The Best Handful of Tips 8 – Stimulating agriculture
Having run workshops in many Asian and Pacific countries on ways to stimulate food production I am now in a position to make five simple recommendations on ways to stimulate agriculture.
Each country is unique and must work things out for themselves but there are basic principles to be considered and if necessary, put in place.
Five of the best ways to stimulate agriculture
1. Set clear, realistic national goals
Clear, realistic national goals must be generated by national and provincial governments.
They need to make land available, promote land development , land-settlement schemes and sort out land -ownership rights.
They should budget to upgrade research and educational facilities and set up effective research, extension, communication and marketing services.
2. Establish farmer organisation and cooperatives to give a voice to help influence decision-makers
It is essential to involve organisations in planning to help minimise restrictions, red tape and corruption. The more you involve people the greater the chance they will support changes.
3. Organise markets so farmers get honest returns for their products
Make credit available for low-interest seasonal loans.
Make the best seeds and animals available at the lowest prices.
Develop new and better markets, processing and packaging of products.
4. Train more extension workers
To set up demonstration areas to show farmers the advantages of using new technology to stimulate production and bring them greater returns.
To bring groups of farmers together to share their farming experiences.
In Pacific and Asian countries there is a need for both male and female extension workers, to act as a link between farmers, scientists and specialists, such as soil, environmental scientists, entomologists and other specialists.
I believe the greatest need in agriculture is for more trained women extension workers. They can play a crucial role in food production especially with small animals, nutrition and family planning. Women farmers can be trained in financial planning and keeping farm records.
By helping women set up home industries they can add value to primary produces for local markets, thus helping to stop the population drift from rural to urban areas.
Scientist and extension leaders need to be trained in good management skills. Poor management skills can become a limiting factor in the effectiveness of extension workers.
5. Focus on the next generation
Raise educational standards. Start in the schools. Set up school farms. Train future farmers in modern farming ways.
Establish farming cadet schemes and rural training institutes based on sound practical skills.
Start young farmers clubs and farming competitions.
“With the growing world population increased food production is vital. It can help reduce wars because people with fully bellies don’t fight.”
“The key to success in agriculture production is to know the farmers needs and to satisfy them.”
Source: “Rolling On”, “A Workbook for Stimulating Agriculture” both published by Moss Associates, Ltd. mossassociates.co.nz. “Stimulating Agriculture, A manual for training agricultural extension worker” published by UNDP, “Stimulating Agriculture, Lessons from Asia and the Pacific” Occasional papers in rural extension, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada.