Journal of Extension Systems

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2000, Volume 16(2), December

O. S. Verma, Editorial

  1. H. C. C. Meertens and N.G. Roling. Non-Adoption of Rice Fertilizer Technology Based on a Farming Systems Research-Extension Methodology in Sukumaland, Tanzania: A Search for Reasons.

  2. Niraj Kumar. A Tryst with PRA.

  3. William M. Rivera. Confronting Global Market: Public Sector Agricultural Extension Reconsidered.

  4. Poonam Kundu, S. Kashyap and Seema. Extension Education System of Agricultural Universities in India And USA.

  5. Wayne Ganpat, Joseph Seepersad and Isaac Bekele. Profiling Farm Systems As A Prerequisite To Improved Technology Use.

  6. Gwenna Moss, Sara Williams and Bruce Hobin. Participation in the Master Gardener Programme in Saskatchewan, Canada: Motivation, Satisfaction and Barriers.

  7. Robert Agunga and Labh Singh. A Communication strategy for Improving Small-scale Farmer Productivity in India.

  8. Ezatollah Karami and Hamid Reza Ebrahimi. Overfertilization with Phosphorus in Iran: A Sustainability Problem.

 

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The Global Grain Rice,
The World's Number One Food Crop

Rice is the world’s number one food crop heavily cultivated in 89 nations providing 350 calories per 100 grams in whole rice in the daily diet of 25 billion Asians. The global grain is incredibly adaptable and can be grown in deserts, hills, slash, burn forests, and in 8 ft floodwaters. The rice plant, Oryza Sativa, is believed to have originated in Southern India and then spread northwards into China where 4000 years old rice grains have been unearthed. Though there are two main types of rice grain, about 20 different processes of the rice can be put through after harvesting.

Besides being the staple diet in Asia and the base for alcoholic beverages, rice is also known to have certain medicinal properties. To subside swelling, a paste of rice powder and turmeric is applied on the affected area. In olden days, it was also used to determine if a person was suffering from Jaundice. Rice starch water is very light and soothing for internal physiology and hence used as a major therapeutic diet. The same water is also used to starch cotton clothes. It is even fed to cattle along with husk.

Rice is considered to be a symbol of fertility. Newly-weds are often showered with rice grains the world over. In India, it is equally the symbol of prosperity and if often invoked as Goddess Lakshmi herself. In Indonesia, rice is thought to have a soul similar to that of man and it is common to find rice in terms of kinship like mother and grandfather etc. In China, if an old friend calls you “how do you do”, the literal meaning of what he said is “have you eaten your rice”. The Chinese consider rice a blessing and the grains left in their bowl are considered an ill omen especially for women. In Japan, it is rice, which is considered to be the most sacred thing on earth. In Gautama’s classification of mankind, Budha takes the first place and rice the second.

In India, there are some 2500 varieties of rice. Each variety has a different flavor, shape, and texture. The world famous variety of Basmati known as Dehradun Basmati is long fine aromatic grain treasured for Biryanis and Pulaos.

Rice grain is very nutritive. The external layers contain vitamins B1 and B2 and minerals and thus whole rice is nutritively superior to white rice. Rice bran contains protein, Vitamin B-Complex, and Vitamin E and K. White rice where the bran has been removed loses much of its nutrients. Rice is the only cereal, which is not taken in flour or bread form but as a grain. Harvested in tropical, equatorial, and temperate zones, the major consumers worldwide are from China, India, Thailand, entire South-East Asian belt, Indonesia, Japan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, followed by Latin America and Africa. In this editorial, material drawn from the write up of Mridula Sharma Sand Sudhamahi Rgunathan published in Hindustan Times dated October 8, 1994 is duly acknowledged.

Today, the stress in Agriculture lays on a paradigm shift from input driven technology to knowledge-based methods, development and promotion of technology, and diversified systems of Agriculture with a view to meet the growing demands for food in developing countries. The progressive growth in rice production holds the key to sustained food security in the region.

In a three-day “India-IRRI Dialogue-1996”, it is recommended that sustainability issues relating to rice and rice-based cropping systems need to be patented. For achieving the potential in rice production, water & crop management, mechanization & judicious use of fertilizers, post-harvest management, involvement of private sector in communication of information, knowledge-based decision systems, partnership & collaboration in rice research, intellectual property rights, and permanent pricing policy are some of the high-tech areas for agricultural scientists to work on.

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Non-Adoption of Rice Fertilizer Technology Based on a Farming Systems Research-Extension Methodology in Sukumaland, Tanzania: A Search for Reasons, H. C. C. Meertens and N. G. Roling, 1-22.

A rice-urea technology, involving the application of a low dose of nitrogen (30 kg N ha-1) to rice plants at tillering, was developed between 1990 and 1996 according to FSRE methodology in a Sukumaland, northwestern Tanzania. Farmers did not adopt this technology. Analysis showed that the main factors behind this were urea availability problems in the villages and a decreasing profitability of the rice-urea technology due to IMF/World Bank instigated reform measures. Non-adoption was also due to low farmer participation during priority setting of on-farm activities; poor involvement of extension service; confusing research messages related to rice soil fertility management, and high degree of uncertainty in Sukumaland farming. The FSRE methodology needs strong and institutionalized links with the extension service, commodity research and policy makers for effective adoption of agricultural technologies. A better coordination of activities between donors and governments is an essential precondition to make such links work.

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A Tryst with PRA, Niraj Kumar, 23-32.

