Front Cover
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Module 8: Research-extension...
 Session 1: Research-extension...
 Back Cover

Group Title: Management of agricultural research : a training manual
Title: Management of agricultural research
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00084651/00009
 Material Information
Title: Management of agricultural research a training manual
Physical Description: 11 v. : ; 30 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Asopa, V. N
Beye, Gora
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Publisher: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Place of Publication: Rome
Publication Date: 1997
Subject: Agriculture -- Research -- Management -- Developing countries   ( lcsh )
Agricultural research managers -- Developing countries   ( lcsh )
Genre: international intergovernmental publication   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Statement of Responsibility: prepared by V.N. Asopa and G. Beye.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00084651
Volume ID: VID00009
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 39160428
lccn - 98210567
isbn - 9251040915 (module 1)

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Title Page
        Page i
        Page ii
        Page iii
        Page iv
    Table of Contents
        Page v
        Page vi
        Page vii
        Page viii
    Module 8: Research-extension linkage
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Session 1: Research-extension linkage
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Session guide
            Page 5
            Page 6
            Page 7
            Page 8
            Page 9
            Page 10
            Page 11
            Page 12
            Page 13
            Page 14
            Page 15
            Page 16
            Page 17
            Page 18
            Page 19
            Page 20
            Page 21
            Page 22
            Page 23
            Page 24
            Page 25
            Page 26
            Page 27
            Page 28
            Page 29
            Page 30
            Page 31
            Page 32
            Page 33
            Page 34
            Page 35
            Page 36
            Page 37
            Page 38
            Page 39
            Page 40
            Page 41
            Page 42
            Page 43
            Page 44
            Page 45
            Page 46
            Page 47
            Page 48
        Reading note
            Page 49
            Page 50
            Page 51
            Page 52
            Page 53
            Page 54
            Page 55
            Page 56
            Page 57
            Page 58
            Page 59
            Page 60
            Page 61
            Page 62
            Page 63
            Page 64
            Page 65
            Page 66
            Page 67
            Page 68
            Page 69
            Page 70
    Back Cover
        Page 71
Full Text


'";`:*:. Q
i 81K 0J



Prepared by
V.N. Asopa
Indian Institute of Management
G. Beye
Research and Technology Development Service
Research, Extension and Training Division, FAO

Rome, 1997

ISBN 92-5-104098-2

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a
retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic,
mechanical, photocopying or otherwise, without the prior permission of the
copyright owner. Applications for such permission, with a statement of the
purpose and extent of the reproduction, should be addressed to the Director,
Information Division, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Viale
delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy.

FAO 1997

The designations employed and the presentation of material in this
publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever
on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United
Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or
area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its
frontiers or boundaries.


There has been a tremendous development of agricultural research in developing countries
over the past few decades, during which time investment in agricultural research from both
national resources and international assistance has increased markedly. However, agricultural
research institutions are generally managed by veteran agricultural research workers promoted
for seniority rather than for management training and skills. Further, there are few courses
available on the management of agricultural research, and solutions and models used in the
developed world may not be appropriate for developing countries.
FAO has actively participated in strengthening the national agricultural research
systems of developing countries, and has stressed the importance of effective organization and
management for efficient research systems. The need for training in this area is great, and
resources particularly trained human resources are limited. FAO has therefore developed
a training programme on agricultural research management to support the training of trainers,
with the expectation of a multiplier effect, and to facilitate a common perception of the
structure and terminology of management, thus enhancing communication and understanding
among agricultural research managers in discussing management problems, solutions and
This training manual has been prepared as a basic reference resource for national
trainers, to help them structure and conduct their own courses on management at the institute
level. A separate manual will cover project and programme management. This manual is
based on the four structural functions of management: planning, organizing, monitoring and
controlling, and evaluating, each of which is covered in individual modules. Within each
module, the manual addresses pervasive management functions, including motivating,
leading, directing, priority setting, communicating and delegating, which are at all times a
concern to all managers. Topics such as leadership, motivation, human resources
management, policies and procedures are treated separately in individual sessions.
This manual as been designed for participatory learning through case studies, group
exercises, presentations by the participants and participatory lectures. Throughout the
manual, particular effort has been made to use the cases studied to capture the unique and
rich experience of developing country research managers in tackling policy, programme and
the day-to-day problems of managing research institutions and systems.
This publication is intended primarily for managers of agricultural research institutes
in developing countries and for higher education institutions interested in launching in-service
training courses on research management. However, it is hoped that agricultural research
managers everywhere will also find it useful. The manual provides a course structure with
contents that can be built upon and enriched. Users are therefore encouraged to send
suggestions for its improvement.

