By William McLeod Rivera
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Extra resources for Agricultural Extension, Rural Development and the Food Security Challenge
A multi-sectoral extension strategy and network of providers covering both agricultural and non-agricultural extension, involving different agencies and organizations, is necessary. A separate or integrated extension staff, one part of which is dedicated to agricultural activities and the other involved in non-agricultural activities, could be established in the near future. One answer–as a first step–is development of a communication strategy that operates to serve both of these two major populations in rural areas: the people who work the land for a living and those who do not.
Each country will likely have a diverse set of national and transnational companies and third-sector organizations that may be part of a multisectoral network for public sector extension development. An insidious problem is how to reverse the topdown attitude of extension agents and managers toward farmer groups in need of food security. Some of them hold the view that resource poor farmers are ignorant and incapable of managing production technologies and financial resources. These managers and 40 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS extension agents think that as professionals they have the answers to all the farmers' problems.
When they survive, the people in these households devote much of their time to just staying alive. What can be done that is not already being done? Clearly agricultural enterprise represents only one pathway to rural development. Thus, rural extension activities are needed in addition to agricultural extension to serve non-agricultural clientele. The State of Food and Agriculture 2000 (FAO 2002) asserts: "Reducing poverty and food insecurity involves enhancement of agricultural productivity and production, and income generation among producers as well as among those in rural areas who do not work the land.