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Capacity Needs of Extension and Advisory Services (EAS) in South Asia

About 80% of South Asia’s poor live in rural areas.
Most depend on agriculture for their livelihood.
Agricultural and rural development is the key to
eradicating poverty and creating conditions for
sustainable and equitable growth in the region.
South Asian agriculture faces several new challenges
ranging from deteriorating natural resources base,
climate change and increasing de-regulation of
trade. Moreover, the sector is dominated by small
farmers often with weak bargaining powers and
limited political voice.
A pluralistic and demand driven extension provision,
that offers a much broader support to rural
producers, is critical for agricultural development
and poverty reduction in South Asia. Commitment
to pluralism is central to the discussion on extension
reform as it is now widely accepted that no single
actor or agency is best placed to offer the wide
range of services required by the rural communities.
Though South Asian countries have a long history
of organizing and reforming extension services,
much more needs to be done to strengthen their
capacities to deal with the rapidly evolving
challenges in agriculture.
One of the major priorities identified during the first
meeting of the AESA (Agricultural Extension in South
Asia) network was capacity development of EAS
providers. The first step in this direction was to
assess the capacity gaps among the EAS through
undertaking a capacity needs assessment at the
national level in select countries in the region.

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