Upcoming PIM Workshop on Agricultural Extension

Farmer at a market, Bangladesh, Source: Flickr (IFPRI-Images)

The CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions and Markets is organizing a workshop on "Research on agricultural extension systems: What have we learned, and where do we go from here?"  The workshop will be held on 15-16 October, 2013 at IFPRI Headquarters in Washington, DC.

The objectives of the workshop are to:

• Understand the roles of extension as the link between knowledge systems and smallholder farm productivity and the implications for agricultural research, both within the CGIAR and elsewhere;

• Review cases, including innovations presently in use, and good (or bad) practices to identify the primary knowledge gaps in the design and implementation of extension systems;

• Assess current approaches to metrics for effectiveness of extension and identify potential improvements through research;

• Prioritize research that can inform decisions of policymakers in developing countries and enhance the impact of investments in agricultural innovations.

Agricultural extension (also known as agricultural or rural advisory services) has been highlighted as a critical component in well-functioning agricultural systems and as a key element needed to generate and sustain impact. The quality of agricultural advisory services is often closely linked to the adoption by farmers of improved technologies that lead to increased productivity.

"Extension today goes beyond traditional technology transfer or information provision" - Kristin Davis, IFPRI Senior Research Staff.

"Extension must perform a wide range of roles to better contribute to agricultural innovation. These include developing networks, organizing producers, facilitating access to credit, inputs and output services, convening innovation platforms, promoting gender equality, facilitating knowledge management, supporting adaptation to climate change, and disseminating new knowledge through training and demonstrations. Further research is needed on the expanded role of extension," stated Kristin Davis.

The Workshop will be facilitated by Kristin Davis and Suresh Babu from IFPRI. “Understanding how effective and efficient current extension programs are in reaching smallholder farmers will help in designing extension reforms in developing countries,” stated Suresh Babu, Senior Research Fellow in IFPRI’s Partnership, Impact and Capacity Strengthening Unit.

The audience will be comprised of developing country partners from regional forums and country-level stakeholders in South and East Asia, Latin America, and Africa; researchers from the CGIAR and other developed and developing country universities and institutes; global-level partners such as GFRAS; and development partners.

The main output of the workshop – a proposed coherent research agenda for agricultural extension developed with all involved partners – will provide the basis for enhancement of the work on this topic under the PIM research portfolio in 2014. “The workshop should help us take stock of what PIM and its partners, including other CRPs, are doing in terms of research on extension, and make a plan for filling research gaps,” said Karen Brooks, PIM Director.

The agenda, list of participants and summary of the workshop will be posted on the PIM website.

For more information on agricultural extension, see the following IFPRI publications focusing on agricultural extension research in Africa and Asia:

Agricultural Extension Services and Gender Equality: An Institutional Analysis of Four Districts in Ethiopia, IFPRI Discussion Paper 01094, June 2011.

Review of Agricultural Extension in India: Are farmers’ information needs being met?, IFPRI Discussion Paper, 2010.

Effects of Inclusive Public Agricultural Extension Service: Results from a policy reform experiment in Western China, IFPRI Discussion Paper, 2010.