Journal of Extension Systems

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1997, Volume 13(1 & 2)

O. S. Verma, Editorial

  1. Blum, A.  Mapping and Comparing Agricultural Knowledge Systems As Evaluation and Improvement Instruments.
  2. Singh, S. N. Research in Extension: A Critique of Four Decades of Performance.
  3. Verma, O. S. Management of Extension Systems Authority, Responsibility, and Accountability.
  4. Gardiner, T. & A. Silva. Community-based Technical Assistance in Cape Verde.
  5. Kazan, A. L. & R. Agunga. Innovative Farmers: A Challenge for Extension Systems Worldwide.
  6. Sanggin, S. E. & J. G. Richardson. Continuing Professional Education Process Needs of County Extension Agents.
  7. Karunadasa, K. & C. Garforth. Adoption Behaviour in Smallholder and Estate Tea Sectors in Relation to Selected Innovations: A Comparative Study in Sri Lanka.
  8. Hossain, M. A. Opinion Leaders and Contact Farmers in T & V Agricultural System of Bangladesh: Need for Role Linkage.
  9. Omotayo, A. M., D. O. Chikwendu, M. B. Zaria, J. O. Yusuf & Z. E. Omenesa. Effectiveness of Radio in Nigeria in Dissemination of Information on Improved Farming Practices.
  10. Ladebo, O. J., B. I. Kassal & O. C. Banjoko. Effect of Radio Farm Broadcasts on Farmers Knowledge of Improved Farm Practices.
  11. Shamebo, D. Transfer of Improved Bread Wheat Variety and Farmers' Reaction Towards the Technology in the Peasant Farming System of Southeastern Ethiopia.
  12. Betru, T. Personality Characteristics of Small Farmers in Relation to their Adoption Behaviours of Improved Farm Practices.
  13. Chizari, M., A. R. Pishbin & J. R. Linder. Self-Perceived Professional Competencies Needed and Possessed by Agricultural Extension Agents in the Fars Province of Iran.

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Collaborative Extension Programmes in Partnership

A participatory system of Agricultural Development is being initiated in a number of African countries and Central America. The aim is to lessen the distance between the farmers, the researchers, and the industries so that the efforts of research are accurately directed to solving what really the farmers' problems are and not just what researchers perceive them to be. The basic tenet of participatory approach is that the extensionists and the researchers no longer see themselves as teachers but become a part in the process of learning together with the farmers. Thus, broadening the base of participation, a partnership deed is formed among the researchers, the extensionists, the farmers, the industries, and the development agencies in which commonly agreed activities are collaborated through dialogues and negotiations. This increase the capacity of the farmers to assess and to analyze the constraints they face, make use of the resources they have, and utilize the resources of public and private services to which they have access.

Earlier, linkage between the farmers and the researcher was for the extension service to carry farmers' problems to the researcher and return with a solution. For a variety of reasons, this has not worked well. While extension workers were not trained in problem-solving approach, the researchers did not make joint diagnosis of problems with the farmers and often misunderstood the rationale for technology upgradation and refinement. The development agencies and industrial houses were alienated from the mainstream of this technology propelled development process. The partnership approach attempts to alleviate these problems by bringing all the five Pivots: Researcher, Extensionist, Development Agent, Industrialist, and Farmer together as partners into the process of change.

In practical terms, this means all the Five Pivots (REDIF) will be involved in working together by way of contributing their respective art. For example, researcher will supply the technology, farmer will spare his land and labour, development agent will offer logistic support, industrial entrepreneur will make financial commitment, and extensionist will act as facilitator in managing adaptive on-farm trials. This sort of experimenting will continue until jointly a definite goal is achieved. This is what has been the motto of a collaboration in partnership "Work together, Grow together, and Learn together from each other". Against this backdrop, the R&D projects need to be formulated.

Frontline field extension and development projects need to be in tune with the policy of liberalization and privatization of services. inelastic bureaucracy and red-tapism has practically ruined the public sector extension services and the political interference and pressure have made the matter worse. The greatest hindrance to the progress of public extension services individually or collectively is not ignorance but an adamant refusal to face realities. The private and voluntary organizations mostly formed for political exploitation have also not resulted in doing anything substantial and sustainable. The turn, therefor, now is on the professional bodies which should come forward to formulate long-term development strategy different from beneficiary oriented short-term approaches. This again calls for collaborative efforts in partnership with five Pivots (REDIF) for extension programmes. Of all these five, industry is the most sought after partner.

It is a sad commentary that our industries, by and large, have so far depended on foreign collaboration without making meaningful investments in R&D at home. It has resulted in our industries becoming obsolescent, inefficient, and out-dated.Motivated by quick profits, our industries have followed the imported black-box approach instead of building a healthy organic linkage with our R&D establishments and educational institutions. The time is, therefore, now ripe for the industries to come forward to join hand with other four pivots and invest at least 5 percent of their gross sales to Research and Development through professional institutions. In Japan, over half of the total R&D expenditure is me by industries which has resulted in a dramatic impact in improving the quality of their products and services.

