Reforming Agricultural Extension in Bangladesh: Blending Greater Participation and Sustainability with Institutional Strengthening

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The limited effectiveness of the Training and Visit (T&V) system of extension in sustaining agricultural growth, combined with concerns about sustainability and pressures towards greater participation by farmers and the private sector, have stimulated major reconsideration of extension strategies in Bangladesh. This paper offers a conceptual framework for assessing the coherence, performance and sustainability of extension strategies. Subsequent sections review changes in agricultural production and productivity in the past two decades. Evidence of the contribution of extension is mainly circumstantial. The final section of the paper examines the major features of the new extension which include: decentralisation within the Department of Agricultural Extension; the use of groups in communications with farming communities; and greater efforts to assess farmers' needs and to tailor messages. The paper concludes that although these reforms are steps in the right direction, the strategy appears to be based upon unrealistic assumptions regarding the willingness and ability of different organisations to make changes and work together.

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Journal Title: 
ODI Agricultural Research and Extension Network Papers
No. 61