Journal of Extension Systems

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1998, Volume 14(1), June

William M. Rivera,  Editorial

  1. Birmingham, D. M. Developing Human Resources For Agricultural Extension Services: Experience of World Bank in Sub-Saharan Africa.

  2. Kazan, A. L. & Earnest, G. W. Leadership and Extension in Brazil: Opportunities for Development.

  3. Shamebo, D. Information and Knowledge Communication Between Farmer and Extensionist in South-Eastern Ethiopia.

  4. Olowu, T. A. & Yahaya, M. K. Determination of Agricultural Information, Needs of Women Farmers: A case study of North-Central Nigeria.

  5. van den Ban, A. W. Supporting Farmers Decision Making Process by Agricultural Extension.

  6. Guerin, T. F. Transfer of Pesticide Management and Information Technology to China: A case study Between Australia and Anhui Province.

  7. Jayaramaiah, K. M. An approach to Reach the Unreached Farmers in India.

 

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COMMENTARY

Who will eat in the next generation? Who will go hungry? These questions highlight today’s disastrous misuse of farmland and natural resources worldwide, and tomorrow’s limited access, by mainly rich countries, to food on the world market. Trying to get the most from their agriculture today, countries are destroying their potential to produce food in the future. Impressive short-term results promise extremely bleak long-term outcomes. Why is this happening? Part of the reason is politics, part is due to multi-lateral and bilateral funding bureaucracies and the ambitious and often arrogant individuals who determine the execution of their policies. As societies develop, the relationship between farmer and trader, and between producer and consumer, becomes more formalized, more institutionalized. Often, unfortunately, the relationship between farmers and the rest of society, or their rulers, becomes unequal as non-agriculturalists start to interfere unduly with the primary production process.

Non-agriculturalists who wield authority from the monied thrones of multi-lateral and bilateral agencies have and continue to dictate development of what they perceive primarily from political and/or macro economic perspectives. They also make authoritarian decisions based on their own ambitions, not on the needs of farmers and the societies that depend on farmers and farming communities.

The task then is to support and contribute to those positive forces currently aligning in the world that want to see changes of a different kind, not integrated by ambitious non-agriculturalists, but by people involved and engaged in making agriculture profitable, small farms sustainable, food safe and the environment clean. What’s actually happening at the farm level, what are the consequences of local agricultural practices, what disasters have resulted from poor understanding of agriculture and plans based purely on politics and agricultural ignorance, how have prevailing policies helped to destroy “the South”, what are the differences between bureaucratization and common sense, and finally, will the world choose a future dictated by the Green Revolution and the “silent Spring” it portends, or truly embrace the demands of human sustainability? These are imperative questions.

There is an effort currently among agricultural professionals to develop a new development paradigm. These efforts envisage agriculture as more than an engine of economic growth. While agriculture has resulted in increased production of goods and services, it has also been accompanied by an unprecedented destruction of the most fundamental, scarce good at human disposal, namely the environment. In the current development system, environmental losses are not written off as costs, but are counted as expenditures and their recuperation, or compensation, is written up as final consumption. In other words, the problem is actually counted by economists as contributing to economic growth.

Agriculture is in principle a contributor to the welfare of people and the preservation of the environment, to production of food and other commodities really needed. In line with this view, the paradigm we need today is a socio-ecological paradigm encompassing the complex phenomena that include social, economic and political factors in addition to the multitude of bio-physical factors. To realize this paradigm, several things must be done: (1) clean up the bureaucratic monster, (2) bring producer and consumer closer, (3) organize farmers and advance new ideas, (4) promote models and criteria for sustainable farming, (5) promote sustainable development (environmentally friendly production and foods security) in the South, and (6) merge developmental, agricultural and environmental policies.

Current policies are inexorably leading to continued misuse of farmland and natural resources worldwide and inevitable to tomorrow’s limited access, by mainly rich countries, to food on the world market. While richer nations may, or may not, be able to survive the disastrous path of unsustainability, others will certainly suffer as a consequence, if not from food scarcity then increased food prices. This is today’s dragon, and it will take a multitude of committed and courageous St. Georges to subdue the pervasive, powerful forces toward earthly barrenness.

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Birmingham, D. M. Developing Human Resources For Agricultural Extension Services: Experience of World Bank in Sub-Saharan Africa, 3-16.

This paper discusses issues arising from the experience of the World Bank in providing support to the training of extension staff in sub-Saharan Africa. Key issues raised by Bank staff were distilled to those most crucial to realizing long-term positive returns to training investments. Systems of agricultural education in SSA are seriously weak. Unless agricultural education institutions improve their preparation of agricultural personnel, extension services will need to continually devote scarce resources to remedial training. Training should be used as a strategically placed investment guided by effective and rational human resource management policies that use project funds to strengthen institutional capacities rather than cater to individual interests. Training investments should be leveraged through incentives and career development programs to motivate staff to use their training to help achieve defined institutional goals and desired impacts. Unless these issues are addressed, returns to training investments are haphazard and lie largely at the individual level.

