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Hacking Through Extension Development

(Take-home Mid-Term Task. By: Yoga Setiawan)

Extension is means of spreading and enlarging useful knowledge (Daosukho Sukhoti). It is also the involvement of a person to knowingly conduct informal communications with the goal of helping each other to give an opinion that can make the right decision (A.W.Van Den Ban & H.S.Hawkins 1996). The purpose of agricultural extension is in order to produce human resources who are competent actors in agricultural development that can develop into a strong agricultural business, better farming, better bussines, better living and a healthier environment (Indonesian Agriculture Department).

The indicator of success can be seen from the number of farmers, agricultural entrepreneurs and agricultural merchant who is able to manage and move their business independently, the strength of food security, the growth of medium-scale household-based agricultural enterprises. In the effort to achieve that all we need the implementation of good agricultural extension, the institution, competent workforce, clear mechanisms and working procedures that including supervision, monitoring and evaluation of effective and adequate financing.

However, in its implementation there are still many shortcomings in both the production sector and the supporting sector, so that the objectives of agricultural extension above still not being met. This time we will expose some weaknesses in agricultural extension.

1. Political System

Corruptions

Corruption holds the first rank in political issues. Corruption brings negativity impact on sustainable development, including agricultural development. Various means of production, such as fertilizers, seeds, agricultural infrastructure and equipments that supplied by the government decreased in quantity and quality, so the quantity and quality of agricultural products will decrease, including farmer’s income.

Deviation in Organisational Goals

Some of the objectives of agricultural extension has been distorted, one of which is the goal of extension as a problem solver. Nowaday this extension is no longer aim to solve the problem, but to increase production. These deviations lead to problems that should be solved completely but only be solved partially.

Not Well-Organize Institution

Well setting in an institution or organization affects to the coordination among its members. Coordination will create a very effective and efficient performance. One of extension shortcomings is a poor coordination, both among members and between other institutions that support each other, eventually the process of extension is not running optimally.

 

2. Production System

Small Scale Production

Some farmers, especially in Indonesia do not have large area. They only have about 200 m2 of land per person, so even with the advanced technology, their production can not be maximized. Therefore, it needs an organization that can unity land owners to expand the acreage land.

Land Conversion

Most of the fertile land, especially paddy field, have converted into residential area and highway. These conversions affected in reduced cropping area, thereby reducing the amount of global production, especially the land which are converted are fertile and strategic lands. Ekstensification as an effort to keep the amount of production still can not optimal due to fertile lands  which has been converted is still no replacement.

Limitations of irrigation water

Water as one of the input has a very vital role for production. Limitations of water will disrupt the process of production, even production can not run. Currently water is very rare to get. Some paddy field which requires a lot of water for its production are not getting enough water so that the total production will be reduced, even plant failure. Some land is also only rely on rainwater as a source of irrigation. It can not sufficient water needs in one planting period. Therefore we need a good water management so that all the land can be irrigated adequately.

Scarcity and high prices of fertilizer

Beside water, fertilizer also has a very important role in the production process. Without fertilizer, production will decline drastically. Amount of fertilizer is decrease while increasing fertilizer demand due to the deterioration of soil fertility. Because of this scarcity and shortages, many farmers are only using half of the fertilizer needs of fertilizers should be given, resulting in decreased production quantities. Fertilizer subsidy by the government still can not run efectively for several reasons, including corruption. We hope this problem of fertilizer can be resolved.

 

3. Social System

Lack of Instructor Knowledge

Some trainers still not very competent in the field of counseling, both in agricultural sciences or science of education. Some of them are just learning from past experience, regardless of the circumstances of today’s new technologies. Consequently, their knowledge is same as farmers’s knowledge, so they do not give any change for farmers.

Lack of Human Resources

Agricultural extension organizations are still largely the lack of human resources (instructors). Sometimes an instructor holding a very large area so he can not solve all the problems. Therefore, it still needs more educators to highlight the issue of human resource shortages can be resolved.

Lack of Motivation

Motivation is how to get people to try. Most farmers lack the motivation to change behavior because it clashed with other motivations. Most of them still want to retain the old ways and reject the technology.

No Power Instructor

Instructor as an information provider does not have the power to change the habits of the farmer or the policies of government. He is only tasked to solve farmers’ problems, whereas the changes can only be done by the farmers themselves.

 

4. Economic System

Poverty

Poverty is the root of the financial problems experienced by farmers. Poverty led to insufficient capital resources that should be used farmers in the production process, for the result, farmers can not achieve maximum production. Poverty will lead to a chain, when the production falls, the amount of next capital will be decrease and so on.

Difficult in Borrowing Capital

One way to break the chains of lack of capital resources is by borrowing. Easy and light Loans are needed by farmers. However, such loans are very rare. Farmers feel very difficult to get a loan like that, so they remain in the chains of poverty.

Fluctuations in Price of Agricultural Products

Another issue is the fluctuation in the economy of agricultural commodities, sometimes high sometimes low. Price uncertainty can be detrimental to farmers. In the early growing season of high prices, while low prices at harvest. Farmers will lose a lot of capital because he does not get much profit from products sold.

Sources:

A.W.Van Den Ban & H.S.Hawkins.1996.Agricultural Extension.Oxford:Blackwell Science.
Daosukho Sukhoti. Extension Concepts and Phylosophy

Yoga Setiawan on  Extension Development

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