Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page

III. Framework for determining the need for extension reform (FDNER)

The modernization and reform of national agricultural extension systems is a major undertaking requiring careful analysis of the situation, comprehension of national policy on rural and agricultural development and food security, the leadership’s vision of development for the country over the next 20 years or so, and finally taking bold policy decisions – some of which may have political implications, cost considerable amounts in terms of time, money and energy, and require effective monitoring of progress. It is therefore of paramount importance that the policy-makers first have a look at the existing national agricultural extension system to determine whether the system needs to be reformed or not. A quick review of various aspects of extension should be sufficient.

The following simple framework contains a set of statements for key aspects of the extension system, which are to be marked as true or false. If false is marked for most of the statements, then the extension system is a good candidate for reform and possible restructuring. The marking results will also help to make a decision about which aspects to concentrate on while reforming the system. However, it should be noted that while this framework provides a useful guide, it should not be considered as a substitute for a thorough examination and analysis of the situation involving field observations and discussions with all stakeholders.

Framework (FDNER)

Policy and organizational structure



Field operations

Female extension agents making use of women community development groups

The Extension, Education and Communication Service of FAO designed a case study to assess the female extension agents’ perceptions of the usefulness of women's community development group models for delivering extension messages, as compared with the traditional model of contacting individual farmers and farm women. The women community development groups were formed under the IFAD-financed Neelum and Jhelum Valley Community Development Project in the Pakistan-administered Kashmir region. The rationale for adopting this extension modality was that it minimizes the negative effects of constraints such as limited mobility and personal safety and security of female extension agents, and maximizes the convenience of client coverage, access to technical information and coordination of extension services.

Conclusions based on the views and opinions of the administrators, extension assistants and the community development group members affirmed the usefulness and desirability of the community development group model for sustainable development, although some limitations were identified.

FAO. 2003. Extension through women’s community development groups: a case study of female extension assistants in Azad Jammu & Kashmir, by K. Qamar and K. Ijaz. Rome.

Previous Page Top of Page Next Page