Equally important is linking industries to Education. The recent trends show that the industries production systems are becoming highly technology-propelled. The technology-trained personnel are, therefore, in great demand. This calls for a market-friendly system of Vocational Education and Training so that a Store-House of trained personnel in a variety of technology intensive production systems could be created. With this approach, the Employability of trained manpower is ensured as the employers have now become essential arbiters. This is where industry participation in education is linked to be a necessity rather than a choice.

The overwhelming involvement of public sector institutions in vocational education has been viewed with apprehension. It is felt that such interventions have made the educational system too bureaucratic and financial auditing a stumblingblock. This has not only created rigidity but has also prevented the system from keeping pace with the changing demands of technology, industry, and market. Involvement of private professional institutions in Vocational Education has thus become imperative to free the educational system from the clutches of indifferent bureaucracy.

As regards training and human resources development, a viable system of income-generating Entrepreneurship Development Training Programmes are much in demand. Therefore, the time is now opportune for drafting such self-employment oriented training in partnership with the concerned organizations. Agriculture fortunately is still high potential field in this direction and we should, therefore, exploit it to the best advantage. Some of the areas that appear to be still not fully tapped are: Integrated Dairy Farming, Poultry, Piggery, Fishery, Forestry, Floriculture, Plant Nurseries, Quality Seed Production, Textile Designing, Bee Keeping, and Vegetable Gardening. A host of other titles can also be delineated. What is disappointing most in these entrepreneurship development training programmes is the lack of preplanned documented training modules in the form of techno-economic feasibility reports wherein cost-benefit parameters could explicitly be seen. The logical estimates drawn from scientific discoveries should become the basis of preparing training modules. Extension professional should accept this challenge which has not yet been the case.

The HRD is somewhat different from training programmes in the sense that the emphasis here is on the development, upgradation, and refinement of the total personality of a person. The concept of HRD is more relevant to in-position training programmes wherein the aim is to make work culture more conductive to organizational goal. The HRD programmes like Sensitivity Training, TA Workshops, Participative Management Exercises, Brain Storming Sessions, Think-Tanks, Open Houses, Short Courses, Refresher Training, Summer Institutes, and National Conventions should become regular features under the command of professional bodies.

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Blum, A.  Mapping and Comparing Agricultural Knowledge Systems As Evaluation and Improvement Instruments, 1-16.

Three propositions on the value of the systems approach to agricultural knowledge are discussed: In earlier studies on countries which are believed to have effective AKSs (the USA, the Netherlands and Israel), 18 points have been identified as having contributed to the effectiveness of the respective AKSs. They can be used as checkpoints, when looking at other AKSs. Typical differences between different AKSs are discussed with the help of graphical charts of the AKSs in Western Europe, Israel and Bhutan. These charts help to demonstrate how a given AKS is organized. They also highlight some of its strengths and weaknesses. Maps of the AKSs can show the overall view of a system, the directions and character of the links between actors, the strength of the links and the topics of the knowledge which is being exchanged. Based on such an analysis, a discussion on how the AKS could be improved, can start.

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Singh, S. N. Research in Extension: A Critique of Four Decades of Performance, 17-25.

Though the need for research in physical and biological sciences has been well recognized for centuries, the importance of research in social and behavioural science including extension is of relatively recent origin. The research in extension was born out of practical considerations such as making improvements in extension work. Studies on communication methods and social change were needed to make effective interventions for increasing farm production. The pioneering work done by Wilkening (1958), Lionberger (1960), Rogers (1963), Beal and Bohlen (1967), Havens (1962) Emery (1963) greatly contributed towards understanding the process of diffusion and adoption of innovations.

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Verma, O. S. Management of Extension Systems Authority, Responsibility, and Accountability, 26-38.

This article is written with a view to build a theoretical base for empirical research on management issues with special reference to extension systems. Eight components are found relevant in this direction. First, authority structure which has been viewed from three angles: classical view, zone of acceptance view, and amount of authority used and freedom granted to subordinate workers. Second, delegation of authority for carrying out specific activities. Third, decentralization of authorities power downward to lower levels of organization. Fourth, control systems used in administering human resources. Fifth, participative management approach the authorities need to use in decision making. Sixth, authority with humility to speak on "people-friendly" hospitality and courtesy. Seventh, responsibility which says that it can neither be delegated nor shared. Eighth, accountability which states that authorities are solely accountable not only of their own deeds but also of their subordinates. These are some of the brief descriptions of management issues which if applied properly can make authorities effective in their administration.

