nepalAn institutionalized agricultural extension service in Nepal began with Indian and American support in 1951 soon after the fall of the Rana Regime, and the creation in 1955 of the Department of Agriculture (DOA) under which a fully responsible Extension Division was operational through network of zonal extension offices (Ganesh Kumar et al. 2003). Between 1966 and 1995, DOA underwent a series of reorganizations through splits and mergers to form two departments (Departments of Agriculture and the Department of Livestock and Services) under which the extension services are operating today. During these years of organized extension services, Nepal witnessed several shifts in approaches to extension from the fertilizer-based green revolution type technology extension approach based on resourceful farmers, to the World Bank T&V approach in three districts of Nepal. Most of these agricultural extension delivery models were top-down in nature, and educational programs and services were planned at the DOA or Department of Livestock Services (DLS) headquarters. At present most extension activities are planned at the district level (MEAS, 2011).

History

A Brief History of Public Extension Policies, Resources and Advisory Activities

 Agriculture in Nepal is unique in many ways; particularly it is blessed with the uniqueness of its diversity and climate favorable to grow almost all plant and animal species of economic importance. Socioeconomically, it is basically organized into family farms (2.7 million holdings, with average holding size of 0.96 ha), where production is still predominantly subsistent, far away from the goal of commercialization to join hands with their counterparts in the developed and fast developing economies (Ganesh Kumar et al. 2003). Nepal’s progress to improve agricultural productivity and enhance food security has been slow. A decade long (1996-2006) political unrest in the country affected the overall development, weak program and policy, particularly the weak agricultural education, research and extension system is attributed to this snail paced agricultural development.

Nepal has pluralistic extension services where the role of private sector organizations and NGOs has become synergistic to public sector interventions. His Majesty’s Government of Nepal has strongly pushed policy of entrusting most development programs to local bodies in line with Local Self-Governance Act of 1998 by devolution of responsibility and accountability. Partnership with non-governmental organizations, private sector institutions and farmer organizations is being encouraged for efficient delivery of agricultural services. Public-private partnerships are being encouraged to augment the process of technology development, technology transfer and agricultural marketing, and legal institutions facilitating such endeavors is being reviewed and acted (Ganesh Kumar et al. 2003). As a result and in addition to DOA and DLS, many Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Community Based Organizations (CBOs) offer education and training to farmers. Private sector engagement in extension is limited but growing. Development practitioners argue for privatization of extension services as a means to enhance efficiency and speed in enhancing food security, and it is alleged that private firms, including NGOs, may offer timely delivery of agricultural input such as improved seed, pesticides, fertilizer, and farming equipment. However, considering the context in a less developed country like Nepal, there are concerned about the timely delivery of quality input services by private firms.

At the national level, Nepal public extension comprises 2,606 staff members and is managed by a team of 184 senior staff according to the MEAS report (2011). Fourteen staff member have a PhD degree and one was trained at master degree level. Women account for 8.7 percent of senior management staff.  There are 511 subject matter specialists to provide backstopping support to the field staff, one of them has a terminal degree (PhD) and 98 percent are trained at the bachelor and master degree levels. Only 7 percent of subject matter specialists are female.  Field level extension workers constitute the bulk of staff (73%), with more than 98 percent of them holding a 2 to 3 year agricultural diploma or less, and less than 8 percent are female. There are two other groups of workers: Information, Communication & Technology (ICT) Support Staff and In-Service Training Staff. The MEAS report indicated that the public sector does not employ in-service training staff and ICT support services (Table 1)

Table 1: Human Resources in the Public Extension Service in Nepal (Government or Ministry -based Extension Organization)

Major Categories of Extension Staff

Secondary School diploma

2-3 yr. Ag diploma

B.Sc. degree

M.Sc./Ing. Agr. degree

Ph.D. degree

Gender

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

Senior Management Staff

         

11

15

144

1

13

Subject Matter Specialists (SMS)

     

10

26

328

10

136

 

1

Field Level Extension Staff

81

847

68

893

3

19

       

Information, Communications & Technology (ICT) Support Staff

                   

In-Service Training Staff

                   

Total Extension Staff:   2,606                  

81

847

68

903

29

358

25

280

1

14

Source: IFPRI/FAO/IICA Worldwide Extension Study, 2011

Add comment


Security code
Refresh