This paper is an outcome of a field experience of using PRA (Participatory Rural Appraisal) as a research tool in extension. Participatory methods like resource mapping, trend analysis, transect walk, and preference matrix were used for information collection. These were found effective even when researchers did not have knowledge of local language and they worked through an interpreter. Villagers had their own understanding of geography, water harvesting, mixed farming, and economics, which had a scientific basis. The paper also explains problems in using PRA, its major strength, and the lessons learned during the fieldwork.

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Confronting Global Market: Public Sector Agricultural Extension Reconsidered, William M. Rivera, 33-54.

At a time in history when many nations have opted to reform their agricultural extension services, through fiscal redesign, decentralization and even privatization, and have eliminated subsidies for small farmers and economically disadvantaged rural populations, I suggest that it is time to reconsider the role and purpose of public sector extension. I am convinced that developing countries would benefit from an increased flow of practical information to the mass of small farmers in rural areas. By helping to increase small farmer incomes and improving the sustainability of the environments they inhabit, nations will profit socially as well as in economic terms.

In the first part of this paper, I review the global developments that began to take force in the 1980s affecting nations worldwide. Among these developments, I include structural adjustment, which tends to get lost in such universal challenges as overpopulation, urbanization, demands of world trade, environmental sustainability. This era of the 1980s, I refer to as “end of the beginning” of centralized public sector agricultural extension.

In the second part of the paper, I briefly outline the major determinations taken by governments to reform their agricultural extension systems. During this era, both unitary and federally constituted governments shifted away from responsibility for the development of extension systems. This era constituted a time of “reinventing” public sector agricultural extension.

In the third part, I examine in capsule form the problems and the promise of extension. This era, I suggest, is a time for re-examining the complex of extension and technology transfer services. How best can extension/technology-transfer complex be developed so as to satisfy both the social and economic needs of the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries and confront the pressures of globalization, fierce economic competition, and shrinking national budgets?

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Extension Education System of Agricultural Universities in India and USA: A SWOT Analysis, Poonam Kundu, S. Kashyap and Seema, 55-61.

(No Abstract Available)

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Profiling Farm Systems As A Prerequisite To Improved Technology Use, Wayne Ganpat, Joseph Deepersad and Isaac Bekele, 62-71.

Diversity among small farm systems is seldom given sufficient attention when programme plans and strategies are being developed. Less than effective use of technology offered may be due partially to this omission. This study, involving mainly comparative work, examined the diversity among 121 Vegetable-based farm systems in Trinidad with respect to the levels of technology used. Limited-resource, commercially oriented farm households selected by simple random sampling procedure were studied. Canonical Variates Analysis was used to examine group separation and assess the relative contribution of farm system variables. The results showed that farm systems could be differentiated based on technology-use levels. Factors related to the Human Capital of the operators (age, education, health, training), along with several Farm-related factors (land use intensity, spacing practiced, land tenure), as well as Resource-based factors (capital base, land size, managerial abilities) were the key variables that highlight the diversity among these farm systems.

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Participation in the Master Gardener Program in Saskatchewan, Canada: Motivation, Satisfaction and Barriers, Gwenna Moss, Sara Williams and Bruce Hobin, 72-83.

This article reports on a mail survey of Master Gardeners (volunteers who support horticulture extension programmes) in the province of Saskatchewan, Canada. It describes their motivation to participate, the barriers to participation, which they encountered, their satisfaction with the programme and the impact of distance and of place of residence (rural/urban) on motivation, satisfaction and barriers. Unlike many programmes where participants come from within a convenient geographic area, Saskatchewan’s programme is open to gardeners throughout the province. The large distances and sparse population pose challenges to participation. Cross’ (1981) framework was used in examining barriers, which were classified into three categories: situational, institutional, and dispositional. Master Gardeners, were motivated by multiple factors. Distance and place of residence did not affect motivation, but did affect barriers; distance also affected satisfaction. The majority of the barriers identified was institutional, in whole or in part, and thus have implications for practice. These are discussed in the article.

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A Communication Strategy for Improving Small-scale Farmer Productivity in India, Robert Agunga and Labh Singh, 84-99.

Small-scale farmers account for over 80 percent of the farming population in India and produce over half of the country’s food and agricultural products. Indian farmers produce three times less than their counterparts in other heavily populated Asian countries, such as Vietnam, Chine and Korea because they lag behind in the use of modern farming methods. This paper attributes the low productivity of small-scale farmers in India to the inability of Extension to link them with resource institutions. It is not enough for extension to tell farmers to use fertilizers. Extension must assist them to obtain the financial resources to purchase farm inputs. It means that extension must go beyond information dissemination to breaking bottlenecks inhibiting small-farmer utilization of that information. The authors urge the introduction of development communication to assist extension workers to mobilize, organize and generally prepare small farmers to engage in active interaction with resource institutions and to make possible small farmer adoption of innovations.

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Overfertilization with Phosphorus in Iran: A Sustainability Problem, Ezatollah Karami and Hamid Reza Ebrahimi, 100-120.

Data was collected from 206 wheat producers in Fars province, Iran to study the overfertilization with P behaviours at farm level. The theoretical perspectives used to guide the study included diffusion, farm-structure and multiplicity models. Overfertilization was operationalized as excess kg/ha of P fertilizers used. Regression analysis revealed the limited utility of these models for predicting overfertilization with P behaviours. Cluster analysis was used to investigate the heterogeneity of farmers with regard to overfertilization. The result revealed that there were different groups of farmers with regard to overfertilization behaviour. The research findings are discussed in the context of future sustainable agricultural development.

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