Published on February 20, 2014
AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION SYSTEMS COALITION Alternate models for agricultural and rural extensions in developing world Systems Coalition Approach to Agricultural Extension & optimize Knowledge & Technology diffusion Mainstreaming small holder farmer as an important stakeholder for bottom up agricultural advisory IKP Center for Advancement in Agricultural Prac6ce (ICAAP) Thanjavur, India
A growing consensus has recognized that agricultural extension systems must be pluralistic networks of institutions providing varied information and innovation services. Such extension systems must be demand-driven with closer linkages to clients, must become more efficient, and must develop more sustainable sources of financing. Increasingly, extension services should be market driven integrated services that are tailor made to meet the needs of the clients. Adapted from World Bank center for agriculture and rural development 2
Contemporary agricultural extension models in developing countries The current agriculture and rural extension models are dominated by public systems. It is estimated that approximately 95%1 of over 800,0002 official extension personnel globally. Developing countries account for approximately 2/3 of the extension staff worlwide3. However, despite decades of investments and experience with public extension programs, evidence of their impact upon agricultural knowledge, adoption and production system development are limited. Furthermore, the systems themselves have been criticized for high costs, problems of scale and low levels of accountability4 To elaborate further, the contemporary models are unprepared and stretched by ever increasing dynamics and Extension models today are complex situations the agricultural sector is facing today. implemented mostly The following illustration clearly elucidates the drawbacks of by the public and NGO current public system agricultural extension models in settings in developing developing countries. In addition the illustration also countries with increase in underlines the minimal participation by private entities in private standalone models agricultural knowledge system development unlike the fast catching up. developed countries Illustration 1.0: Agricultural knowledge system chain and limitations of extension models (Adapted from Swanson, Sands, & Peterson model • • • Technology development Technology assessment Technology testing Technology Generation • • • • • • Message development Training & backstopping Delivery strategy Technology distribution & sales Technology multiplication • • • Awareness information trial Farm level adaptation Technology adoption Technology Transfer Technology Utilization Output/ production Agricultural macro policy Feedback flow Limitations of current public extension systems Limitations of current public extension systems 1,3. FAO world agricultural report 2. The State of Agricultural Extension: An Overview and New Caveats for the Future, 2013 by Amanda Bensona & Tahseen Jafryb* 4. Jenny C. Aker (2011). Center for Global Development Working Paper 269, September. Forthcoming in Agricultural Economics. 3
To abstract the illustration 1.0, the public Private sector participation in extension sector extension has a legacy of working in Private sector models can be classified as isolation. Rigid hierarchy centralized modes private not for profit delivered by NGOs and of planning, tradition of assessing private for profit (delivered by commercial performance in terms of technology production and marketing firms (such as adoption, a history of rewarding only success input manufacturers and distributors). and thus a reluctance to report and analyze Countries like the US, Canada, Australia, reasons of failure; a history of working and Denmark, which have very advanced independently and a mistrust of other agricultural sectors, have always enjoyed agencies; and a tradition of up-ward strong private extension services which are accountability for resource utilization rather lacking in developing countries. However, to than output achievement and client mitigate the limitations of the public sector satisfaction are plaguing the knowledge extension systems, private and business dissemination in developing countries.1 entities started developing their own Further the public sector systems don’t extension models off late which have realize the importance of feedback flow resulted in cost escalations, whilst ROI of among the stakeholders. This often leads to such models is yet to be ascertained as development of innovations that are specified in illustration 2.0. irrelevant to the beneficiaries. Illustration 2.0: Private extension systems that are independent and reinventions of models Farm Inputs Seed Fertilizers Farm machinery Pesticides Processing Independent extension systems built by private sector Most of the systems are recreations with multiple investments in infrastructure, human resources The beneficiary is subjected to Information dump and conflicting messages Beneficiary 1. Citation from NABARD study on private role in agricultural systems 4
