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Here we define methods as specific tools or mechanisms to achieve a programme goal. This section describes a number of extension methods, their strengths and weaknesses, implications for gender and marginalised groups, cost implications where known, best-fit considerations, and sustainability.

Extension methods can be divided into individual approaches (one-on-one advisory services either face-to-face, by telephone, or via the internet) and group approaches. Group approaches, which include

demonstrations and mass media, are used by methods such as FFS. They are more cost-effective than individual approaches. However, many farmers do need individual advice.

Mass media

Mass media approaches include leaflets, pamphlets, posters, radio (Note 18), television (Note 22), websites (Note 16), and text or audio messages via mobile phones (Notes 3 and Note 17). Mass media can reach many people at little cost. However, it is difficult to communicate complex information via mass media; they work better with simple messages. Also, some people (especially women) do not have access to mass media, or cannot read or speak the language used.


Crops and practices can be demonstrated in a farmer’s field, on a research station, or at an agricultural show or fair. While demonstrations can be convincing, there are drawbacks. One is that people must be present to see them; another is that people may feel unable to follow suit because they don’t have the resources.

One way to deal with this is to hold demonstrations by farmers on their own fields. This is especially useful when trying to reach women and other marginalised groups.

Demonstrations can be quite expensive in terms of setting up the practice and bringing people to the site; and they have little sustainability unless they are permanent fixtures on farmers’ fields.