An Integrative and Learning Based Advisory Approach for Rural Extension with Small-Scale Farmers
This book is about reaching small-scale farmers more effectively and providing support they need to earn a better livelihood from their agricultural activities. About forty percent of the world’s population, i.e. 2.6 billion people, still live from agriculture. More than two thirds of all poverty world-wide is rural poverty, and 99% of all farmers live on small-scale farms. According to the final report of the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) in 2008, it is highly uncertain that the Millennium Development Goal of halving poverty by 2015 can be achieved in view of the growing numbers of poor people, particularly those who live from small-scale farming.
Agricultural extension has been facing increasing demands since it was initiated about 100 years ago in industrialised countries, and about 50 years ago in developing countries. Enhancing agricultural productivity and production has been, and remains, a central concern of farming, and thus also of agricultural extension. Facing diverse environmental challenges, such as finding ways to adapt to a changing climate or mitigate the degradation of natural resources, has become more and more important over the past 30-40 years. Agricultural lands have been shrinking since 1975, and rural populations have not yet reached a turning point in their demographic growth; hence the number of people in farming is still growing, although many young and old people are also being forced out of agriculture, while those remaining have increased their off-farm activities.
At the centre of this book is an integrative and learning-oriented approach for extension that enhances the economic, ecological and social dimensions of rural sustainability. Two in-depth experiences illustrate how rural extension has been reshaped by this approach. LforS, or “learning for sustainability”, appears to be a truly innovative method as applied in Madagascar to rural afforestation and in Mongolia to organisational development. I highly recommend this book to all persons engaged in rural extension, both in developed and developing countries.
Edited by Ernst Gabathuler, Felicitas Bachmann and Andreas Kläy2011; 112pp.; many coloured photographs; 21 x 14,8 cm; paper
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