Agricultural extension in conflict vulnerable areas: A partnership-based approach

Mary Johnson

2RMIT, Melbourne, Australia

Partnerships are an important element in any initiative to achieve improved livelihoods for small holder farmers and are particularly relevant when working in conflict-vulnerable areas. The Mindanao Agricultural Extension Project (AMAEP), funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), has been refining and evaluating extension methods in the complex setting of conflict-vulnerable areas of western Mindanao. The refined model is based on three strategies 1) improving farmer access to knowledge and skills; 2) Building community social capacity and 3) Collaborating closely with local institutional partners. The last strategy to regularly engage with partners such as local government has led to farmer groups successfully engaging in the planning and development process of local government; accessing government programs and receiving grants.  The ability to have input into the local development council planning process ensures an ongoing political commitment to the farmers programs – an important strategy for sustained support. Trust is a valuable commodity in conflict areas and there have been positive changes in the project sites. Significantly for the farmers and their communities, there is renewed trust in providers and access to government and other services that had been previously lost as a result of past conflict.


Biography:

Dr Mary Johnson, RMIT Research Fellow, has worked extensively within Australia and internationally in agriculture, natural resource management, education and community development. Mary’s recent work has focussed on strategic partnership building; social, political and natural capital; social learning and rural women.

 

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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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