Journal of Extension Systems

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2002, Volume 18(1), June

O. S. Verma, Editorial

  1. Organizational Development Principles Impact Future Directions of an Extension System, Ronald W. Shearon and John G. Richardson.

  2. Factors Related to Successful Farming Across Different Topography in Trinidad and Implications for Extension, Wayne G. Ganpat and Isaac Bekele.

  3. Organic Farming for a sustainable Future: Information Needs for Farmer, Aysen Olgun.

  4. Role of Communication in Arresting Environmental Degradation caused by Fuelwood Consumption in Africa, Robert Agunga and Anuradha Ghosh.

  5. Developing Organic Farming in Portugal Challenges to Training and Extension, Artur Cristovao, Timothy Koehnen, Antonio Strecht Ribeiro, and Dulce Vilas Boas.

  6. Linkages between Training Formats, Perceived Communication Competencies, and Performance of Human Resource Management Activities by County Chairs, James R. Lindner.

  7. Stakeholder-Groups Willingness to Counterpart-Fund Agricultural Extension Service in Osun State, Nigeria, S. O. Apantaku, E. O. Fakoya, and C. I. Sodiya.

  8. Communication Links In Research-Extension-Farmers Interface In South Western Nigeria, O. I. Oladele.

  9. Assessment of Cowpea Production Technology in South West Nigeria, L. O. Ogunsumi, A. A. Ladele, and E. O. Agustus.

  10. Bridging Farmers Knowledge and Practice of Modern Farming Technologies: A Case Study of Women Cassava Farmers in Nigeria, E. A. Onemolease and A. S. Aghanenu.

  11. Shifting Paradigm in Gender Sensitization Organic Ways of Women’s Development Gender Equality, O. S. Verma.

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Poverty and Progress

There are some 1.3 billion people around the Globe who live on less than one US dollar a day.  As a result, more than 800 million people do not get enough food to eat and over a billion lack access to safe water.  These figures are considered signs of abject poverty.  The basic premise, however, is that per capita income is not necessarily indicative of poverty.  It is the quality of life of the people that matters.  Therefore, sustained human development is the right measure to assess the success and failure in Alleviating Poverty and improving people’s lives.  It is so because two-thirds of the wealth of all Nations lies in their human resources.  Japan, for instance, has over 85 per cent of its total wealth tied to its human and social capital.  Many East-Asian Countries have a lower per capita income than a number of Latin American Countries but they have done better in human development.  India is poor on both the fronts.  The reasons for this appalling state of affairs are skewed priorities, poor distribution of income, decreasing State intervention in the social sector and low investment in basic amenities and services.

The United Nations Human Development Report (HDR)-1997 indicates that India is at the bottom of Human Development Index with a dismal ranking of 138, just one step ahead of Pakistan but far below Sri Lanka (91), Chine (108), Maldives (111), Mayanmar (131) in South-Asian region.  This shows that some regions are marching ahead; others are lagging behind with low life expectancy, increasing malnutrition, widening income disparities, and a worsening gender gap.

Extreme poverty can be eradicated in two decades time of 21st Century provided Six-Point Global Action-Plan on sustained human development is seriously implemented: (1) Empowerment, (2) Gender Equality, (3) Pro-Poor Growth, (4) Management of Globalization, (5) Supportive Political Partnerships in creating and sharing knowledge for development, and (6) Special International Support for special situations.  In these directions, we need to raise our “Sights” and not “Downsize Our Vision”.  Many countries like China, Chile, Malaysia, Mauritius, and Republic of Korea are now working on this track.

In addition to human development, Economic Growth when targeted at 5 per cent per annum does contribute significantly to poverty reduction.  The remedies to attain sustained economic growth at 5 percent are many: (1) Changing Inequalities in land, credit, housing, social services, education, and employment, (2) raising Productivity of small scale Agriculture, (3) Promoting micro-enterprises in informal sector of economy like credit, savings, and improved infrastructure, (4) Labour incentive activities, (5) Crash Program of International Aid for Poor Nations, (6) Managing Globalization especially in Agriculture, and (7) Increase in Purchase Power.

In developing countries, Landlessness is taken to be a sign of absolute poverty.  This, in fact, is not true.  It is simply a myth.  There is no correlation between landlessness and poverty.  Have a look at the following table.

Landlessness and Poverty

 Indian States

 Rural Landless
Per Cent

 Poverty Ratio
Per Cent

1.

Punjab

27.5

12.70

2.

Gujarat

27.3

32.33

3.

Maharashtra

27.0

40.10

4.