It is to be noted that varied agencies that are It is evident that the conventional public accountable for research (CGIAR consortium and private extension models fail to etc.) are getting in to creating own systems of address the challenges of beneficiary extension. In addition, developing world also coverage, system duplications, witnesses NGO operated extension models. productivity and sustainability in Irrespective of these diverse activities a huge agricultural knowledge dissemination hiatus is being experienced in knowledge ecosystem; this prompts for the dissemination and practical applicability. For stakeholders especially instance, it remains to be seen the extent of the private players to look for alternative penetration models and lessons exist in food medium farmers) of some of the best system models in the form of ‘system technologies developed by CGIAR consortium coalitions’ in developing countries. To support this and applicability (among small/ argument, a study conducted by the FAO the extent of services received by the medium and small scale commercial farmers do not receive devoted extension services in developing countries. The study also highlights that one out of every five economically active person in agriculture receives the extension services; surprisingly only about one fourth of the extension agent’s time is dedicated to education and training services in developing countries1. Hence it is clearly evident that irrespective of the spurt of activities by research agencies, public systems, private businesses contemporary models of extension systems the unmet needs i.e. diffusion of global agricultural knowledge to the small holder farmer, reduction of duplication with emphasis on efficiency, cost mitigation in extension systems and more importantly sustainability of the systems still remain. Alternate models for agricultural extension: Lessons from food system coalitions The search for the alternate models can borrow learning from allied sector, the food system coalitions. The coalitions were able to bring varied stakeholders from Government to business partners to civil society to academicians with the objective to enhance food security to communities/counties they work for. These systems are coalition networks of varied knowledge partners and create a sustainable social enterprises to execute the projects; the coalition undertakes the mentoring, project and performance appraisals of the promoted social enterprises. 1. FAO world agricultural report 5
SLO County food system coalition: Representative case study 1.0 1 The Concept: The Food System Coalition was founded in June, 2011 by representatives from nonprofits, businesses, and government agencies from the social services, producers (farming, ranching, fishing), health, education, distribution, consumers, gardening, and retail. The FSC brings together stakeholders from diverse sectors to generate changes that will strengthen the local food system. The Operating model: The Food System Coalition, or FSC, is a collaborative network that brings together many sectors, from consumer groups to County government agencies, the Farm Bureau to the fishing community. Projects conducted by partner organizations are supported by the Coalition, which also forms its own projects to strengthen the local food system. The FSC is currently hosted by the Food Bank Coalition of San Luis Obispo County. Short-term and long-term work groups are formed around key issues and can include both Coalition members and other interested people. An elected Administrative Committee takes care of administrative functions. Key take away: Coalition of varied stakeholders Coalitions to gain mileage and mitigate acting as mentor for social enterprise duplication: The concept was able to build active with an accountable administration networks in the county within a short span of time1 fostered the programme mileage Ability to reach majority of the beneficiaries: case of the FSC at San Louis Leverage networks to promote awareness and Obsipo county. Moreover the within two years the models was able to reach 82% programme also highlights the need of target beneficiaries2 to involve varied stakeholders in Consistent feedback collection: The programme planning and feedback process so banked on surveys and inputs provided by the as to ensure seamless movement of beneficiaries across varied socio-economic class to communication; streamline the operational model3 1. http://www.slofoodbank.org/board_of_directors.php 2.,3. Hunger free communities; characterizing the vulnerable population in San Luis Obispo county 2012 report prepared by Aydin Nazmi and Alexandra Lund 6
