Rural Innovations and Agricultural Extension

The current growing demand for food in a changing global agricultural context demands innovative approaches that are environmentally, economically and socially sustainable with respect to food production, processes, distribution and access. The promise of the new transformative agriculture is founded on innovations resulting from coordinated actions of multiple stakeholders including farmers, researchers, extension, private sector and the civil society organizations. Many developing countries are constrained by inadequate professionals with trans-disciplinary skills and integrated perspectives that will effectively engage multiple actors in the agricultural transformation agenda in order to drive their economic development. It is particularly urgent for such countries, to reform and evolve their agricultural innovation and extension systems.

The conventional disciplinary oriented agricultural training used in most African universities is out of phase with the new pluralist extension and innovation systems development paradigm that has demonstrated greater potential to address the multi-dimensional and complex challenges of poverty reduction and food insecurity.