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July/August 2003

Announcement of publication

Improving agricultural extension - A reference manual

For agricultural extension directors to guide their organizations through this demanding and difficult period, they will need to direct their attention to the main issues and concerns. They must concentrate the work of extension on those activities where it has a comparative advantage. For example, extension should focus its efforts on those knowledge-based technologies that are central to farmers' concerns and that will maintain the natural resource base. In general, these are subject-matter areas that will not be taken up by the private sector. Examples include dissemination of production management technologies that are specific to different crop and livestock systems; natural resource management technologies, such as soil and water management, integrated pest management, agroforestry, and other technologies associated with sustainable development; and farming systems technologies, including farm management skills, that will enable farmers to improve their efficiency, increase their cropping intensities, and to diversify into more high value commodities.

These current trends and perspectives were used in preparing this new volume on Improving Agricultural Extension: A Reference Manual. In the view of the editors, agricultural research and extension must become more demand driven if these institutions are to maintain or regain the public trust and to compete effectively for public funds. Therefore, the book's first section, Overview of Extension in Agricultural and Rural Development, which is comprised of four chapters, lays out the evolution of agricultural extension over time, outlines different extension approaches that have emerged over the past thirty to forty years, revisits the role of extension in the development process, and summarizes the economic contribution of extension to agricultural and rural development.

Click here to see the full publication.

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