Louise O. Fresco


Research, Extension and Training Division

iv Module 8 Single Session Research-extension linkage


The task of preparing a training manual on Agricultural Research Institute Management began
with the FAO Expert Consultation on Strategies for Research Management Training in
Africa, held at the International Livestock Centre for Africa (ILCA), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia,
12-16 December 1983. Following the recommendations of the consultation, and on the basis
of the curriculum design adopted, FAO embarked upon the preparation of this manual. In
the process of its preparation, many agricultural research managers and management
specialists have contributed. Besides the two main consultants, namely Dr Ronald P. Black,
Denver Research Institute, University of Denver, USA, who prepared the first draft, and Dr
V.N. Asopa, Professor at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, India, who
prepared the current version of the manual, the contribution of the following specialists in
various fields must be singled out: Ramesh Bhat, J. Casas, A.K. Jain, F.S. Kanwar,
V. Martinson, Gopal Naik, P. Nath, R.K. Patel, T.P. Rama Rao, S.K. Sharma,
E.S. Tayengco, and J.S. Woolston. FAO expresses its gratitude to them all.

Special thanks are due to the International Service for National Agricultural Research
(ISNAR), which has willingly made available its valuable experience and relevant materials
throughout the preparation of the manual.

FAO also thanks all those authors and publishers who have allowed the use of
copyright material from their publications, even though the courtesy is recognized in each

This manual has been prepared under the responsibility of the Research Development
Centre, Research and Technology Development Division, FAO, with the guidance of:
Mohamed S. Zehni, former Director; and J.H. Monyo, E. Venezian and B. Miller-Haye,
past Chiefs, Research Development Centre. Scientific supervision was provided by G. Beye,
Senior Officer, now Chief, Research Technology Development Service.

Training manual for institute management

Previous Modules were:

Appendix 1 Management orientation and decision making
Appendix 2 Case method
Appendix 3 Summary of course contents
Appendix 4 Illustrative schedule for a workshop on agricultural research institute
Appendix 5 Management training
Appendix 6 Planning and management of short-duration, executive development





vi Module 8 Single Session Research-extension linkage




This Module is:

Session guide: Research-Extension Linkage 5
Hand-out 1. Institute-client liaison 27
Hand-out 2. Importance of agricultural extension in the agricultural
development process 29
Hand-out 3. Major extension trends, approaches, programmes and
methods 31
Hand-out 4. Role of agricultural research institutes in transfer of improved
technology 33
Hand-out 5. Generation of improved technology and its on-farm validation 39
Hand-out 6. Farming systems research 43
Reading note: Research and extension linkage 49
Research and extension linkage 49
Importance of the research-extension linkage 49
Designing agricultural research and extension systems 50
Existing agricultural research and extension systems 52
Specific operational reasons for poor linkage 53

Training manual for institute management vii

Linkage principles, types and mechanisms 55
Linkage mechanisms 56
Alternative research and extension systems 58
Integrated approaches to research-extension linkage 61
Other successful approaches 63
Proposed approaches in managing linkages between agricultural research
and extension 64
Conclusions 67
References 68

The remaining Modules are:



Training manual for institute management 1



Institute-client liaison essentially involves interaction between agencies supporting the
activities of research institutes and the users of the research outputs. As far as liaison with
the farmer group is concerned, it is covered in this manual in two places. The case studies
of Faro Arroya and of the National Institute of Food Research, both presented in Module 7
on Financial Management, also provide an opportunity for discussion of relevant issues, as
institute-client liaison is essential for obtaining support, whether the support be in the form
of financial or other practical resources, or in the form of political or moral support. Module
9, Information Services and Documentation, also deals with institute-client liaison issues.
There therefore remain research-extension linkage issues, and they are covered in this
module. It is not necessary to discuss how extension is organized in a particular country.
Much as the Training and Visit (T&V) extension system is presented as a uniform model, in
practice it is far from uniform, and many evaluation studies have indicated several limitations
in the approach. Therefore, this module is not specifically concerned with an evaluation of
the T&V system. Instead it looks at the linkage of research with extension and farmer users,
a linkage which should be of basic relevance to agricultural research institute management.
Various modalities for achieving and consolidating such linkage are discussed in this module.
The five hand-outs provide background material germane to relevant discussion:
1. Institute-client liaison.
2. Importance of agricultural extension in the agricultural development process.
3. Major extension trends, approaches, programmes and methods.
4. Role of agricultural research institutes in transfer of improved technology.
5. Generation of improved technology and its validation.
6. Farming systems research.
Thus this module contains only one session, on the research-extension linkage. The
discussion should emphasize the importance of such linkage, and various models for
achieving it. During the discussion, the resource person should focus on how the research-
extension-farmer linkage can be ensured under differing conditions.

