Extension for sustainable agriculture in Latin America and the Caribbean
The objective was to suggest extension policies to promote the sustainability of agriculture in the region. The work was based on information on human, financial and physical resources devoted to extension, existing institutional frameworks and successful experiences identified in terms of the competitiveness, equity and sustainability of agriculture. IICA conducted a survey based on data generated by means of Internet surveys, interviews with key informants of programs identified as successful experiences and four sub regional studies in the Southern Cone, the Andean Region, Central America and the Caribbean countries. The sub regional analyses were based on institutional reports and interviews with staff of the institutions, users and related organizations. The information obtained was used to prepare a policy proposal document and invite experts from the region to make suggestions at the Project's Final Seminar, held at IICA Headquarters in Costa Rica on April 28 and 29, 2003. The project disseminated its processes and products through electronic and conventional means. Access to the information was kept open until January 2004 through the project's Internet portal, the information was copied onto CD-ROMs in response to requests from interested parties, and six workshops were held to disseminate the results, two in Costa Rica and four in Colombia.
The technological solution
This was a strategic research project that did not produce technological solutions but conceptual proposals aimed at strengthening institutional capacities in the field of rural extension. The proposals, which could be valid today in a general way, were formulated in a context of active privatization of extension systems and the retrenchment of the state as a provider of these services. The current situation is different, with the resurgence of state extension services.
The following products were generated: (i) A computerized database, with the answers obtained through the questionnaires to a selective sample of agricultural extension programs in the region; (ii) A directory of organizations and extension programs, identified during the implementation of the Project; (iii) Summaries of the information provided by the extension programs participating in the study; (iv) A document analyzing the questionnaires answered by different extension programs; (v) A document on typologies of agricultural extension systems in the region; (vi) Four documents of sub regional analysis on the current situation (at the time of implementation of the project) and the prospects of rural extension in LAC; (vii) A document on suggestions for rural extension policies, the synthesis of which is presented in the form of a matrix in Annex 1 of the final report of the project; (viii) A web page of the project, disseminating the processes, products and results of the work carried out.
To identify beneficiaries it is important to take into account the context and nature of the extension services that in the years of project implementation were strongly influenced by the privatization of rural extension. In that context, the beneficiaries were (i) the governments of the countries in the four sub regions covered by the study, responsible for the formulation of rural extension policies; (ii) organizations promoting extension services; (iii) enterprises providing extension services; and (vi) farmers, as users of the extension systems.
Sustainable Development Goals
- Instituto Interamericano de Cooperación para la Agricultura (IICA) - Colombia
- FEDERACAFE - Colombia
- Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria (INTA) - Argentina
- MAG - Costa Rica