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Global Review of Good Agricultural Extension and Advisory Service Practices

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Focus Topic:
Capacity Development
Type of Risk:
Managerial & operational
Type of Risk Managment Option:
Risk coping
Burton E. Swanson
e Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

The purpose of this publication was to identify “good practices” within different agricultural extension and advisory service institutions that have implemented the use of new agricultural innovations in improving rural livelihoods and in educating farmers to use sustainable natural resource management practices in different countries.

The publication reviews the major objectives of extension systems in the agricultural development process. The four major types of objectives include: 1) technology transfer, especially for the staple food crops; 2) human capital development, especially the technical and management skills and knowledge that poorly educated farm-households need to increase farm income; 3) building social capital; and 4) educating farmers to manage natural resources sustainably. These major extension objectives are assessed under different models to draw conclusions as to the manner in which extension systems can be more effectively organized.

It analyses the factors affecting the development of more pluralistic extension systems and the roles of public, private and civil society organizations in the provision of extension services to rural farm households. Experiences of China and India are described to evidence that public extension and advisory systems can be successfully transformed. There are important roles to be played by public agricultural extension systems, private sector ?rms, NGOs and farms organizations in transferring agricultural technologies, improving rural livelihoods and in the wise management of the natural resources of a country.

It is hoped that the information in this publication will help to clarify these different roles, with respect to how extension and advisory services should be organized and how these institutions, organizations and ?rms can work more closely in support of sustainable agricultural development within each country