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Gardiner, T. & A. Silva. Community-based Technical Assistance in Cape Verde, 39-45.

Subsistence and small farmers cultivate roughly 92% of all arable land in the mountainous archipelago of Cape Verde. Rainfall is sparse in this semi-arid country (averaging 250 to 350 mm per year in most places). When it does rain, precipitation is usually torrential and causes severe soil erosion. Additionally, only about 5% of this rainfall is actually caught for storage by the islands' aquifers.

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Kazan, A. L. & R. Agunga. Innovative Farmers: A Challenge for Extension Systems Worldwide, 46-58.

As more and more farmers become aware of the economic and environmental benefits of sustainable agriculture, so grows the popularity of the concept. Beginning in the mid-1980s, sustainable agriculture as an innovation has diffused to virtually all parts of the world. With many more farmers adopting sustainable agriculture, it would seem that Extension workers who, hitherto, were skeptical of the concept, must now promote it. But what communication strategy is necessary for working with sustainable agricultural farmers? Will the traditional top-down or researcher-to-extensionist-to-farmer approach work just as well? This study was conducted among the Innovative Farmers of Ohio, a sustainable agriculture group, to determine their Extension communication and other information needs. The study found that IFO farmers feel that many Extensionists still view sustainable agricultural practices with contempt. It also found that IFO farmers reject the top-down extension communication approach; instead, they want the extension involvement, but to serve primarily as facilitator.

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Sanggin, S. E. & J. G. Richardson. Continuing Professional Education Process Needs of County Extension Agents, 59-69.

Cooperative Extension Education in the United States depends on the competency of agent educators to effectively plan, implement, and evaluate its non-formal educational programmes. The purposes of this study were to determine perceived continuing extension education process needs of North Carolina Cooperative Extension agents, and any relationships between those perceived needs and selected personal and professional factors. Finding indicated that a majority of NC Extension Agents perceive at least some need for continuing professional development in extension education process. Greater needs were indicated for evaluation and accountability training than in other process areas. Personal factors of race, gender, and formal education level were found to be significant indicators of professional development needs in extension education. Age and academic background provide no basis for making process needs predictions.

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Karunadasa, K. & C. Garforth. Adoption Behaviour in Smallholder and Estate Tea Sectors in Relation to Selected Innovations: A Comparative Study in Sri Lanka, 70-82.

Tea is the main income earner from exports crops in the economy of Sri Lanka. Tea cultivation is carried out by two categories of producers: large estates and smallholders. Twenty eight percent of the tea lands belong to smallholding with 156,545 smallholders cultivating 61.371 ha or approximately one third of the area under tea. Increasing numbers of smallholders over the past few decades, and the increasing percentage of their contribution to tea exports justify the need for special attention. The average yield of the estate sector is high compared to that of the smallholding sector. In this context, it was considered worthwhile to study the adoption behaviour of smallholders and estates. This study attempted to compare the adoption behaviour of the smallholders and estates using five selected innovations: fertilizer application, pest and disease control, weed control, plucking and pruning. Most of the information in the study is based on field survey data collected using questionnaires in contrasting villages. Filed investigations were carried out in central and southern Sri Lanka. Data were collected from smallholder tea farmers, estate superintendents and extension workers. The findings reached in this study indicate that the rate of adoption of innovations in the smallholding sector is far behind that of the estate sector. Lack of knowledge was one of the major constraints in adopting innovations in the smallholding sector. In this regard, extension services have a greater role to play.

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Hossain, M. A. Opinion Leaders and Contact Farmers in T & V Agricultural System of Bangladesh: Need for Role Linkage, 83-102.

This paper investigates whether opinion leaders and contact farmers differ in their role performance and in certain socio-economic characteristics. Also studied are the contact farmers as a source of farm information. The paper is based upon farm-level data obtained from a progressive and less progressive village in Mymensingh district of Bangladesh. Overall, there was a minimal overlap between functions of opinion leaders and contact farmers. In addition, contact farmers as a source of farm information were of limited use among opinion leaders and other respondents. Rather, opinion leaders were the natural preference for farm information. In the majority of the socio-economic characteristics, contact farmers were ahead of opinion leaders indicating some degree of alienation of contact farmers from the existing socio-economic norms of the villages. Economic set of variables was relatively more efficient discriminating between opinion leaders and contact farmers in the progressive village. Considering the less progressive village, non-economic set of variables was more powerful discriminating and correctly classifying opinion leaders and contact farmers. Appropriate policy strategies are discussed considering different levels of village development.

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Omotayo, A. M., D. O. Chikwendu, M. B. Zaria, J. O. Yusuf & Z. E. Omenesa. Effectiveness of Radio in Nigeria in Dissemination of Information on Improved Farming Practices, 103-120.