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Kazan, A. L. & Earnest, G. W. Leadership and Extension in Brazil: Opportunities for Development, 17-29.

This article reports on the observations and experiences of interns involved in the U.S. National Extension Leadership Development program (NELD), a two-year training program designed to enhance leadership in an Extension system. Participants spent two weeks in Brazil exploring and analyzing history and leadership of Brazil’s Extension system and comparing it to U.S. Extension. The first section of the article addresses the rationale for the NELD experience in Brazil. Secondly, to facilitate the readers’ understanding of the way in which agricultural and economic development has influenced leadership in Brazil a brief overview of Brazilian agricultural and economic development history as well as the unique characteristics of Extension in Brazil is provided. The example of the independent Sao Paulo State Extension system is given because of its significance in the national economic and leadership development scenario. Next, similarities and differences between the history, agricultural development, Extension goals, and leadership development in the U.S. and Brazil are highlighted. Finally, the paper questions whether the U.S. Extension System is a valid model for adoption in Brazil, and proposes some applications of the NELD experience to Brazil and to other U.S. educational initiatives.

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Shamebo, D. Information and Knowledge Communication Between Farmer and Extensionist in South-Eastern Ethiopia, 30-38.

Most farmers at Gonde area of Arsi region in South-eastern Ethiopia have benefited from the modern and improved technologies for more than 25 years. In 1993, a grass weed herbicide as a new technology was demonstrated on wheat to farmers besides other technologies in Arsi as grass weeds caused a lot of economic and social problems. Most of the farmers applauded for a technology. However, a peasant at Gonde area objected to the technology unlike all the other peasants around where the demonstration was carried out. This unusual objection initiated the extensionist to dig out the fact with careful communication skill and patience in a repeated trip to his field and conversation with him. In the final analysis the farmer revealed his idea to the extensionist and his fellow farmers that no external inputs but indigenous cultural practices should be given priority for the better production of small cereals in the region. On the other hand, the extensionist and other farmers had assessed the idea again thoroughly. Finally both the groups came to the agreement that low external inputs and indigenous cultural practices are indispensable for the better and sustainable production of small cereals. Through careful communication skill and follow up of a local people’s response a wealth of valuable information and feedback can be obtained for the progressive research and extension. Therefore, research and extension activities should endeavor more on the cultural practices but less on the external inputs to sustainably control the devastating grass weeds on the cereals for successful production of wheat in Arsi. Research and extension in LEISA should be strengthened in Ethiopia in general, too.

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Olowu, T. A. & Yahaya, M. K. Determination of Agricultural Information, Needs of Women Farmers: A case study of North-Central Nigeria, 39-54.

Information plays a paramount role in agricultural development of most nations. However, in Nigeria the problem of inadequate agricultural information undermines the potentials of women farmers in both rural and urban centers. This study, therefore, attempted to determine the information needs of women farmers in North-Central Nigeria comprising Kaduna and Katsina States. A total of 376 women farmers were randomly sampled for the study. Findings from the study show that women generally are highly involved in various agricultural activities. In general, the major sources of agricultural information are extension agents (92.6%), radio (72.1%), ADPs (58.8%) and women groups (51.1%). On specific information needs, the most critically needed technical information for women farmers is related to diseased/pests control (65.1%), cropping system (59.6%) and crop storage (59.30%). Also, current and future market prices are the major marketing information needs while social and legal information needs are moderately needed. The study further reveals that there is no significant difference in agricultural information needs of rural and urban women farmers. However, agricultural information needs of women farmers is positively and significantly related to tasks performed (r = 479; p <.001). It is, therefore, recommended that extension packages for women farmers should focus on technical information. Also, information scientists should brace up to the challenges of the current technological age in information management.

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van den Ban, A. W. Supporting Farmers Decision Making Process by Agricultural Extension, 55-67.

(No Abstract Available)

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Guerin, T. F. Transfer of Pesticide Management and Information Technology to China: A case study Between Australia and Anhui Province, 68-86.

This paper reports on a case study that involved the transfer of (Í) methods for the analysis and (ÍÍ) information on the fate and proper use of the agricultural chemical, endosulfan, from Australia to Anhui Province, China. The transfer methodology employed the use of the traditional model of diffusion of innovations, in combination with the train-and-visit approach. A key outcome from the case study was that there was relatively little awareness of the potential environmental impacts from the use of endosulfan, and that there is a need for the transfer of environmental management technologies to the rural sector in Anhui Province, China. Key cross-cultural constraints in the interaction were identified and areas which will require further effort in technology transfer are discussed.

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Jayaramaiah, K. M. An approach to Reach the Unreached Farmers in India, 87-97.

(No Abstract Available)

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