October 2008  -  Announcement of a publication

Global Review of good agricultural extension and advisory services practices


The purpose of this publication was to identify “good practices” within different agricultural extension and advisory service institutions that have used new agricultural innovations, in order to improve rural livelihoods and, to educate farmers to use sustainable natural resource management practices in different countries. The publication reviews the four major objectives of extension systems in the agricultural development process: 1) technology dissemination, especially for the staple food crops; 2) human capital development, especially the technical and management skills and knowledge that poorly educated farm-households need to increase farm income; 3) building social capital; and 4) educating farmers to manage natural resources sustainably. These major extension objectives are assessed under different extension models to draw conclusions as to the manner in which extension systems can be more effectively organized.

In the emerging global agricultural economy, the top-down and technology-driven extension system no longer appears to be appropriate. If public extension systems are going to be effective in improving rural livelihoods, then they must change their focus, structure and approach. This paper highlights efforts that have been tested and are currently being implemented across China, India, Indonesia and other countries to create a decentralized (bottom-up), market-driven extension system that is consistent with the agricultural innovations framework now receiving attention within international research and donor organizations, as well as the potential role of private-sector firms and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), in undertaking specific extension activities.

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© FAO, 2008