Feed the Future
This project is part of the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative.

Options and Strategies for Information and Communication Technologies within Agricultural Extension and Advisory Services

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Date Published: 
March 29, 2013

The term “ICT” has been around since the 1980s, when it was popularized in the United Kingdom. ICT is different from information technology (IT) because it stresses the role of communications and the integration of telecommunications networks and computer networks.

The communications component is critical when designing and delivering technology that is meant to widen dissemination among communities, deepen understanding for individuals and increase democratization of information which allows more people to provide and access information.

This discussion paper will cover the important role of ICT in the provision of extension and advisory services (EAS). EAS have been defined as “the dissemination of expert agriculture knowledge and practices” (Toyama, 2011). The communication from extension and advisory services is complex because it comes from many sources -- government, universities, NGOs, private sector companies -- and it involves not just information but hands-on communication. Many of the farmers who need to be served in developing countries are illiterate. The information conveyed through extension consists of data (information), knowledge (simple skills), training (advanced skills and techniques) and education (where use of information requires critical thinking). ... (read more in the document) 

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The Modernizing Extension and Advisory Services (MEAS) Discussion Paper series is designed to further the comparative analysis and learning from international extension efforts.  The papers contain a review of extension and advisory service best practices drawn from the global body of experience in successfully reaching resource-limited farmers.  The papers identify the underlying principles associated with high levels of success in reaching women and men farmers and how, in differing contexts, these core principles have been successfully adapted to fit local conditions in establishing productive, profitable and sustainable relationships with individual producers, producer groups, the private sector and associated research and education institutions.

The series, and the companion MEAS Working Papers, include papers on a wide range of topics, such as the realities of pluralistic extension provisioning, sustainable financing, human resource development, the role of farmer organizations, linking farmers to markets, the importance of gender, health and nutrition, use of information and communication technologies and climate change adaptation.  The papers target policy makers, donor agency and project staff, researchers, teachers and international development practitioners.  All papers are available for download from the MEAS project website, www.meas-extension.org.

The Editors,
Brent M. Simpson, Michigan State University, and
Paul McNamara, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign