indigenous knowledge and technology? How can we mobilise the skills, energy and knowledge of rural women, so far often ignored in development efforts but increasingly recognised as a key to the success of those efforts?

Agriculture and natural resource management are increasingly recognised for what they are: people's business. They are not the realm of scientists and experts. Instead, they are the business of ordinary people. And the more problematic population pressure, environmental degradation, pollution and food insecurity become, the more we must recognise that people matter, that it is only through them that we can achieve anything.

Which means that extension has become interesting again. The period of routine solutions (science-based technology transfer through T & V type extension systems) seems to draw to an end. Those routine approaches have not provided the answers to rural poverty, to the diverse needs of rain-fed agriculture, to the salination and decreased productivity of irrigation schemes, to the locality-specific expertise farmers need to solve sustainability problems, and other issues.

But for a journal like JES it is not enough to observe that "extension has become interesting again' and enjoy it. We have an important role to play. Extension professionals and specialists require new ways of thinking. Their old securities are undermined. They are bewildered and feel threatened. They do not understand what is required of them after decades of having been trained to pass on science-based technology packages to top farmers. They feel uncertain in roles such as 'facilitator' or 'adult educator'. JES has a vital role to play in this respect. Few extension journals exist. JES must provide leadership to extension professionals world-wide.

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Relevancy, Responsiveness, and Cost-Effectiveness: Issue for Agricultural Extension in the 21st Century, Charles H. Antholt, 1-36.

In their review of agricultural extension by T & V in Asia, Cemea, Coulter and Russell (1984) pointed out that extension is only one of a number of factors that contribute to increased farm productivity and that it is not one of the essential ingredients such as the availability of appropriate technology, inputs and attractive markets. Nevertheless, the fact remains that central to the process of agricultural development is the need to increase factor productivity in agriculture, which is a function of technological innovation at the farm level. Indeed, new and more productive information/knowledge is as essential in the development process as land, labor and capital. It is within this framework that consideration of agricultural extension is important. This paper reviews early thinking about and experience with extension in the context of agricultural development in Asia. It also assesses some of the World Bank's experiences with extension in Asia and suggests changes in conceptual thinking about agricultural extension and its operational arrangements.

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Commercialization of British Extension System: Promise or Primrose, Don Harter & Glen Hass, 37-44.

In a time of belt tightening for governmental agencies everywhere, Britain's decision to commercialize ADAS (Agricultural Development and Advisory Service) has set off widespread discussion concerning the possibility of shifting agricultural extension services to a clientele-supported basis. If clients of ADAS will pay for assistance they formerly received free to charge, then the fee system also should work for extension agencies in other countries. It is possible, however, that the new ADAS arrangements may not be in the long-term interest of the British public. Moreover, extension systems in the United States, Canada and other similar countries may generate strong resistance to commercialization proposals. After all, there has been a long tradition for "public service" agriculture extension!

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Factors Influencing the Adoption of Recommended Practices by Cocoa Farmers in Ghana, S. Asante-Mensah & J. Seepersad, 45-69.

The study examined the adoption behaviour of small-scale cocoa farmers in Ghana using analytical frameworks derived from both the diffusion theory and the Fanning Systems Research traditions. Few of the recommended practices were "fully adopted" by the majority of farmers. Nevertheless, farmers were still in a position to quickly increase production if certain perceived constraints were removed. Although most respondents felt prices were too low, the majority indicated that they still intended to continue in -cocoa fanning. Possible reasons for this seemingly inconsistent position were explored.

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Household Income in Resettlement Project in Southeast Mexico, Anibal Quispe & Julia A. Gabon, 70-79.

An ambitious development project in the coastal plains of southeast Mexico, the Plan Chontalpa, was started in the 1960's. Almost 5000 people were resettled and organized collectively for agricultural labor. About sixty million dollars were invested in drainage, leveling of land, paving of roads, building of homes, and provision of sewage and electricity services. Objectives of the project were to improve and equalize household income and living conditions of the resettled families. In order to do this, there needed to be greater provision for extension education and opportunities for farmers to participate in the decision-making process.

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Organizational Properties & Manifestations of Different Models of Extension Work, M. Hassanullah, 80-102.

Manifestations of the Training and Visit, the Advisory Service, and the Integrated Models of extension work were studied in terms of the properties of strategy, management, staff and resource use of Agricultural Extension Services of Bangladesh by drawing stratified random samples of 887 farmers and 350 professional staff across different hierarchies of the organizations. The findings lead to conclude that the Training and Visit Model and the Advisory Service Model of the Deptt. of Agricultural Extension have failed to create significant differences in the properties of the organization as well as its performance. The Integrated Extension Model of the Sugarcane Extension Service performed better than those two pure Models and was characterised by more universal contact, adoptable technologies, staffs salary and incentives, formalization, co-ordination, supervisors mobility, active client participation, recruitment of experienced staff, and expense per client families. Training and Visit Model, therefore, needs to be redesigned to create more favourable organizational properties for better performance of Agricultural Extension Services.

