Rethinking Agricultural Extension in South and Southeast Asia

Dr Trent Brown1, Dr Graeme Macrae3, Dr David McGill1, Dr Mary Johnson2

1University Of Melbourne, Carlton, Australia, 2RMIT, Melbourne, Australia, 3Massey University, Albany, New Zealand

Chair: Dr Trent Brown


Agricultural extension is a long-standing institution in Asia, serving as a critical site at which states act to bring agricultural science and technology to rural populations. Yet, in recent decades, some scholars have suggested that extension in Asia has entered a state of crisis. Questions have been raised about the role of agricultural extension and appropriate approaches to extension provision – including questions of where and to whom extension services should be directed. In some countries, governments and broader social and economic forces are pushing extension service providers towards privatizing and diversifying delivery mechanisms – often without due reflection on the impacts this may have on the quality, clarity, and reliability of information that rural communities receive.

In this context, this panel brings together experts from human geography, agricultural science, anthropology, and education to consider possible futures for agricultural extension in Asia. Drawing on research from Indonesia, the Philippines, India, and Pakistan, panellists will explore both some of the problems and successes within existing systems of agricultural extension and the possibility of alternative approaches. The panel also looks forward, considering whether models of extension that appear to function reasonably effectively in the present are likely to remain sustainable into the future.


The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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