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close this book Agricultural extension
close this folder Appendices
Open this folder and view contents Appendix A - Comparative case studies
View the document Appendix B - Technical I.C.E. manuals and reprints useful to agricultural extensionists
View the document Appendix C - Extension training
View the document Appendix D - Bibliography and resources

Appendix C - Extension training

How can a person be adequately prepared to play the role of an agricultural extension worker with small-scale farmers? Some people attend agricultural colleges and by virtue of formal technical training become professional extensionists. Peace Corps and other development agencies train people to work as pare-professional extension agents. In still other instances, extension workers can work in the field with little or no formal agricultural or extension training.

Several things are common to the preparation of these different types of extension workers. None of them is adequately prepared to work in the field by virtue of their pre-service training alone. Each extension worker is the "stranger in a strange land" when visiting farmers' fields for the first time (even in spite of being rom the local community). Agriculture and communication are so location and time specific that actual extension work begins with learning even after extensive training.

Almost all extension workers find themselves in an organization of some type. Most extensionists also follow some previous extension worker or come up against set ideas and expectations of extension work. These predetermined conditions cannot be anticipated very well, and constitute the first obstacle to successful communication. Extension work, like agriculture itself, is a process of adaptation.

This suggests that extension work is best learned by experience and apprenticeship. Extension training is an on-going process which continues throughout extension service. The pre-service training extension workers receive should offer two things: basic skills and knowledge to begin effective work, and the ability to continue learning about extension and agriculture.

Peace Corps aspires to prepare pare-professional extension agents through pre-service training in agriculture and extension and periodic in-service trainings on specific topics. There is a four volume Agricultural Development Workers Training Manual which is a resource for Peace Corps agriculture training available through ICE and:

Ag Sector Specialist

Office of Program Development

Peace Corps

806 Connecticut Avenue, NW

Washington, D.C. 20526

The World Bank has pioneered a rigorously organized agricultural extension training process called the Training and Visit System. It is described in detail in a World Bank pamphlet available through Peace Corps ICE. The Training and Visit System works like this:

• Extensionists work with groups of farmers.

• Those groups are visited on a regularly scheduled calendar. (For example, every other Tuesday).

• Every visit the extension worker deliers a very specific field-tested, locally-adapted, properly-timed message. (For example, how to prepare a wet-season seedling bed).

• The extensionists in an area meet together on a regularly-scheduled calendar with a Training Officer and their supervisor. They learn the message for that particular set of visits, discuss their work, and perhaps do other business.

• The extension workers repeat this regular series of training meetings and farm visits throughout the extension/farming season.

This system can be adapted to various situations and is therefore a useful model of how extension training can be designed.