The Asian region, which covers some 46 countries, has been organized for the purpose of this WWES study of sub-regions into five sub-regions, namely: Central, East, South East, South, and West Asia.  The following summary covers South Asia.

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Introduction to the South Asia Sub-region

The South Asia sub-region covers nine countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Iran, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.

The South Asian countries are in flux.  Extension in a majority of the countries is still mainly run by public sector ministries, viz., Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Iran, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.  However, Bangladesh has developed a highly pluralistic extension system and India also has a decentralized, collaborative arrangement between the national government and the state governments regarding extension services.  At the same time, there are numerous NGOs and private entities providing advisory services to farmers in India via various means, including ICT.  Iran appears to be in the midst of moving toward a privatized extension arrangement. Pakistan, while primarily public sector oriented, includes private sector companies that provide specialized commodity extension delivery services. The private sector in Sri Lanka also appears to be developing extension operations, but there is still a public extension system. With the influx of NGOs and private companies, countries in South Asia are gradually moving toward pluralistic approaches to the provision of agricultural and rural development extension.

Trends

The South Asian sub-region is moving toward pluralistic agricultural extension and rural advisory services.  Of the nine countries in the sub-region, Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka possess pluralistic extension and rural service providers.  The public sector remains the dominant system of extension and rural advisory services in Afghanistan and Bhutan. Pakistan continues to be public sector led, although NGOs provide input into the system. Iran appears to be in transition from a purely public to a privatized system of agricultural and rural advisory services. The Maldives, while public sector dominant, received important contributions financial and in project development from international organizations.  Donors and other international organizations play important roles in developing and supporting extension services generally in the South Asia sub-region. The USAID and its U.S. based international organizations are especially prominent in Afghanistan and Nepal.  ICT complements traditional extension services in Bangladesh, India, and Nepal and is developing in Bhutan, Iran and Pakistan.

Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka are the outstanding pluralistic agricultural extension systems in the South Asia sub-region, as they include a host of organizations and international entities carrying out diverse projects along with international NGOs and farmer associations.  India’s federal union of twenty-eight states and seven union territories is comprised of various national agencies, such as the ATMA’s and KVKs at the district level, as well as the various state agricultural universities, and numerous INGOs and NGOs.  Nonetheless, the trend toward pluralistic approaches to the provision of agricultural extension and rural advisory services appears to be solidly advanced in South Asia countries.

Summary

Pluralistic extension arrangements are developing widely in the South Asian sub-region, especially notable in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Some countries in the sub-region appear to be in flux, specifically Iran, Maldives and Pakistan.  Afghanistan and Bhutan have yet to adopt or develop a pluralistic approach to providing extension and rural advisory services. Bangladesh has developed a highly pluralistic extension system.  India is a special case in part because of its size; the extension system is a decentralized, collaborative arrangement between the national government and the states regarding extension services; at the same time there are numerous NGOs and private entities providing advisory services to farmers via various means, including ICT.  Iran appears to be in the midst of moving toward a privatized extension arrangement. Pakistan, while primarily public sector oriented, includes many private sector companies that provide extension delivery services. The private sector in Sri Lanka also contributes to the provision of extension operations. South Asia demonstrates a growing development of donors, NGOs, farmer associations and private companies.  The sub-region is indicative of the worldwide trend toward the advancement of pluralistic extension systems for the provision for agricultural and rural development.

For references and resources see the specific country.