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NEED FOR PARADIGM SHIFT FROM TOP DOWN TO PARTICIPATORY EXTENSION IN THE PUNJAB, PAKISTAN: PERCEPTIONS OF FARMERS, CHANGE AGENTS AND THEIR SUPERVISORY STAFF

Source: OAI

ABSTRACT Participatory approaches emerged in the late 1980 as a response to continued failure of top down approaches. It was realized that most technologies developed by researchers alone were inappropriate for smallholder farmers. Farmer s conditions and, by then seen as partners in research and extension, and the key players in the innovation process. The present study was conducted to explore the perceptions of farmers, organizational staff including the change agents commonly called as extension workers, and their supervisory staff regarding the need for paradigm shift from top down to participatory extension in the governmental agricultural extension system in the Punjab province, Pakistan. Based on the perceptions of stakeholders an analysis of the currently practiced governmental top down agricultural extension system and the participatory extension system of selected NGO (PRSP) was conducted. The questions are there a need for the paradigm shift from top down to the participatory extension in the Punjab? How should this change take place? And what are the perceived implications for this change? Were answered. The organizational staff which includes change agents and their supervisory staff of both systems (Top Down and Participatory Extension); and their joint contact farmers were contacted to collect the needed information from Faisalabad district which is one of the prominent and important district of the Punjab province. The data were collected through the research instrument which was tested for its reliability and validity. The data collected were thus analyzed using statistical package for social sciences (SPSS). The respondents agreed that the participatory extension system (PES) had more strengths than that of the top down extension system (TDES). They indicated a need for Paradigm shift from TDES to PES in the governmental extension system. They indicated that the change should take place step wise in one year. The most important implications of this change were identified as: The country will be self sufficient in all major cash crops; the traditional knowledge of farmers will improve; there will be visible change in the socioeconomic conditions of farmers. The main characteristics of the perceived future participatory extension system were identified as: It should address the real problems of farmers; multidisciplinary teams of researchers, extension workers, and farmers should work together for information generation and dissemination; It should ensure sustainability; there should be working relationship between government, rural communities and other agencies like banks, donor agencies and government line agencies; there should be strong and regular feedback regarding the solutions of problems related to farming community; it should be run by the government through participatory extension approach; it should use farmer friendly mode; It should ensure maximum farmers participation; the need for the physical infrastructure schemes be initiated by the people themselves; Department of Agricultural and it should be run through the active involvement of CBOs ; Department of Agriculture ( extension ) should be run on partnership basis.

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    01/2003;