Agricultural Extension Approach for Bangladesh Based on Field Experiences
Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) has been providing agricultural extension service in the country since division of the Bengal after the British rule. The earlier approach was a face to face dialogue between the extension worker and the farmers. DAE followed a top-down approach of technology delivery that seldom satisfied farmer’s demand and thus failed to create desired impact. DAE started reforming the extension approaches and methodologies during 1970-1980 through the introduction of a system called Training and Visit (T&V). The system improved the service delivery to some extent yet failed to fulfil farmer’s needs because of the topdown approach. A second reform started through introduction of the group approach in the mid-nineties and a policy document called New Agricultural Extension Policy (NAEP) was formulated in 1996. The system included a bottom up planning and working with gender balanced group and public-private sectors partnership. Because of some inherent weaknesses in the managerial level NAEP soon became nonfunctional and died after discontinuation of the donor-funding. Recent changes being tried to ensure farmer participation right from the planning process through formation of Common Interest Group (CIG). This failed to serve a heterogeneous group of farmers and thus narrowed down the scope for reaching larger groups. Therefore, new approaches have been tried in delivering extension services by IRRI since early eighties and by the author during last decade. These have been elaborated in this document. The approach tried to transform the farming system from the subsistence level to an enterprise level. The approach proved successful due mainly to efficient resolution of conflicts among the various interest groups in the society, ensured participation of all categories of farmers of the society in all stages of planning and execution of farming activities and thus farmers own all the farming activities.