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FAO Releases Book on Mobilizing the Potential of Rural and Agricultural Extension
Ian Christoplos of the Danish Institute for International Studies came up with the manual on “Mobilizing the Potential of Rural and Agricultural Extension” to raise awareness of farmers on how it could help them, especially the smallholder farmers, support their families` basic needs. It includes a number of brief case studies and presents an overview of current opportunities and challenges to increase the impact of rural and agricultural extension.
The paper describes how extension systems can contribute to the improvement of the profitability, sustainability and equity of smallholder agriculture within broader innovation systems. It also outlines the potential role of extension in achieving the aims of the L`Aquila Food Security Initiative, which mobilized international commitment in enhancing food security.
Extension will only be effective if other services are in place. If research is focused on the problems facing farmers, if markets and land are accessible, and if there is sufficient social, political and economic security in place to create an enabling environment for rural development. Likewise, extension is part of agricultural knowledge and information systems, which are in turn part of the agrifood and rural development innovation systems that frame the prospects for rural poverty alleviation and food security.
Thus, reference book presents the position of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO-UN) and the Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS) on where agricultural extension stands today and where it needs to go in the future.