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Communication for strengthening agricultural extension and rural development in Malawi

R Agunga
L Z Manda


Smallholder farmers in Malawi account for over 80 percent of the population and if the country is to achieve food security, poverty reduction and sustainable development attention to agricultural extension is a sine qua non. Since 2000, Malawi introduced extension reforms to better serve the needs of smallholder farmers. Some of the agricultural and rural development programs are quite complex, but as this study found, training to cope with their sophistication is lacking. Further, though extension workers are asked to facilitate entire development interventions, their training remains primarily in agriculture. This paper argues that extension workers need training in Communication for Development (C4D), an emerging body of knowledge for addressing problems, such as participation, integration and capacity building for them to relate more effectively with development partners. Thus, this paper proposes a C4D framework for strengthening extension in Malawi and encourages the Government of Malawi to trial this concept.

Key words: Extension education, pluralistic and demand-driven extension, poverty reduction, sustainable development, extension theory and policy, communication for development, world bank