The challenge of food security demands involvement of many sectors, including agricultural extension. This, however, will require re-conceptualization and re-prioritization of extension services, to enable them to address the issues of poverty alleviation and rural development properly, which provide the context for ensuring food security. This publication reviews the current, major trends to reform agricultural extension system, discusses rural development, examining pathways out of poverty, and advocates a broader role for extension. The continuing and unique role to be played by the public sector in promoting rural development through extension and communication is highlighted. Important conclusions, drawn from the analysis of relevant issues, as well as action-oriented recommendations, are presented to the policy-makers of developing countries for encouraging institutional reforms and dialogue among diverse providers of extension services, all aimed at advancing livelihoods, i.e. food security and income generation of poor rural people.