Success in agricultural and rural development depends on individual actions of millions of rural families, whose decisions are shaped by the information, knowledge and technologies available to them.
Research and Extension supports this development by enhancing national agriculture research institutions and agricultural and rural extension services through policy advice, technical support, projects/programmes, studies and workshops.
Today’s national agriculture research and extension systems face many challenges and opportunities. Serious limitations in planning and financial management of agricultural research, in the organization and management of the research institutions and in technology transfer strategies have been identified through several analyses and assessments. Similarly, extension systems are often under-resourced and use outdated service provision approaches and extension methods.
At the same time, developments in biotechnology and biosafety, climate change concerns, food insecurity, the growing relevance of agri-food chains, demands for greater rural producer empowerment, and in the changes in information and communication technologies combine to provide many new opportunities for growth and renewal for national agriculture research and extension systems.
Specifically Research and Extension works to improve national systems by:
- Supporting the organization and management of national agricultural research systems to strengthen their abilities to generate, adapt and transfer appropriate technologies for improved and sustainable production systems in agriculture, forestry and fisheries
- Providing assessment, policy advice and assistance to reorienting extension services toward creating pluralistic, demand-led and market orientated systems, new financing mechanisms, the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), and monitoring and evaluation
- Facilitating and promoting FAO’s participation in international initiatives and efforts in agricultural research and extension such as the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR) and the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).