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close this folder 9. Animal traction extension
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9. Animal traction extension

Many countries have agricultural extension services of some kind in which locally-based extension workers or agents visit farmers and advise them on new plant species, pests and diseases of crops, and the use of fertilizers and pesticides. Extension agents understand the need for farmers to produce more for the national economy and are expected to help farmers increase their production to meet both the family's needs and those of the national government.

People who work small farms, however, may not view changes in methods of production as beneficial, for several reasons. Farmers whose needs have been met traditionally at the family and village level may be satisfied with their current agricultural production level and feel no need to increase production. Social or cultural practices and traditions may dictate the types and number of crops grown, the cropping method, and even when crops are planted or harvested. Farmers using traditional tools and techniques for many years know how much work is required for a certain harvest. Changing to animal traction or to a new type of crop involves taking a risk: farmers may, as a result, be reluctant to try it.

Extension agents provide the support necessary to encourage the farmers and reduce risks of failure from improper use of new systems. Extension programs can provide education and equipment, and health care for the animals. The success of an animal traction program may depend upon the availability of these services to farmers.