The Case of Menoufia, Egypt
Extension for smallholder farmers, in Egypt as all over the Middle East and North Afri- ca (MENA) Region, is strongly hierarchically organised, transfer-of-technology orient- ed, bureaucratic, and often ineffective - if existing at all. Nagwa Hassan, who origins from a poor smallholder family and thus knows the situa- tion personally, assumes that, apart from the need of changes on higher administrative levels, the interaction of Village Extension Workers (VEWs) and smallholder farmers is the key to its functioning. She identifies as a mayor problem a lack of user-orientation of the whole system in general and particularly that neither smallholder farmers nor VEWs can participate in the design or “programming” of extension and educational units. Communication between VEWs and smallholder farmers is seen as a key factor, and consequently Ms Hassan investigates in this field and analyses extension communica- tion. The picture in general is disillusioning, with non-communication between smallholders and VEWs the norm. The great majority of farmers do not communicate with VEWs due to their unavailability, mistrust, and unawareness of farmers of the existence of ex- tension at all. That those who have access to agro services already attended previous extension activities, and that the better educated do communicate more, is no surprise; that gender and farm size does not affect communication, is. The whole work on an urgent problem brings some new aspects into the discussion, with respect to communication amongst neglected actors. The findings are of particular inter- est for decision-makers in Egypt. The investigation into that issue by a female member of the system with the aim to build awareness and to communicate problems and hinder- ing factors thus might positively influence a – slow – improvement of the system. It is worth noting that the empirical part of this study was carried out shortly after the first revolts known as the Arab Spring. The situation was totally insecure for research- ers, even locals, and particularly for women. Seen in this light, the value of the work should not be underestimated.
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Kommunikation und Beratung, Band 128136pp+X, 3 Farbseiten; 21 x 15 cm; paperback 2020, ISBN 978-3-8236-1785-3
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