Tamil Nadu

20.3

45.13

5.

Andhra Pradesh

15.3

27.20

6.

West Bangal

13.4

43.99

7.

Madhya Pradesh

13.1

43.40

8.

Karnataka

12.6

38.14

9.

Bihar

12.0

53.47

10.

Uttar Pradesh

11.5

41.99

11.

Rajasthan

9.7

34.60

12.

Tripura

9.1

36.84

13.

Himachal Pradesh

8.8

15.46

14.

Haryana

7.5

16.63

15.

Sikkim

6.9

34.68

16.

Goa

6.8

23.42

17.

Kerala

5.3

32.08

18.

Orissa

5.1

55.61

19.

Mizoram

4.1

32.52

20.

Meghalaya

3.7

34.60

21.

Kashmir

3.4

23.30

22.

Assam

2.5

36.84

23.

Manipur

0.6

32.93

 

ALL INDIA

14.2

39.20

 It is evident from the data presented in the table that the proportion of landlessness is only 14.3 per cent while the proportion of poor is 39.2 percent.  It apparently means that most poor households are landed ones.  But it also means that many landless are above the poverty line (one dollar a day per person) especially in prosperous states.  This is especially evident in Punjab where landlessness is the highest at 27.5 per cent but poverty is lowest at 12.70 per cent.  One the other hand, the poorest states like Orissa where 55.61 per cent are poor but landlessness is very little at 5.1 per cent.  Similarly, Manipur has virtually no landlessness (0.6 per cent) yet its poverty ratio is two and half times as high as Punjab’s.  Some poor states have high landlessness and some low.  There is simply no correlation between the two.

In India, landlessness has increased from 6.2 per cent in 1983 to 14.3 per cent in 1987-88.  Did this strident increase in landlessness lead to greater poverty.  Not at all.  In fact, poverty in this period fell down from 35.0 per cent to 25.5 per ent according to Planning Commission of India.  It obviously means that poverty alleviation cannot be achieved by land ceilings and redistribution of land.

Why did the landless fare so well.  This is mainly because of Green Revolution after mid-1970.  The Green Revolution led to higher food production, lower food prices, and increased demand for labour driving up wages.  Rural prosperity also sparked non-farm activities like construction, transport, repairs, and retailing.  This was a clear trend of poverty alleviation.  Therefore, moving an increasing part of the workforce out of agriculture into more productive activities paid higher dividends.  We need to focus on accelerating this trend.

But, at the same time, we need to increase agricultural productivity by way of high-tech agriculture and adoption of high-value enterprises like fruits, vegetables, and animal husbandry.  This can be achieved by Contract Farming.  The impact of such farming will not be in direct farm employment but in increasing the demand for non-farm labour.  The key to poverty alleviation thus lies in increasing the farm productivity and not in redistribution of the little surplus land.  This is how Poverty decreases and Progress increases.

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Organizational Development Principles Impact Future Directions of an Extension System, Ronald W. Shearon and John G. Richardson, 1-11.

In an era of increasing accountability requirements and stakeholders involvement in extension, administrators are turning to internal and external organization development (OD) consultants to help initiate processes for making needed improvements in the systems they administer. A six step participatory action research process OD intervention was initiated to guide organizational change. A case study illustrates the successful use of the OD model in making major changes in one extension organization. Use of OD intervention principles has broad ranging implications for other extension systems as well. 

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Factors Related to Successful Farming Across Different Topography in Trinidad and Implications for Extension, Wayne G. Ganpat and Isaac Bekele, 12-25.

Farming in the Caribbean region is characterized by a multitude of small farm holdings on marginal lands producing food for home use and sale. While some of these farms are on flat lands, it is estimated that in Trinidad some 50% are situated on steep and undulating terrain. Extension programs for improvement in these systems can benefit from and understanding of the factors that influence success, not only for the entire small farm system but also for the flat land and hilly land operations as separate subsystems. This study investigated factors associated with incomes using data obtained from a random sample of 180 commercial-oriented farmers. Regression analysis was done. Results indicated that commercial-oriented hill type farms can be as successful as flat land farms, and that the factors that influence success on flat and hilly terrain are quite dissimilar. For the entire farming systems, experience, aspirations, technical ability, tenure, labor and capital bases, and access to resources are all positively related to success. However, training is negatively related. On hilly lands, farmers’ experience, capital base, labor base, technical ability and access to resources were positively related to success. Age is negatively related. On flat lands, training, aspirations, land tenure, resource base, technical ability, access to resources and technology use are positively related with land use intensity and entrepreneurial ability negatively related to income. The unexpected relationships of training and age on farm’s success are discussed in some detail highlight the critical, necessary intervention and adjustments extension educators must make to improve these small farm systems.

