From the Editor
The articles in this issue offer interesting author perspectives and research findings, and abstracts chosen from the European Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension.
Two articles by Falvey (co-author) at the front of the features section focus on agricultural knowledge systems (AKS) from an organization and an asset management dimension. In the first article, Falvey and Forno maintain that organizational arrangements are a mix of history and circumstance-suited rationalizations. They describe two common management and fiscal systems of agricultural research, education and extension found in the world - the integrated system typified by US land grant colleges, and the segregated system in less developed countries wherein research organizations are often separated from universities and extension agencies. The authors contend that better linkages need to be forged in the latter system and suggest strategies for doing that. The second article by Falvey, co-authored with Maguire, focuses on the research component of AKS, and highlights the need to ensure a continuous supply of well- trained researchers as a fundamental human resource asset. They maintain that useful mechanisms to foster linkages between universities training future researchers and research institutions in less developed countries is critical to fulfilling this need in an appropriate manner. The authors suggest that such mechanisms may be found in more developed countries which have institutionally separated systems rather than in the institutionally integrated US land grant system.
Five research studies from different regions of the world also included in the features section deal with specific aspects of AKS functioning.
From his research in Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean, Dolly finds that extension workers and farmers are closer in their views of a new pigeon pea cultivar's attributes than either of them are to researchers, and recommends integrated, interactive involvement of researchers, extension workers and farmers in the effective development, transfer and use of this technology.
Three studies focus on extension in Africa. Two studies assess the effectiveness of the Training and Visit Extension System (T&V), the third study documents extension administrators’ views of their job.
Tchouama and Steele report rather discouraging results of five years of T&V implementation in the West Province of Cameroon, and recommend replacing it with a more participatory approach that would facilitate joint problem solving and farmer-to-farmer sharing of expertise and resources. Douglah and Sicilima compare the government-sponsored T&V and the NGO-based Sasakawa Global 2000 extension approaches in Tanzania to find that neither approach employed genuine farmer participatory practices in programming activities. Agunga, Ojomo and Na find that despite adverse economic and working conditions, and feelings of frustration and stress, middle-level district extension administrators take pride in and derive social status and prestige from their job.
Shifting focus to the U.S., Sammons and Martin add to our knowledge of the theme of internationalizing college agricultural curricula, a topic that continues to interest agricultural and extension educators and our association. From the undergraduate students' perspective, the authors find support for the idea, identify significant barriers to progress, and make several recommendations, including internationalizing existing courses, encouraging students to participate in international activities, and getting faculty to become more global in their teaching.
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In the commentary section, Diamond provides his thoughts on the implications of consultancy in international agricultural development and makes interesting and useful suggestions for both the neophyte and the experienced consultant. In the second commentary article, Radhakrishna uses census data and published literature to describe rural socio-economic trends and changes in India in the last four decades. He suggests that agricultural extension will have to respond through programs focused on issues arising from land fragmentation, subdivision and consolidation, and a multi-disciplinary orientation to problem- solving.
In a collaborative arrangement with the European Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension (EJAEE), the Tools of the Profession section will carry from time to time abstracts of selected articles from that journal to complement our material. We begin this collaboration with five abstracts chosen from EJAEE which expand upon this issue's themes of globalization, agricultural knowledge systems, extension and participation. EJAEE will reciprocate by featuring articles from our journal. We believe this arrangement will benefit the readership of both journals.
Ed Ruddell has worked with World Neighbors, a non-governmental organization, in Bolivia for over 25 years. In 1989, Ed was inducted into the Order of Education by the Government of Bolivia for his many years of service to that nation. He represents Central/South America on the editorial board of the journal. Ed attended the World Food Summit in Rome, November 11-16, 1996, and shares this report of significant things that happened at the summit. You are invited to give your experiences of the summit, if you attended, or your views on the summit, and underlying issues of population, food and hunger, and poverty, which continue to face humanity. In this way we can generate a continuing dialogue in the commentary section of the journal based on your experiences, views and opinions on this critical topic. The editorial board hopes you will contribute.
World Food Summit by Ed Ruddell (World Neighbors-Andean Area)
Leaders from 186 nations participating in the World Food Summit pledged their “political will and common and national commitment” to halve the number of hungry people in the world by the year 2015. Characterizing the current figure of 800 million malnourished people in the world as “intolerable”, the “Rome Declaration” was approved by summit participants as a non-binding document. The declaration cites barriers preventing basic food needs from being met, and calls for urgent, determined and concerted action, particularly in light of anticipated increase in the world's population and stress on natural resources.
In the declaration's plan of action, the objective of technology transfer and use, skills development and training to enhance food security is important for AIAEE. The plan envisions that governments, in partnership with “all actors of civil society”, will (a) strengthen agriculture, fisheries and forestry education, skills development and extension systems, (b) promote viable technology transfer that meets local needs, and (c) promote means to reduce women farmers' workload.
World Bank President Hans Wolfensohn in his speech to the summit said “...food production and rural well- being are not peripheral, we must place them at the center of the national and international agendas.” He committed to reverse the decade-long decline in the Bank's support for agriculture and rural development. “We are taking action, and we are taking it now”, he pledged.
An NGO forum, attended by 1,200 organizations from 80 countries, forwarded to the summit the following recommendations to enhance food security: (a) strengthening capacity of small producers, women and youth, local and regional food systems, (b) redressing negative effects of concentrated wealth and power, (c) modeling agriculture and food production systems on agro-ecological principles, (d) strengthening and
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deepening participation of civil society (people) at all levels, (e) guaranteeing by international law the right to food, and (f) vesting in governments and states the prime responsibility for ensuring food security.
FAO published three volumes of technical papers presented at the summit on 15 topics dealing with various aspects of food security, including socio-political and economic environments, population growth, nutrition, marketing, processing and distribution, trade, research, and environmental protection.
FAO Director General Jacques Diouf was critical of world governments' acceptance without compunction of reduction in the budget of the United Nations even as that organization strives to enhance food security and reduce malnutrition. On November 13, 1996, the International Herald Tribune remarked “The tools to end poverty and hunger exist. What is needed is the political will to use them.”
The admonition of Mahatma Gandhi is wisdom itself: “Recall the face of the poorest and weakest man whom you have seen and ask yourself if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him. Will it restore to him control over his life and destiny”? Only then will the world be better prepared to welcome the anticipated 3.3 billion newcomers to our global village by the year 2025.