Training manual for institute management 3



Plenary participatory lecture

At the end of this session, participants should be able to:
1. Identify and appreciate the need for institute-client liaison
2. Appreciate the crucial importance of the research-extension linkage
3. Understand different modes of achieving research-extension liaison.

Module 8 Session 1

Research-extension linkage



4 Module 8 Single Session Research-extension linkage


Exhibit 1
Exhibit 2
Exhibit 3
Exhibit 4
Exhibit 5

Exhibit 6
Exhibit 7
Exhibit 8
Exhibit 9
Exhibit 10
Exhibit 11
Exhibit 12
Exhibit 13
Exhibit 14
Exhibit 15
Exhibit 16
Exhibit 17

Client liaison
Technology flow processes
Disruption of a continuum
Organization of agriculture, and the need for research-extension
Research-extension linkage
Alternative research and extension models
Top-down technology transfer model
The feedback technology transfer model
The modified feedback technology transfer model
'Farmer-back-to-farmer' technology generation and transfer
Increasingly integrated research-extension-producer interactions
Farming systems research
On-farm, client-oriented research
Fundamentals of the Training and Visit (T&V) system
AKIS: An agricultural research and extension linkage system
ATMS: the agricultural technology management system


1. Institute-client liaison.
2. Importance of agricultural extension in the agricultural development
3. Major extension trends, approaches, programmes and methods.
4. Role of agricultural research institutes in transfer of improved
5. Generation of improved technology and its on-farm validation.
6. Farming systems research.


Reading note: Research-extension linkage




Overhead projector and chalkboard

Training manual for institute management 5


Initiate discussion with client liaison. Ask the participants: 'Who are the clients of their
institutes?' 'Why liaise with them?' Show EXHIBIT 1. Observe that, in the final analysis,
the only true measure of a research institute's impact is how well its research findings are
received by farmers. This necessitates linking research with extension.
Devote some time to discussing agricultural extension as it operates in different
countries. Observe that most existing extension models have ignored resource-poor farmers,
especially those in less productive and heterogeneous agro-ecological areas.
Neither research nor extension can fulfil its responsibilities without the other: hence
good communication, strong interaction and effective collaboration are primary requisites.
There are differences between researchers and extension workers which very often have
prevented collaboration and linkage between research and extension. These differences are
historical, and related to the fact that research is complicated. Researchers are considered
professionals, and consequently enjoy higher status and benefits. In contrast, extension staff
are in contact with low-status farmers. The perceived differences in status have led too many
researchers to adopt a supercilious, patronizing attitude. Make the observation that extension
can improve its position by becoming more professional, taking a general role in information
integration, making recommendations and participating in adaptive research. Researchers can
respond by building closer links with extension staff. Over time, there has been a change
in the attitude of both researchers and extension staff. Technology transfer is becoming
central to both groups, and their operations are becoming increasingly more dependent on
each other.
Show EXHIBIT 2 and discuss concerns pertaining to research and extension. The
concerns include:
research problems being investigated are generally not in accordance with the priority
needs of agricultural producers, and
knowledge generated at research stations has not been effectively transferred to
These issues arise because of weaknesses in the links between research and extension
institutions. Technology development and transfer functions are treated in isolation.

