Various facets of agricultural extension modalities from modern to traditional, science and technology interventions, role of women, sustainability mechanisms and a whole lot more were shared and discussed by 13 speakers from 8 countries in the recently concluded FFTC-DOST-PCAARRD (Department of Science and Technology - Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development) joint videoconference on “Best Practices and Approaches on Agricultural Extension Modalities.”
The said videoconference, which was livestreamed in the Cisco Webex platform and the FFTC and PCAARRD Facebook pages, had no less than the Secretary of the Philippines’ Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Dr. Fortunato T. de la Peña, who spoke about the need to improve agricultural innovation system and the importance of greater investment in agricultural extension modalities.
Dr. Su-San Chang, Director of FFTC, says in her opening remarks that over the years, different countries have developed various agricultural extension modalities which were designed to enhance the transfer of technologies to small farmers and fisher folks. “They are diverse with their own peculiarities and complexities, and vary among countries depending on economic, social, cultural and historical factors.”
The 13 speakers who come from Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and Taiwan shared their experiences and presented different approaches on how they provided extension services in their countries. In the first session focusing on farm productivity, improved marketing and increase in income, Mr. Conrado Marquez, Director from Benguet State University (BSU), highlighted the importance of community and local government unit’s involvement in extension activities in the Philippines. Dr. Tzy-Ling Chen, Professor at the National Chung Hsing University, discussed Taiwan’s approach of facilitating access of youth to agriculture and rural development activities; while Ms. Jirapar Jomthaisong from Thailand’s Department of Agricultural Extension, professed the value of collective action in the form of cluster farm approach.
In another session focusing on increasing resiliency through disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation, Dr. Ruth Batani of BSU, discussed site-specific S&T based interventions in undulating and disaster prone areas in Northern Philippines. Dr. Toshikazu Hori, of the Institute of Rural Engineering, National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO), discussed how the application of ICT in the disaster prevention support system for irrigation pond works in Japan, enabling them to timely share disaster information relating to irrigation ponds in times of major disaster. Meanwhile, Dr. Tien-yin Chou, Dean of Feng-Chia University, in Taiwan, talked about how the application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) can make disaster information transparent and precise. In Vietnam, Dr. Pham Cong Ngiep, of the Center for Agrarian Systems and Research and Development discussed the Vietnamese modern extension systems like digital apps to help prevent disasters. On the other hand, Korea’s agricultural extension and global technology cooperation was presented by Mr. Yoo Sueng Oh of the Rural Development Administration (RDA).
In the last session on rural development especially for economically and / or socially disadvantaged areas, sociologist Anne Shangri-la Fuentes from the University of the Philippines in Mindanao, shared their lessons and experiences on the adoption of the Livelihood Improvement through Facilitated Extension or LIFE model in conflict-vulnerable communities in three provinces in Mindanao. Dr. Sheng-Jung Ou, Dean of Chaoyang University of Technology, discussed the Rural Community Enterprise Management Counseling Program in Taiwan. Dr. Dodik Nurrochmat, Professor of IPB University, presented Indonesia’s extension modalities focused on rural development especially for the smallholder farmers. Mr. Chanyut Parnutat, from Thailand’s Department of Agricultural Extension, presented how Thailand promotes Community Enterprise Development, and Mr. Mohd Nizam Mohd Nizat from the Malaysian Agricultural Development Institute (MARDI) discussed how Malaysia fosters agricultural entrepreneurship in elevating incomes and eradicating poverty through technology and innovation.
“Indeed, there is no blueprint or one-size-fits-all in the provision of extension services to the farmers,” says Dr. Reynaldo Ebora, Executive Director of DOST-PCAARRD in his closing reamrks. “One approach can be combined with one or two methods according to the principle of adaptability.”
More than 1,000 participants from different parts of the world registered and watched the videoconference in the Cisco Webex and the FFTC and PCAARRD Facebook pages. Aside from FFTC and DOST-PCAARRD, the National Taiwan Institute for Farmers Organization or NTIFO also partnered in the conduct of this videoconference, which was livestreamed simultaneously in both the English and Chinese languages. The full access to the paper and Powerpoint presentations of all the speakers can now be accessed on the FFTC website.