1University Of Melbourne, Carlton, Australia
This research describes the impacts and challenges of implementing an innovative farmer engagement and learning approach within the Pakistan extension system. Pakistan has over 8 million smallholder dairy-beef farmers, many of whom have suboptimal productivity. These farmers are serviced by a linear extension system with limited capability and reach. Through 10 years of experience, our project team along with local partners, have developed what we call the ‘whole-family extension approach’ (WFEA). The WFEA involves repeated interdisciplinary training to the men, women and children of the farming household on the whole dairy-farming system. This approach has similarities to extension programs that have come and gone in the past, but due to engagement with local partners and farmers, it has been tested and proven to work within the current extension system. Extension systems around the world are becoming more pluralistic (multiple organisations) and farmer extension programs are needing to evolve with it, hence new programs, like the WFEA are re-emerging. This paper will present data from the different collaborating organisational structures (20, including NGO, Govt., private) who depict the ‘evolving pluralistic’ extension system in Pakistan as well as a number of other developing countries.
Dr David McGill works in the international research for development space with over 10 years experience researching smallholder dairy farmers in Pakistan. He now leads an interdisciplinary project which communicates technical recommendations within the livestock extension system of Pakistan involving partners in social sciences, gender mainstreaming and farming systems.