Module 8 Single Session Research-extension linkage

Discuss the importance of research and extension linkage. Reasons for the need for
strong linkages include influencing formulation of research agendas based on problem
identification, and the need to evolve technology suitable for the prevailing socio-economic
and ecological environment. Extension can provide information and facilitate interaction
between researchers and farmers. Simultaneously, extension also requires a constant flow
of information on new and improved practices, necessitating a two-way communication
The concept of technology flow is fundamental to the design of research and
extension systems. This facilitates diagnosis of research-extension linkage problems. Show
EXHIBIT 3 and discuss the sequence of technology flow. Mention various models which have
been developed to describe the technology flow concept.
Research and extension have their own priorities, which determine their main
activities (EXHIBIT 4). Stress the linkage problem. Observe that, in a research organization,
technology integration and production activities are too often neglected. Usually, the farthest
it goes is testing the technology generated. In contrast, extension activities are limited to
technology production and dissemination. Therefore, the most critical linkages are at the
stage of technology integration and again at technology testing and production. Observe that
linkage problems have not been appreciated until recently. Ask participants for examples of
the effects of the linkage problem.
Show EXHIBIT 5 and discuss the classification of agriculture proposed by Chambers
in the context of the need for linkage between research and extension. Observe that good
research and extension linkage exists in high-input, high-yielding production systems, as well
as in areas which have benefitted from the green revolution. There is a need to strengthen
the research-extension linkage in circumstances of poor and diverse endowments and
ecological conditions.
Show EXHIBIT 6 and discuss: causes for poor research-extension linkage; principles;
types; and mechanisms for achieving the desired linkage. Poor research-extension linkage
may be due to political, technical or organizational reasons.
Political reasons include pressure groups, such as government, farmers, donors and
industry. Limited resources can lead to competition for funds between research and
extension, and can seriously impair established linkages. Traditionally, extension has in
general received less funding than has research, and has not been able to recruit people of
high calibre.
Technical reasons include:
an inability to undertake location-specific diagnosis of problems and adaptation of
lack of infrastructure support, resulting in choice of inappropriate technologies; and
lack of flexibility in developing different links appropriate to developed and developing
Organizational reasons for poor linkage include:
the orientation and work style of scientists, who are more oriented towards the general
scientific community and have a longer time horizon compared to extension staff,
who are oriented towards farmers and pressed with immediate concerns;

Training manual for institute management 7

poor assignment of specific responsibilities;
loss of credibility as a result of the diffusion of inappropriate technology;
centralization of authority; and
institutional incompatibilities.
Now discuss motivational factors, which revolve around incentives, recognition and rewards.
Human and financial resources may impose constraints. Communication problems
may be accentuated by orientation, value systems and work styles.
Now discuss the six principles of linkage. Linkage becomes effective with a common
purpose and commonly perceived advantages for institutional collaboration. It is facilitated
by a common ground or proximity of location, incentives for individuals, and effective
communication and feedback. Linkage should also be compatible with other activities of the
participating groups.
Based on ways and channels of communication, linkage may be of four types. Refer
to EXHIBIT 6 and discuss these types. Ask participants which one of these is prevalent in
their extension systems. Observe that the most effective system uses all four types.
Ask participants what mechanism exists for achieving research-extension linkage in
their countries. Again refer to EXHIBIT 6, and discuss structural, organizational and
managerial modes. Experience shows that linkages may not necessarily be achieved by
implementing one or other of the suggestions: linkage has to be environment sensitive and
situation specific.
Discussion can now move to alternative research and extension systems. Several
models have been suggested, based on past experience. Show EXHIBIT 7 and discuss each
of these models.
The conventional models for transfer of technology are top-down and feedback
(EXHIBITS 8 & 9). The top-down model (EXHIBIT 8) does not involve farmers when
identifying constraints and adapting research to local conditions. In the feedback technology
model (EXHIBIT 9), users remain passive. An improved version of this is the modified
feedback technology transfer model (EXHIBIT 10). In the farmer-back-to-farmer model
(EXHIBIT 11), farmers and extension personnel are actively involved in the research process.
Show EXHIBIT 12 and discuss the increasingly unified research and extension system,
based on a synthesis of several alternative systems. EXHIBIT 12 (a to e) presents increasingly
integrated research, extension and producer interaction systems. Beginning with the
conventional fragmented system, integration is achieved in various stages.
Now initiate discussion on integrated approaches for research-extension linkage.
Observe that several methodological approaches have been developed to link farmers directly
with the research process. The farmer is seen and recognized to be a primary client of
research, and so should be involved in the various stages of research and thus influence
research priorities and the design of technological solutions based on constraints identified.
Two models have been suggested towards such an integration. The farming systems
research (FSR) model has evolved on the premise that farmers do not reject technologies out
of sheer ignorance, conservation or sloth: instead, they apply criteria for evaluating
technologies which differ from those of the scientists. It is also essential to study the existing
farming systems and appreciate the prevailing agro-ecological variation and specifications so

