The problem is the message
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CTA. 1998. The problem is the message . Spore 76. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/48157
Internet URL: http://spore.cta.int/images/stories/pdf/old/spore76.pdf
René Rabezandrina, of the Department of Agriculture at the University of Antananarivo, Madagascar, comments on the 'Viewpoint' about extension work which appeared in Spore 72, p. 11. 'A lot of participatory methods such as wide extension or mass...
René Rabezandrina, of the Department of Agriculture at the University of Antananarivo, Madagascar, comments on the 'Viewpoint' about extension work which appeared in Spore 72, p. 11. 'A lot of participatory methods such as wide extension or mass extension, pilot farmer-centred approaches or contact groups (training and visits), have been designed by very skilled leaders (experts in large international organisations) for passing on to extension staff who, in turn, put them into practice in their work. It cannot be said that African farmers are any less aware than other farmers, or unable to know where their own interests lie. Further, if we judge that extension workers ? the 'transmitters' - are intelligent people, and that the methods adopted and supported by the specialists cannot all be bad, and that the farmers ? the 'receivers' ? are not particularly obtuse, then we have to ask ourselves where the problem lies. For the last thirty years we have worked away looking for the way to pass on the message, whilst the real problem lies precisely there: the message is not interesting enough for the farmer to take it on board definitively. It follows that the answer is not to be found in yet another new training programme for extension staff, without any guarantee that it will work, but in finding messages which will satisfy the heart-felt wish of the farmer: to work less physically, whilst earning more. Look at subjects like agroforestry using profitable fruit trees, or planting sugar cane, which can have a very high added value. These have never been promoted by official extension agents, but the Malagasy farmer has taken them up spontaneously. You cannot say the same about techniques for planting out rice in lines or manual weeding with a hoe, work that would have the rice farmer hoeing for hundreds of kilometres just to weed one hectare ? if he were to follow the advice of the extension agent.'