Centralized coalition committee: To smoothen administrative and operational functions thus striving for accountability and transparency Focused and collective approach The programme involved diverse stakeholders who have been participating in the planning process thus avoiding duplication of efforts while promoting a streamlined approach to strengthen the local food system Community and regional food systems of Milwaukee, Chicao and Detroit: Representative case study 2.0 1 The Concept: The mission of this project is to integrate research, outreach, education and advocacy in order to better understand, develop and sustain community and regional food systems (CRFS) as a means of addressing food insecurity and related goals in American cities. The project partners include the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Growing Power, the University of WisconsinExtension, Michigan State University, Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, and Iowa State University, in addition to community-based organizations in cities: Milwaukee, Chicago, Detroit, Boston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Cedar Rapids, IA and Madison, WI. Framework for comprehensive food security system # Project components include research, community engagement, out reach efforts, education and advocacy. The coalition aims to promote the development of equitable, sustainable, and inclusive Community and Regional Food Systems. 1. http://www.community-food.org/overview/ # The framework represented is the extract in original from the website and is for information purposes only. Neither the author nor IKAAP claims the thought ownership of the framework and acknowledging that the ownership of framework is with community and regional food systems US. 7
Envisage the ‘System Coalition’ model in agricultural extension The system coalition aims to build vibrant, sustainable, and inclusive extension systems. The coalition model work integrates research, community engagement, outreach, education, and advocacy. Research and dissemination of new models form the crux of the efforts. The coalition model also aims to collect feedback and convey the same for stakeholders for relevant actions and corrective measures. We can envisage that these coalition based models like Illustration 3.0: Representative system coalition extension platform Businesses Academicians Government Research groups food organizations will lead to the development of tools, educational curriculum, and training programs on community, agricultural Expert group coalition practices, access to finance etc. under the mentorship of an expert group. Community entrepreneurs Illustration 4.0:Extension dynamics ushered by the coalition system models Programme administration Project monitoring & appraisals Research on new extension models and systems Qualified resources in the community and importantly proximal to beneficiaries 1 2 Knowledge dissemination • Input knowledge • Farm practices • Product handling • Feedback delivery • Equitable access 3 1 Participation of stakeholders • Adoption of new technologies • Community involvement • Business involvement Sustainability • Comprehensive farm land protection • Scope to monetize the knowledge • Increased scope for interplay of agro allied sectors 4 Prosperity • Multiple level of sustainable livelihood creation • Accountable access to capital/finance • Economic viability of farms 3 Participation 2 Knowledge Dissemination Sustainability 4 Prosperity 8
As shown in the illustration 4.0, the new system coalition model is likely to transform the extension model from mere service delivery model to more of an enabler. In addition the system also strives for increased participation from the communities thus creating an environment of seamless exchange of knowledge, messages and thought processes. The challenges the agricultural sector is facing are ever increasing and becoming complex. Consequently developments have also increased manifold in agricultural practices, technology platforms and approaches. The fast paced demands and the complex agricultural ecosystems are stretching contemporary extension service models, which otherwise have a crucial role to play in promoting agricultural innovation to keep pace with the changing context and improve livelihoods of the dependent poor. To abstract, the model doesn’t stop at pushing through innovations and education based services but also created more comprehensive thinking around livelihoods, inclusiveness and more importantly sustainability of the rural enterprises thus providing a bigger bang per buck spent on the programmes. In current scenario, when certain standalone model innovations promoted by public systems, NGOs and businesses are criticized of lacking prac6cal reali6es of adop6on, knowledge fragmenta6on, and inherent challenges to promote pluralism and innova6on, the coali6on extension model is likely to beneﬁt from synergies shared by stakeholders and can likely present more solu6on based approaches to challenges faced by conven6on extension models 9
Abdul Rahman Ilyas Chief Executive Officer IKP Centre for Advancement in Agricultural Practice (ICAAP) - IIT Research Park, Chennai 600113, Tamil Nadu, India. - 7th Cross Arulananda Nagar, Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu - IKP Knowledge Park, Genome Valley, Turkapally, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India Phone: +91 (44) 6668-7075 Mobile : +91-9840643774 Fax: +91 (44) 6668-7010 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org © 2014 All Rights Reserved. IKP Center for Advancement in Agricultural Practice
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