On the Path to Sustainable Agricultural Development: Enhancing Extension Agents’ Contribution

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The role of agricultural development agents in innovation-development efforts is very complex, and sometimes misunderstood not only by the general public, but also by the agents themselves. The paper describes common mistakes made in agricultural development programs, and discusses strategies and changes necessary in the education, operation, and management of agricultural extension agents to better address the needs and realities of the people and environments they are working with, and to improve their contribution to sustainable development. Among the most important transformations are 1) engaging in sound program development (e.g., analysis of situation, priority setting, design and implementation, and evaluation (Logic Model) (UW-E, 2003)); 2) adequately using participatory methods and better integrating extension efforts with local dynamics and Indigenous Knowledge Systems; 3) better understanding and addressing the pro-innovation bias and better preventing negative and unexpected consequences of development; 4) moving from a transfer of technology mindset to a co-creation of knowledge framework (Rölling, 2004); 5) creating and maintaining interdisciplinary work teams (including social scientists); and 6) integrating, collaborating, and working with people in all angles of the pyramids of access and power.


Keywords: Sustainable Agricultural Development, Extension Agent, Indigenous Knowledge Systems, Transfer of Technology, Interdisciplinary, Participatory Methods, Consequences, Change
Stream: Other
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: On the Path to Sustainable Agricultural Development: Enhancing Extension Agents’ Contribution


Dr. Maria Navarro

Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist, Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communication
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, The University of Georgia

Athens, Georgia, USA

Dr. Navarro is an Assistant Professor in the department of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communication at the University of Georgia (USA), where she teaches graduate and undergraduate courses dealing with international development, international agriculture, and program planning. Dr. Navarro conducts research in the areas of curriculum development, teaching methods, and international agriculture. She also works with Georgia’s Cooperative Extension, and participates in several local and international outreach projects. She has a BS in Agricultural Engineering from Spain and a PhD in Agricultural Education from Texas A&M University (USA). She also worked for six years at the International Center for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies as the Plant Production area coordinator, and has worked in several countries in Latin America, Southern Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East.

Ref: S08P0125