8 Module 8 Single Session Research-extension linkage

as to develop relevant technologies. Using an FSR approach, the farm is viewed as a system
and the focus is on the interdependencies between the components under the control of the
farm household, and how these components interact with the physical, biological and socio-
economic factors not under household control. Show EXHIBIT 13 and discuss how the FSR
team implements the FSR process.
On-farm, client-oriented research (OFCOR) is the other model which uses the FSR
approach. Show EXHIBIT 14 and discuss it. Observe that the OFCOR model has been quite
effective in establishing and sustaining linkage between research and extension.
Now discuss the subject-matter specialist model, which emphasizes technical guidance
and support to research staff.
Next discuss the training and visit (T&V) system, which is based on a systematic,
time-bound programme of training and visits (EXHIBIT 15). The T&V system comprises a
system of schedules of work, duties and responsibilities, clearly specified and closely
supervised at all levels. Frequent, one-day training events for field-level extension staff are
an integral part of the system. A specific schedule of visits to farmers' fields is rigidly
followed. The field staff get feedback on the problems of farmers and communicate them
to researchers. The T&V approach requires a large number of trained staff fully dedicated
to extension work, and this is possible only when resources are available and committed.
Several other models have been proposed. These include:
adaptive research and planning teams (ARPTs), regionally based and area focused,
managerial approaches,
agricultural knowledge and information systems (AKIS),
agricultural technology management systems (ATMS), and
the ISNAR research and technology transfer linkages (RTTL) framework.
Depending upon availability of time, the trainer might wish to discuss in detail some of the
recent models mentioned above.
Show EXHIBIT 16 and discuss AKIS, which adopts a knowledge-system perspective
and has a well specified linkage mechanism. The key element is knowledge management.
Show EXHIBIT 17 and discuss the ATMS model, which focuses on overall
management of technological activities. Adopting a systems approach, it has technology at
its core.
Finally, discuss the RTTL framework It contextually considers political, technical
and organizational factors, which together condition the choice, operation and effectiveness
of linkage mechanisms.
Conclude the session by recalling that several approaches have been adopted in order
to integrate research and extension. Some of the recent models have adopted a systems
perspective, where linkage forms a part of the system. Irrespective of the model, the task
is to ensure effective research-extension-farmer linkage, particularly in resource-poor

Module 8 Session 1EXHIBIT



Whose responsibility?
The Director
Heads of division

A continuous activity

Who are the clients?
government agencies
international organizations
public enterprises
private enterprises
research organizations
extension agencies

Module 8 Session 1



1. Research is not in accordance with the priority
needs of producers.

2. Results of research have not been effectively
transferred to producers

Module 8 Session 1X



Adaptive research

Module 8 Session 1



Weak or missing links


Weak or missing links


Strategic research
Technology generation

Module 8 Session 1



1. High input, high yielding production systems

2. Areas benefited by the green revolution

3. Poor and diverse resource endowments and
ecological conditions

Source: Chambers, R. 1983. Rural Development: Putting the Last First.
London: Longman.

Module 8 Session 1


In a system, people play different and often complementary roles, with
differing responsibilities. Their actions can be consciously linked and
carefully managed to achieve the goals of the agrotechnology system


* Combining research and
extension functions into one unit
* De-centralizing research and
extension activities into regional
* Fielding subject-matter
specialists in extension
* Starting extension liaison
positions in research institutions
* Establishing communication-
cum-information departments
* Agency agreements for
* Redefining roles and
responsibilities between research
and extension units
* Creating inter-agency
committees or councils
* Developing inter-agency
agreements for collaboration
* Physically locating research units
adjacent to extension units
* Providing for farmer participation
in research activities
* Liaison with private and non-
governmental organizations

* Redefining job descriptions to
strengthen relationships
* establishing joint reviews of
research and extension activities
* Improving individual incentives
(personal, professional and
financial) for collaboration
* Exchange of personnel
resources, e.g., posting
extension staff in a research
* Joint training for expanded roles
in a technology system
* Joint use of facilities and
services, e.g., soil testing,
* Promotion of informal linkages
* Information exchange using
jointly developed protocols


* Formal versus Informal
* Top Down versus Bottom Up
* Internal versus External
* Downstream versus Upstream

Training manual for institute management


* A common purpose (domain consensus)
* Perceived advantages from institutional collaboration
* Common ground or proximity to facilitate collaboration
* compatible points of contact ('meshed gears run smoothly')
* Individual incentives for working together
* Effective communication and feedback flows


