Strengthening the extension services
By Asif Maqbool
Pakistanís economy has been diversified over the years but
agriculture still is the largest sector of the economy. With
its present 22 per cent share in the GDP, it accounts for
44.8 per cent of the total employed labour force. It serves
as the base sector for the countryís major industries like
textile and sugar and bulk of the exports.
also contributes to growth by providing raw materials, as
well as being a market for industrial products. What
happens, therefore, to agriculture is bound to have a
substantial impact on the overall growth GDP.
Pakistan has basic ingredients such as fertile land,
irrigation water, hard working farmers and certified seeds.
The need of the hour is to utilise these which can be
possible through proper policy- making.
Good management suffers due to the shortage of technical
expertise which mostly leads to the failure of our food
policy. Previous experience shows that the majority of
farmers failed in getting minimum ceiling price of wheat and
this created a big gap between the demand and supply thus
putting the country in the list of food deficient. Farmers
have not proper storage, packing and distribution
Agriculture is facing problems like low productivity, unfit
irrigation water, adulterated chemicals, non-availability of
modern technology etc. Here the extension workers can play
an active role if they carry out the following functions and
* Convince the farmers to implement latest technology.
* Provide necessary information to farming community.
* Exchange and discuss problems and suggesting remedial
Pakistan is a developing country and our farmers are yet to
comprehend the advancements taking place around the world as
they are illiterate. The extension worker should promote
agriculture and its allied industry in line with the WTO
rules and regulations.
Human resource development is the main tool for enhancing
agricultural productivity. It will not only increase the
resource base productivity but can also play a vital role in
reducing the pre and post-harvest losses, judicious use of
irrigation water, balanced fertilizers, and recommended
doses of pesticides and insecticides. It will reduce per
unit cost of output, vital for competing with other
For creating awareness about the WTO agenda among farming
community we need objective-oriented policies. They should
know about different agreements related to agriculture and
their responsibilities and how the new world trade order
will affect their profitability and how to it can enhance
the same. The role of extension workers need to be
reorganized. The government should provide them with the
facilities for performing their duties and allocate to them
Suggestions: The following suggestions are necessary for the
betterment of the present conditions of our traditional
farmers through the efforts of extension workers:
* The role of institutions is very crucial in this case. The
government should begin training programmes for extension
* The government should monitor extension workers performing
* Facilities such as motorcycle, fuel and other requirements
should be provided to them for visiting every farmer.
* Farmers should be persuaded to adopt the latest
techniques. Extension workers should motivate them by
estimating and presenting the profitability of new
* The ignorant farmers should be informed by the extension
worker about the use of ISO-certified products and the rules
and regulations of the WTO.
Courtesy: The DAWN