The importance of agricultural extension in the global agricultural development has been well documented. Majority of the farmers are still small landholders for whom agricultural extension is their primary gateway to access information on scientific farming techniques. Almost 80 per cent of the world’s extreme poor live in rural areas where most are dependent on agriculture. Investing in agricultural extension and focussing on boosting the income of smallholder, foresters, fisher folk, rural women and youth are the key to achieving inclusive and equitable growth while tackling the root causes of poverty and hunger. A comprehensive approach to tackling food insecurity and malnutrition while promoting sustainable agriculture is an important step to achieve zero hunger (UNSustainable Development Goal: 2)and ushering in a new era of sustainable development. Given the mounting pressure on global ecosystems, the sustainable food production must be achieved for which agricultural extension could play a major role. Of late, extension systems in the developing nations are facing serious challenges where an effective extension system would play a significant role in development process by disseminating information, new technologies, innovative approaches by adopting innovative extension methods & tools, decentralization process and participatory approaches. In India, the intensive and indiscriminate usage of inputs such as fertilizers, pesticides, high yielding varieties and machinery had resulted in bio-system degradation, poor soil health, soil erosion, air and water pollution and depletion of natural resources. This after-effect, coupled with burgeoning population and decreasing irrigated area had complicated the situation, warranting an immediate solution for promotion of sustainable agriculture. There has been a growing realization that traditional extension models have not been sufficiently effective in promoting adoption of sustainable agricultural practices. Today’s agricultural extension need to take into consideration environmental implications, social issues and overall economic growth within the agriculture sector.
It is almost impossible to realize inclusive good agriculture in the absence of an efficient and effective extension system. Strenuous efforts are being made to raise productivity levels through effective extension-scientists-farmers contacts, improving out-reach capacity and focusing on electronic transfer of technology through manpower training and allocation of resources. Nevertheless, agriculture is in dire need of new extension models and approaches to overcome the futuristic challenges. Hence, global agricultural extension needs a complete transformation by reorienting the existing extension approaches and identifying alternative, sustainable approaches that are tailor-made to the needs of the society.
Keeping these views in mind, an International Conference on “Invigorating Transformation of Farm Extension towards Sustainable Development: Futuristic Challenges and Prospects” is planned and to be organized by the Extension Education Society, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore.
This conference will bring together leading academic scientists, researchers, extension functionaries, policy makers and other stakeholders. It will serve as a platform to have detailed interaction on the prevailing trends, concerns, practical challenges encountered and solutions adopted in the field of Agricultural Extension which includes merits and demerits of existing extension approaches across the world.
Extension Education Society
The Extension Education Society established in 1990, takes up various activities to promote the cause of Extension scientists in India by providing a platform for extension scientists in the country to meet periodically for discussion, exchange of information, findings and experiences on different aspects of agricultural extension. The Society works as an interface between researchers and the extension professionals. The Journal of Extension Education (JEE) is a peer-reviewed journal in the field of extension education published by the Extension Education Society (EES) since 1990. It publishes articles representing original work, analytical papers and papers grounded in theory in the field of Extension Education. The journal is published in both print and online versions and is available at www.extensioneducation.org