Improving agricultural extension. A reference manual

Table of Contents

Edited by

Burton E. Swanson
Robert P. Bentz
Andrew J. Sofranko


Prepared under the guidance of the

Extension, Education and Communication Service
Research, Extension and Training Division
Sustainable Development Department

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Rome, 1997

Reprinted 1998

Improving agricultural extension: a reference manual was prepared under a contract between FAO and the International Program for Agricultural Knowledge System (INTERPAKS), College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, United States.

The designations employed and the presentation of material in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

ISBN 92-5-104007-9

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owner. Applications for such permission, with a statement of the purpose and extent of the reproduction, should be addressed to the Director, Information Division, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy.

© FAO 1997

This electronic document has been scanned using optical character recognition (OCR) software and careful manual recorrection. Even if the quality of digitalisation is high, the FAO declines all responsibility for any discrepancies that may exist between the present document and its original printed version.

Table of Contents



Part I - Overview of extension in agricultural and rural development

Chapter 1 - The history, development, and future of agricultural extension

The term "extension"
The distant origins
Necessary conditions for agricultural extension to evolve
Towards the Modern Era
The birth of modern agricultural extension services
Modern agricultural extension
The future

Chapter 2 - Alternative approaches to organizing extension

Extension goals
Alternative ways of organizing extension
Present and future role of extension staff

Chapter 3 - The context of extension in agricultural and rural development

A systems perspective
Institutional factors
Concluding observations

Chapter 4 - The economic contributions of agricultural extension to agricultural and rural development

Investment indicators: Agricultural research and extension
The conceptual foundation for extension impact
A note on statistical methods and issues for economic evaluation
Estimates of economic impacts: A summary

Part II - Improving extension programmes and processes

Chapter 5 - Assessing target group needs

Needs assessment techniques

Chapter 6 - Using rapid or participatory rural appraisal

Conventional methodologies for learning
Alternative systems of learning and action
The different interpretations of participation
Participatory methods
The trustworthiness of findings
Towards a new professionalism in extension

Chapter 7 - Developing and delivering extension programmes

The difficult challenges ahead
Extension work: Increasingly concerned with responsive planning
Creating extension programmes with the people: A rationale
Facing broader planners' roles and new skills

Chapter 8 - Selecting appropriate content and methods in programme delivery

Developing appropriate content
Extension's clientele
Incorporating needs into programmes
Program delivery and implementation

Chapter 9 - Improving women farmers' access to extension services

The need for gender analysis
Constraints and opportunities: Rural women and extension strategies
Recommendations for more effective extension systems for rural women

Chapter 10 - Implementing strategic extension campaigns

Strategic extension campaign: What and why
The usefulness of SEC
SEC operationally defined
Suggested conceptual framework for strategic planning of extension campaigns
Lessons learned

Chapter 11 - Evaluating extension programmes

Getting started with evaluation: Avoiding a passive sabotage of evaluation efforts
Selecting evaluation purposes: Unclear purposes ensure unsatisfying evaluations
Recognizing the politics of evaluation: Know the stakeholders or you will be sorry
Selecting alternative approaches and models: Which model for which purpose?
Focusing the evaluation effort: You can't evaluate everything, so let's set limits
Selecting methods for programme evaluation: Choosing the right tool for the task
Selecting methods for evaluation of teaching and learning: How do we know that learning has happened?
Interpreting findings and data: To what do we compare the findings?
Managing the work: Who will be responsible for what?
Using evaluation findings for improving extension: Who should be told what?

Part III - Improving extension management

Chapter 12 - Formulating extension policy

Role of extension in SARD and its policy implications
Scope of extension policy
Forms of extension policy
Issues that extension policy should address
Extension policy formulation

Chapter 13 - Improving the organization and management of extension

Decision making
Systems theory
Contingency theory

Chapter 14 - Managing human resources within extension

Human resource planning for extension
Job analysis
Recruitment and training of extension personnel
Performance appraisal
Management of rewards and incentives
Improvement of the quality of work life
Organizational development

Chapter 15 - Training and professional development

Learning theories and training
Training approach
Extension personnel around the world in need of training
Types of training
Phases of training
Implementation phase
Evaluation phase

Chapter 16 - Acquiring and managing financial resources

Obtaining financial resources
Keeping track of financial resources
Predicting organizational costs
Maintaining a balance in how resources are to be used
Decentralizing the decision-making process
Using information to improve efficiency
Using information to increase effectiveness
Wasting resources
Misappropriating resources

Chapter 17 - Monitoring extension programmes and resources

A conceptual framework for monitoring
Approaches to extension monitoring
Operationalizing the definition of monitoring
Principles of monitoring
Monitoring and its main stakeholders
Frequency of monitoring
Monitoring unit
Monitoring indicators
Capability, effectiveness, efficiency, and impact
Extension monitoring indicators
Extension evaluation indicators
Action plan and chain of events

Chapter 18 - Establishing a management information system

Basic concepts
Role of MIS in the management of agricultural extension programmes
Design of a MIS in an agricultural extension organization
Need for automation
Organization of a database
Networking and interactive processing
System alternatives and evaluation: Centralization versus decentralization
End-user computing
Illustrative computer-based MIS

Chapter 19 - Strengthening research-extension-farmer linkages

Agricultural technology: Some basic concepts
Using systems analysis to identify linkage problems
Categories of technology
Using different mechanisms to solve linkage problems
Linkages with farmers and their organizations

Part IV - Current trends and development

Chapter 20 - Extension's role in sustainable agricultural development

Emerging challenges for sustainable agriculture
Sustainability and levels of action
Resource-conserving technology development and transfer
Incorporating farmer experimentation
From teaching to learning and a whole new professionalism
From directive to participatory extension
Challenges for supportive policy processes

Chapter 21 - Establishing and strengthening farmer organizations

Historical perspective
New roles for extension
Farmer organizations
Steps in establishing farmer organizations
How to strengthen existing FOs
Policy issues in establishing and strengthening farmer organizations

Chapter 22 - Privatizing agricultural extension

Forces for change
Strategies for change
Alternative funding and delivery
The context for extension "privatization"
Implications of extension "privatization"

Chapter 23 - The role of nongovernmental organizations in extension

NGO characteristics
Examples of potentially replicable NGO-GO interaction
What extension services can do to further collaborate with NGOs