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Organic Farming for a sustainable Future: Information Needs for Farmer, Aysen Olgun, 26-37.

The main global problem in the mid 20th century was the increase in population and supplying food, clothing, and fuel for them. In 1965, the world population was estimated to be doubling every 36 years. Thus, intensive agriculture, using modern seeds, more fertilizers, chemicals, and irrigation to increase yield was introduced. Everyday, more and more agricultural lands are added, even marginal lands. As the main focus being to increase production, product quality was neglected. As a result,

bulletBiological diversity is lost,
bulletSoil productivity is diminished,
bulletWater resources are overused and polluted
bulletClimate change has occurred

And environmental problems overtook the first place in global content.

In response, an environmentally friendly system called ecological or organic farming which prohibits usage of fertilizers, chemicals, and growth stimulating substances which serve the goals of sustainable development has been introduced.

Organic farming practices date back to 1920s in USA, 1960s in European countries. In Turkey, it started in 1984. Today, there is an increasing demand for organic food in the world. Thus, trade of organic food and organic farming has an increasing importance.

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Role of Communication in Arresting Environmental Degradation caused by Fuelwood Consumption in Africa, Robert Agunga and Anuradha Ghosh, 38-48.

The main problems facing African development are widespread deforestation and desertification caused by fuelwood consumption. Rural women constitute the primary cause. Subsistence housewives can neither afford modern methods of cooking nor are they aware of the harm fuelwood harvesting does to the environment. A new approach to promoting clean development in the Sahel, agroforestry without fossil fuels, is giving village communities control over their natural woodlands in return for a commitment to manage them sustainably. This paper endorses this new approach to sustainable fuelwood production and offers communication as a key to community mobilization for sustainable woodlands management.

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Developing Organic Farming in Portugal Challenges to Training and Extension, Artur Cristovao, Timothy Koehnen, Antonio Strecht Ribeiro, and Dulce Vilas Boas, 49-62.

This paper provides an overview of the evolution of organic farming in Portugal. It shows that this special farming sector is still very small, representing a limited number of operators and farmed land. It shows, as well, that major progress has occurred in recent years, especially since the mid 90’s and that there are favorable conditions to promote the use of organic production methods. However, the involvement and commitment of public authorities is still very incipient, far from the desirable. Most public institutions, namely those within the Ministry of Agriculture, lack specialized staff, and efforts in such fields as research, education, training and extension. In the Regional Agricultural Services, there are no extension agents dealing with organic farming, neither are consistent efforts made to implement experimentation or demonstration projects. The growing number of vocational schools and higher education institutions involved in organic farming should be underlined. There are new courses being created or planned at undergraduate or graduate level. There is a growing number of researchers and projects, in line with a need to increase the consistency and quality of the programmes, and to build strong networks of concerned people. In the private sector, AGROBIO, has been, the key actor since 1985. It has worked with farmers, consumers, researchers, technicians and political decision makers. It has collaborated intensively with other Associations. Step by step, farmers, consumers, development agents and other actors have been building a framework to sustain the development of organic farming in Portugal. But the road ahead is still quite long, as many initiatives are new and there is lack of qualified people.

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Linkages between Training Formats, Perceived Communication Competencies, and Performance of Human Resource Management Activities by County Chairs, James R. Lindner, 63-72.

This study identifies formats used by Ohio State University Extension county chairs that are related to higher perceived communication competency and performance of human resource management activities. A census of county chairs was conducted. Data for the study were collected by mailed questionnaire. Findings indicated that the training formats workshops or seminars, and self-directed learning were used most. Training formats formal course work and self-directed learning were related to higher communication competency and human resource management activity scores. Recommendations include support for self-directed learning and increased development of formal course work.

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Stakeholder-Groups Willingness to Counterpart-Fund Agricultural Extension Service in Osun State, Nigeria, S. O. Apantaku, E. O. Fakoya, and C. I. Sodiya, 73-88.

