Pluralistic strategies in agricultural extension


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This article was written by Jyoti Vishwakarma, Assistant Professor, School of Agricultural Sciences, Raffles University, Neemrana, and Vishal Yadav, Research Scholar, Department of Extension Education, College of Agriculture, ANDUA&T., Ayodhya.

A representational image.  (Photo courtesy: Unsplash)
A representational image. (Photo courtesy: Unsplash)

Access to reliable and readily available agricultural extension services has been an unwavering driver of rural poverty alleviation. Rising growth rates, which have resulted in population growth, rapidly increasing fluctuations in technology use, substantial increases in livelihood concerns, and the effects of climate change, require a comprehensive and urgent analysis of current perspectives. The need is emphasized. Extended service delivery.

The provision of extension services to a community by a number of different extension service providers is called a pluralistic extension system.


  • Abundance of Extension Providers:

Pluralism supports a diverse set of extension providers, including government agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), farmer groups, private firms, and community-based organizations, to be involved in extension services. As a result of this diversification, farmers can access a much wider range of information and resources.

  • Active Participatory Learning:

Plurilateral extension promotes active participation of farmers in decision-making processes and knowledge sharing. Participatory methods such as farmer field schools, community training sessions, and collaborative learning are promoted.

Rather than making blanket recommendations, a pluralistic approach customizes advice and strategies to the specific needs and available resources of individual farmers and farming communities.

Pluralism recognizes the importance of local settings in agriculture. It considers environmental resources, cultural factors, and social factors that influence agricultural practices and tailors extension services accordingly.

Advantages of pluralistic approach:

  1. More farmers, especially those in remote or marginalized areas, can access knowledge and support through diverse extension services and practices.
  2. Pluralism fosters innovation by encouraging the sharing of ideas and practices among actors providing extension services, resulting in increased adoption and use of new technologies and practices.
  3. Farmers who are provided with diversified extension services are better positioned to adjust to changing climatic conditions and market dynamics, thereby increasing their resilience.
  4. A pluralistic approach increases farmers’ ability to make sound choices about agricultural practices by involving them in the decision-making process.


Agricultural extension is critical to improving agricultural productivity, environmental sustainability, and rural development. Top-down, government-driven approaches have consistently governed extension services. The limited number of extension workers in the public sector and the ever-increasing population of the farming community are greatly affecting extension services. Therefore, between different farming systems, changing agrarian settings, and expanding social demands, the limits of earlier expansion strategies have become increasingly apparent. In response to these concerns, a pluralist approach to agricultural expansion has emerged as a possible option.

A pluralistic extension system will not only help reduce the gap in the ratio of farmers to extension workers, but also help reduce the economic burden on the national government.

First Published: 23 Sep 2023, 17:06 IST

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