Agricultural extension refers to the application of scientific research and new knowledge to agricultural practices through farmer education. The field of 'extension' now encompasses a wide range of communication and learning activities organized for rural people by educators from different disciplines, including agriculture, agricultural marketing, health, and business studies among others. Extension practitioners are found throughout the world, usually working for government agencies and non-governmental organizations. They are represented by several professional organizations, networks and extension journals.
Agricultural extension services provide critical knowledge in the form of techniques and skills to farmers, with the aim to improve the productivity and sustainability of their operations. Over the decades/ generations, improvements in extension services have been noted. These have resulted in extension services that are often now considered as best practice and promote: existing, location-specific knowledge and experience that farmers have.
WHO SHOULD ATTEND?
This course is intended for audiences working in governments, funding agencies, and research and development facilitating non-government and Civil society organizations. It is also suitable for business owners and representatives from organizations that support extension services and/or seek to enable an environment in which businesses can flourish
Upon completion of the course, participants will be able to:
- Understand the historical Context and evolution of Extension and Advisory Systems
- Gain insights in Extension approaches, models and methods, knowledge in Extension Systems and respective tools and approaches for participatory research and development in order to apply in their own settings
- Be able to organize demonstrations/ farmer field days especially where the private sector will also partially invest in the demonstration. For example, demonstrating the quality of their improved seeds, fertilizer regimes or feed products etc. Elements of on-farm, collaborative research (experimentation)
- Acquire tactics and be able to provide trainings at times convenient to special groups like women and where the content is relevant and of interest to them.
- Have influence over the local government extension funds e.g. issuing extension-vouchers and farmers contribute a small amount to this (a simple lunch from local produce) and be able to inspire farmers to contribute to the processes too so that they too can have a say over the quality of service.
- Get knowledge on the use of posters, radio, ICT (market information to mobile phone etc.), TV etc. as some of the appropriate outreach with lead-farmer-outreach networks that cost less and have greater-local impact
- Be able to encourage interaction and sharing information within groups / associations that is known to be of value, including the private sector.
- Engage with the private sector often understand market demands best and may be willing to financially contribute, and sometimes are doing extension already.
TOPICS TO BE COVERED
- Key concepts in Agricultural Extension
- Extension terminology
- Historical Context for the Evolution of Extension and Advisory Systems
- Primary Agricultural Development Goals
- Primary Objectives of Agricultural Extension and Advisory Services
- Clientele to be served by a pluralistic Agricultural Extension and Advisory System
- Extension approaches, models and methods
- Demand-driven or Farmer-led Extension
- Market-driven Extension
- Financial Constraints limiting the Effectiveness of Public
- Extension Systems
- Challenges and opportunities
- Group formation and management for participatory research and extension
- Tools and approaches for participatory research and development
- Progress and process monitoring, evaluation and impact assessment
- Introduction GIS and RS in Agriculture extension
- ICT for Development/ ODK in Agriculture extension
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