Based on the concepts on social action, community development and group dynamics, review of related literature, findings of study conducted by Apantaku et al (2000) and the need to source for local people’s fund to service extension due to World Bank’s cessation of counterpart-funding of extension in Nigeria, the study sought to determine the willingness of farmers groups and organizations, community-based associations, non-governmental organizations and religious organizations to counterpart-fund extension, determine the average amount they will be willing to donate, investigate the relationship between their sizes and levels of income, and willingness to counterpart fund extension in Osun State. Using a combination of purposive and random sampling; questionnaire, focus group interview and structured interview schedule; and Pearson Product Moment Correlation, the study found that FOs, CBAs, NGOs and ROs are all willing to contribute substantially to counterpart-fund extension. No significant relationship existed between size of the organizations and their willingness. However, significant relationship existed between the level of income and willingness of the groups to fund extension. Recommendations made included that setting up of a committee or unit within Osun-State ADP to generate funds locally to sustain extension. Regular training for the organizations on effectiveness, efficiency, capacity building and membership drive were also recommended.

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Communication Links In Research-Extension-Farmers Interface In South Western Nigeria, O. I. Oladele, 89-100.

This paper examined the communication methods used in research-extension-farmers interface in southwestern Nigeria. A cross-sectional survey was used to elicit data from randomly selected 10 per cent of each populations for researchers and extension agents. The results of the study show that extension agents communicate with farmers frequently using the personal contact (83.4 per cent) while communication devices used by researcher to reach farmers were only high for demonstrations (75 per cent) and radio (65 per cent). Majority of the extension agents (80.8 per cent) indicated personal contact and belonging to the same project team (52 percent) as the most frequently used communication links with researchers. Also, significant relationships were recorded between communication methods used by researchers and extension agents. (F=9.48, p<0.05 and F=23.37, p<0.05 respectively). However, the t-test analysis showed that no significant difference exists between researchers and extension agents on the methods of communication they use in reaching the farmers. The paper concludes that many communication methods should be explored and other ones introduced in order to make the interface effective.

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Assessment of Cowpea Production Technology in South West Nigeria, L. O. Ogunsumi, A. A. Ladele, and E. O. Agustus, 101-115.

The study assesses cowpea production technology in southwest Nigeria with data from a sample of 129 respondents, randomly selected from three states. Cowpea is a staple food that can boost human protein intake. Primary data were collected with the use of validated questionnaires. Secondary data were also collected from Agricultural Development Programmes (ADP) and Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR & T) to supplement the data required for the study. About 75 per cent of the respondents claimed to have sourced the improved seeds from ADP while 60 per cent got chemicals from open markets. The cowpea production package was assessed by about 73 percent of respondents as effective while about 17 per cent described it as only fairly effective. About 10 per cent saw it as not effective. Most of the respondents used manual labour to control weeds possibly due to high cost and adulteration in the content of the herbicides. In as much as farmers intend to increase production, unavailability of inputs coupled with unaffordable costs of most of the input components were among the major constraints in the study area. The findings give credence to farming systems research.

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Bridging Farmers Knowledge and Practice of Modern Farming Technologies: A Case Study of Women Cassava Farmers in Nigeria, E. A. Onemolease and A. S. Aghanenu, 116-125.

Bridging farmers’ knowledge and practice requires a prior assessment of these two issues. This study, therefore, examined women farmers’ knowledge and practice of modern farming technologies associated with cassava production in Edo State, Nigeria. Data were collected from 120 systematically sampled respondents from two local government areas in the state. Statistical analysis of the data shows that a significant difference or gap exists in farmers knowledge and practice of modern farming technologies especially in farm chemicals and recommended agronomic practices. Lack of insufficient funds, non-availability and poor understanding of technology use as well as its relevance were found to be responsible for this difference. Government’s timely provision of farm chemicals, farmers organizing themselves into associations to pool their capital as well as an agricultural extension service focused on developing farmers knowledge and skills were recommended.

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Shifting Paradigm in Gender Sensitization Organic Ways of Women’s Development Gender Equality, O. S. Verma, 126-131.

Gender Sensitization is concerned with a varied voice. Key ones are right to information, right to work and employment, right to education, basic right to produce children, equal status in society, and avail of benefits from schemes, services, and technologies in the areas of health and agriculture. Sensitization of government functionaries especially the local administration and extension workers in these areas is a point of discussion in shifting paradigm. Various tools are used to sharpen the Gender Sensitivity. The Gender Sensitivity Index used in UNDP is one. On this Index, Sri Lanka is on the top and India is 5th. No Nation wants to be at the bottom of this Index. In Punjab and Haryana States of India where per capita income is highest, gender sensitivity is lowest as reflected in female to male ratio. In tribal societies, even being poor by all standards, there is little anti-female bias with equal survival rates among boys and girls. Discriminatory behavior patterns have much to do with cultural beliefs, social norms, superstitions, and mind-sets. Gender Gap, therefore, is still a chasm in developing countries. In this paper, these attributes and phenomena are analysed with a view to find out how are these sensitized towards women development.

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