Two states were selected from each of the five farming systems zones in Nigeria. Five hundred farmers were sampled from each of the ten states selected using simple random sampling techniques. Primary data were collected from farmers through questionnaires administered by trained enumerators. Additional information was obtained from radio stations, state Agricultural Development Projects (ADPs) and Research Institutes. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and Ordinary Least Square multiple regression. The analyses show that 28 percent of the respondents across the country owned a radio set, while about 48 percent had access to one. Agriculture was on of the least interesting programmes farmers listened to regularly. Across the country, respondents indicated the evening time as the most appropriate for radio farm broadcasts. Between 40 and 50 percent of those who had access to radio indicated obtaining information on improved farming practices through it. Radio was particularly effective in the dissemination of improved farming practices that did not require much practical demonstration. Determinants of effectiveness of radio include age of the farmer, farm size, ownership of radio, farming experience, language, type of radio programme and availability of other sources of income. It was concluded that radio farm broadcasts should be improved upon and interspersed with amusement rather than just "straight talks". It was further recommended that a central coordinating agency should be identified that would facilitate exchange of programmes among agencies responsible for farm radio production throughout the country.

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Ladebo, O. J., B. I. Kassal & O. C. Banjoko. Effect of Radio Farm Broadcasts on Farmers Knowledge of Improved Farm Practices, 121-127.

The study investigated the use and effect of radio farm programme on farmers' knowledge of agricultural practices in Odeda Local Government Area of Ogun State. Through two-stage sampling procedure, 80 farmers were randomly selected from four villages out of the twelve cells of the local government and data were collected using both structured questionnaire and person interview. Chi-square statistics were used to determine relationships between the dependent and independent variables. The obtained coefficients were subjected to Cramers phi to test for strength of association between the variables. Findings showed that 72. 5% of the respondents owned radio sets but the functionality could not be ascertained. About 48.7% reported depending on radio programmes for farm information. There is independence between farmers' knowledge and their age, educational status and income. This is an indication that the use of the radio by the farmers is not dependent on their socio-economic characteristics. However, the radio should be complemented with other media for information dissemination in realizing optimum benefits from the efforts of the extension service.

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Shamebo, D. Transfer of Improved Bread Wheat Variety and Farmers' Reaction Towards the Technology in the Peasant Farming System of Southeastern Ethiopia, 128-135.

Small holders cultivate 82% of the total wheat production area in Ethiopia. In Arsi and Bale, SE Ethiopia, the percentage of wheat coverage is 38.1% of all the other cereals with a total production area of 236900 ha. The popular varieties, Enkoy and Dashen in Arsi and Bale and Wollandi mostly in Bale region were attacked by diseases. ET-13, a variety that was verified to be accepted by farmers in Bale for its number of merits to other wheat varieties was demonstrated at 14 locations in Arsi. The plot size was 10 m x 20 m. The seed and fertilizer rate was according to research recommendations. Whereas all the other practices were of farmers. Similar treatments were done to ET-13 and the check varieties. The advantages and disadvantages of ET-13 were listed by the farmers. Various problems to the production of small cereals especially wheat was assessed. Their complaint against ET-13 was changed through careful and reasonable communication skill. The yield of ET-13 in most of the locations was better than the check varieties. Concerned bodies such as researchers, policy makers and input supply organizations should endeavour to solve the problems put forward by the farmers for sustainable and higher production of wheat in the region.

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Betru, T. Personality Characteristics of Small Farmers in Relation to their Adoption Behaviours of Improved Farm Practices, 136-145.

A research conducted to determine the personality characteristics of small farmers in relation to their adoption behaviours of improved farm practices in Lebanon indicated that the farmers' attitudes and motivations varied greatly with respect to each of the practices considered. They demonstrated patterns of positive, negative, and mixed attitudes toward the use of each of the selected farm practices. It was concluded that development programmes geared toward small farmers in a developing country need to consider the specific innovations separately.

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Chizari, M., A. R. Pishbin & J. R. Linder. Self-Perceived Professional Competencies Needed and Possessed by Agricultural Extension Agents in the Fars Province of Iran, 146-154.

The purpose of this paper was to determine the self-perceived Professional competency levels needed and competency levels possessed by agricultural extension agents in Fars Province of Iran. The study adopted a descriptive survey design. A random sample of 75 agents was selected for the study. The instrument along with a cover letter and stamped envelope were sent to all extension agents. Discrepancy ratings were determined by subtracting mean ratings of self-perceived competency levels possessed from mean ratings of self-perceived competency levels needed. For descriptions of data, appropriate statistical procedures such as frequencies, percents, means and standard deviations, were used. Cronbach's alpha ranged from a low of 0.76 (implementing) to a high of 0.93 (evaluating). All of the competencies in the study were perceived by the extension agents to be important for performance of their duties.

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