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Institutional Framework for Transfer of Agricultural Technology to Resource-Poor Fanners in Nigeria, L. O. Obibualcu & M. C. Mauve, 103-113.

Nigerian agriculture is dominated by a large number of smallscale resource-poor farmers. It is estimated that about 90 percent of the total cultivated land in the country is operated by small-scale farmers who also account for almost 90 percent of Nigeria's total agricultural output. These farmers are in dire need of improved agricultural technologies to increase their production and productivity and to better off their living standard. However, acquisition of modern farm technologies has been eluding them because of the failure of agricultural institutions to develop and transfer appropriate technologies to them.

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Women in Irrigation Management: A Case Study in South India, L. Jayasekhar, K Karunakaran & Max Lowdermilk, 114-124.

Studies on the role of women in agriculture while receiving increased attention have not adequately documented the important contributions in irrigation management. This case study provides insights and suggests opportunities for extension professionals and irrigation management specialists to provide more focus to this important area. This case study also describes the important role of voluntary cooperative efforts of women in irrigation management, a development emphasis which should help to bring both agricultural and irrigation professionals together in working with local water user groups.

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Strategies for Sweet Potato Technology Transfer in Liberia, M. A-As-Saqui, 125-131.

Sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas L.) is an important food crop in Liberia and plays a significant role in the fanning system. Together with cassava, it supplies the population with more than 25% of their daily caloric intake. Besides, the tubers leaves are consumed extensively as vegetables.

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Need and Prospects for Fanning Systems: Research and Extension in Iran, E. Karami & J. Torkamani, 132-147.

Based on a survey of 362 farmers in Fars province of Iran, it is illustrated that the present technical change approach to research and extension is not ail efficient approach to obtain the thorough understanding of farming systems particularly that of the predominant class of small framers. The paper first argues that the FSRE is an alternative approach to improve the understanding of complex fanning systems. It then describes the FSRE model and its underlying principles which make research & extension more efficient for agricultural development.

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Diffusion Trends of Institutional Innovations: Farmers' Pension auld Social Security Benefit Scheme of Srilanka, Mahinda Wijeratne & W. A. Terrence Abeysekara, 148-157.

Agricultural development, in most instances, is identified as a process of dissemination and use of technological innovations. Such processes with a bias towards technological transformations, usually, tend to overlook the usefulness of alternative development strategies which are outside the realm of technology. Some of these development alternatives involve introduction of institutional mechanisms to improve social welfare of farmers by providing them income stability. As a step towards this direction, Government of Sri Lanka in 1987 launched an innovative institutional strategy, referred to as Farmers' Pension and Social Security Benefit (FPSSB) Scheme. The scheme is basically an insurance mechanism that provides disablement benefits and death gratuities to those enrolled in the scheme by paying a six monthly premium. The scheme is also designed to provide a monthly pension to the participants on reaching the retirement age of 60 years. This paper focuses on the spread of innovation among the target group mainly with a view to identify the process of dissemination and the diffusion trends underlying the FPSSB Scheme. During the first three years (1987-1989), the number of farmers joining the scheme has been relatively low. However, in 1990 and 1991, the rate of participation showed a marked growth. By the end of 1991, a total of 175,000 farmers have joined the scheme and nearly 50 percent of them joined in 1991 alone. The analysis indicates a higher diffusion rate among younger farmers. The older farmers tend to benefit relatively more from the scheme more than the younger farmers. Despite this, the number of older farmers joining the scheme is seen to be much smaller than that of younger farmers. The lower participation rate of the older farmers appears to be mainly due to the high premia associated with their enrolment. The diffusion trends differ substantially between agro-ecological zones. Study data also indicate relatively high dropout rates of the participants and this should be a cause for serious concern.

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Assessment of the Training Needs and Job-Performance of Women Agricultural Extension Personnel in Nigeria, Chigozie C. Asiabaka, 158-166.

The study focussed on the appraisal of training needs and job performance of women as agricultural extension personnel in Imo State of Nigeria. Results show that most of these women are young with only twelve percent being above forty years. Data analysis also shows that most of them had less than five years experience as extension workers. Their highest level of education has been diploma in agriculture. The women identified transport as major obstacle in their work. Findings also indicate that the women perceived their training needs mostly in areas of food processing, preservation and utilization; general agriculture, home-economics, and extension teaching methods. They rated their pre-service curricula as slightly above average. The supervisors rated job performance of women extension workers as above average. The study concluded that though these women are performing above average; more needs, to be done to improve their overall performance and training.

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Effects of Applied Agricultural Research auld Extension: Issues for Knowledge Management, Niels Roling, 167-184.

Measuring the effects of applied agricultural research and extension (AR & E from now on) is notoriously difficult. This is partly due to the fact that the adoption of new technology is often not only dependent on the efforts of these two institutions, but also on the farmers' access to markets, credit, inputs, irrigation water, land, etc. Many efforts to monitor and evaluate AR & E programmes have run into this problem.

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