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The World Food Summit held in Rome in 1996, followed by the World Food Summit: five years later, in 2002, and the Millennium Development Goals, all underline the importance of food security. The obligation to eradicate food insecurity requires several actions, involving various public and non-public institutions. The purpose of this publication is to highlight the important role of agricultural and rural extension in the flight against hunger. Extension is seen as a broad effort directed at rural development linking with other sectors, and not just as an agricultural technology transfer service. This paper touches upon the global trends in reforming national extension systems, with the view that the traditional extension systems must be changed to successfully meet the new demands, food security guarantee and rural poverty alleviation among others. An analysis of the transforming agricultural and rural extension, rural development and food security issues is followed by a set of recommendations that the Member Countries may consider in outlining their food security policies.

The paper has been prepared by William McLeod Rivera, as Visiting Scientist to FAO from the University of Maryland, in collaboration with M. Kalim Qamar, FAO Senior Officer for Agricultural Training and Extension.

Ester Zulberti
Extension, Education and Communication Service
FAO headquarters, Rome

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