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.