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Type: Thesis
Title: The Application of Participatory Extension through Agricultural Innovation Systems in the Middle East
Author: McDonough, Christopher Peter
Issue Date: 2019
School/Discipline: School of Agriculture, Food and Wine
Abstract: This thesis examines whether participatory extension approaches can be achieved in Middle Eastern countries within a supporting framework of Agricultural Innovation Systems (AIS), to enhance agricultural development and improve the living standards of rural communities. Middle Eastern agriculture is dominated by poor, small scale peasant farmers and government controlled agricultural advisory services, based on delivering top-down, predetermined messages through technology transfer demonstration models. Participatory extension approaches, however, involve farmers being consulted about their needs and engaging in the development of new technologies in ways that could best serve their rural communities. They empower people for change and give them ownership of sustained, practical outcomes. AIS recognise that modern extension needs to broaden its focus to support interactions between all stakeholders, creating an enabling context for innovation. Governments take pluralistic approach in facilitating sound opportunities within the marketing chain to achieve innovation and prosperity. AIS helps small farmers in poorer nations to collectively produce and market their goods. This qualitative research identified the key barriers for two Middle Eastern countries to engage in participatory extension and AIS using content analysis with a combination of data collection methods. This involved 96 researchers, extension workers, farmers and government officials directly involved in AusAID funded training and development projects in which the author was involved. Data from interviews, surveys and participant observation was analysed against existing literature. While many of the agricultural workers spoke about and supported the principles of participatory extension, it was inherently difficult for them to implement within these countries. This was mainly due to the hierarchal control with government systems, diminishing resources, and a lack of trusting and engaging relationships with farmers. There are many cultural leadership and management attributes identified that presented significant challenges to achieving participatory extension and AIS which is based on more Western thinking. However, there are also core beliefs and traditions within Middle Eastern culture that are supportive of participatory approaches for developing agriculture and enhancing rural societies. Examples of successful participatory approaches were evident in both countries and opportunities identified where taking an AIS approach could greatly assist agricultural development. This research concludes that participatory extension through AIS will not naturally occur with Middle Eastern government agricultural advisory services, but can be achieved where key leaders and outside influences are involved. It provides important recommendations for organisations undertaking agricultural development projects across this region. Modifications are needed to the way these models are approached within a “top-down” authoritarian structure, which can still achieve an inclusive engagement that builds the capacity of all stakeholders from below. By identifying the many challenges and barriers for organisations to successfully apply participatory extension within AIS frameworks into Middle Eastern Islamic cultures, it is hoped that new, more effective approaches can be developed in the future that will provide a better return on the investment of international Aid, and most importantly, increase the living standards of the rural poor across this region.
Advisor: Nuberg, Ian
Pitchford, Wayne
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, 2019
Keywords: Particpatory extension
agricultural innovation systems
Middle East
agricultural development
Provenance: This electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at:
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