| Agricultural extension |
|What is agricultural extension?|
For Peace Corps, development centers on building local capacity and self-reliance among those who need it most. Accordingly, Peace Crops promotes approximately 35 agricultural extension programs reaching small-scale farming families world-wide.
As agrarian nations, developing countries look to agriculture to stimulate long term economic development. In addition, population growth has kept pace with increased food production since 1960, leaving the world hunger problem unresolved. Inequitable food distribution systems and post-harvest losses maginfy the current food deficit. These issues add up to a crisis and a mandate for agriculture in developing countries.
Being the most numerous agricultural producers, small-farm families are deeply affected by such challenges. The situation is made more urgent by the inaccessibility of agricultural support services. This is due to the pervasive skewing of support services to larger and more productive producers.
Peace Corps Agricultural Extension Workers attempt to alleviate this crisis by reaching out specifically and personally to small-scale farming families in the manner described in this manual. This is consistent with Peace Corps' mandate to help those most in need. Extension workers foster effective two-way communication between farmers and support services in the role of facilitators. They help farmers develop a new sense of COMPETENT AUTONOMY, as they confront together the world that is changing around them.