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CTA. 2003. Editorial. ICT Update Issue 14. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57634
Reinventing agricultural extension: ICTs are only part of the solution.
For decades agricultural extension was considered the prime vehicle for bringing technological innovation to farms. However, pitching an effective ´extension strategy´ appeared to be difficult. Various extension approaches were developed over the years, each with a different focus: opinion leaders, farmers´ groups, training & visit (T&V) and, most recently, knowledge management. In the discussions about the pros and cons of these various approaches, agricultural policy makers and administrators seemed to have forgotten the very people they wish to support - the farmers. Today, it sometimes is said that agricultural extension is ´dead´ - squeezed by decentralization policies, reduced public funding and privatization of government services. However, agricultural policy makers hope that ICTs will provide unique opportunities to make a fresh start in providing farmers with the information they need. CTA has entered the policy discussion on ICTs and agricultural extension. In September 2003 the Centre devoted its annual ICT Observatory workshop to exploring the question http://ictupdate.cta.int/index.php/article/articleview/251/ ´ICTs - transforming agricultural extension?´ This issue of ICT Update highlights various projects that are pioneering the use of ICTs and, in the process, are reinventing the traditional ways of doing agricultural extension. These ground-breaking projects show that ICTs can indeed help extension workers to broaden the range and increase the quality of their services that meet the information needs of farmers. However, they also show that ICTs are no ´magic bullet´, and can only work if they are firmly embedded in new extension strategies that go far beyond the narrow current focus of ´technology transfer´. Although the number of such initiatives is still small, their results are highly relevant because they show policy makers and administrators what can (and what can´t) be achieved. Many more such imaginative projects are required (and the ´lessons learned´ published!). Only their results can provide adequate information on the potential of ICTs to support new agricultural extension strategies and more effective extension services.
SubjectsINFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION MANAGEMENT;
Related reference: http://ictupdate.cta.int/en/Regulars/Editorial/Editorial