* No one assigned to perform functions such as adaptive research or
provide feedback to researchers
* Linkage activities assigned to an inappropriate institute or department,
or divided in such a way as to reduce effectiveness
* Excessive centralization or de-centralization
* Insufficient authority to ensure that institutions coordinate their
activities and perform their responsibilities
* Institutional incompatibilities, such as research by commodity and
extension by region; different clientele; or different time schedules for
planning and budgeting
* Individuals may have little incentive from management to perform
linkage functions
* Maintenance of institutional autonomy may be reinforced
* Rewards for journal publication may be higher than for technology
transfer activities
* Financial resources may be scarce for linkage functions such as
publications, testing of research results and training of extension staff
* Human resources may be overloaded and unavailable for linkage
* Value systems, educational backgrounds and communication patterns
may differ widely between researchers and extensionists
* Physical means of communication may be weak or non-existent in
critical areas

Source: Based on Kaimowitz, D. 1987. Research-technology transfer linkages. Paper presented at
the International Workshop on Agricultural Research Management. ISNAR, The Hague, the

Module 8 Session 1


1. Technology transfer models

2. Integrated approach to research-extension linkage:
farming systems
on-farm, client-oriented research
subject-matter specialist
T&V system

3. Other approaches

4. Recent approaches:
agricultural knowledge and information system
agricultural technology management system
ISNAR's research and technology transfer linkage
(RTTL) framework


Module 8 Session 1






Module 8 Session 1






Module 8 Session 1



FSR/E = farming systems research/extension


Module 8 Session 1


Farmer scientist- exten~onist

0 0
Adapting / Testing: Seeking solutions:
on-farm / research interdisciplinary
station research

Based on: Rhoades, R., & Booth, R. 1982. Farmer-back-to-farmer: A model for generating acceptable
technology. CIP Social Sciences Department Working Paper, No. 1982-1.


Module 8 Session 1


Research (R) Extension (E) Producer(P)

0 _o o0
a) O --0 0 O OO
O aO> O 3

0 0
^^ --------o~
b) 1R PO %-

c) E 00


e) R IE0


Conventional systems fragmented
commodity and/or discipline

Unified research system
extension system fragmented by

Superimposed research,
pre-extension and extension

Unified Research-Extension

Triangular system of collaboration
with institutions committed to
individual and specific functions

Integration of functions

Source: Stoop, W.A. No date. Linkages in technology generation and technology transfer.
ISNAR Working Paper, No. 11.


d) (

Module 8 Session 1



The systems approach applied to on-farm research considers
farmers' systems as a whole, implying:
studying the many facets of the farm household and its
setting through close and frequent contacts with household
members on their farms;
considering problems and opportunities as they influence
the whole farm;
setting priorities accordingly;
recognizing the linkages of sub-systems within the farming
system and considering them when dealing with any part
of the system; and
evaluating research and development results in terms of the
whole farming system and the interests of society.

The FSR team implements the process by:
selecting areas and groups of farmers with reasonably
similar characteristics as targets for research and
identifying and ranking problems and opportunities, and
setting forth hypotheses for alternative solutions;
planning experiments, studies and data collection
undertaking experiments on farmer's fields, in conjunction
with other research, to identify or generate improved
technologies suitable for farmers' conditions;
coordinating the on-farm experiments and studies with
commodity and discipline-oriented research;
evaluating the acceptability to the target farmers and
society of the experimental results;
extending the results widely to farmers in and outside the
target area; and
focusing attention on ways to improve public policy and
support services to assist both the target farmers and
those operating under similar conditions.

Based on: pp. 13-14 in: Shaner, W.W., Philipps, P.F., Schmehl, W.R. 1982.
Farming Systems Research and Development: Guidelines for Developing
Countries. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

Module 8 Session 1



'A set of methods integrating trials, formal and
informal surveys, and a variety of farm-level
activities, which range from the diagnosis and
ranking of problems, through the design,
development, adaptation and evaluation of
appropriate technologies to solve them'
(Merrill-Sands, 1988)

FUNCTIONS Adaptive research

LINKAGE Different models and forms
MECHANISMS Joint actions

LIMITATIONS Difficult to maintain dynamism

Module 8 Session 1


Professionalism of the extension service at all levels is
essential to support meaningfully the farmers.

A single line of technical and administrative command
which is solely accountable for the operation of the
extension service.

Concentration of efforts exclusively on extension
activities. Non-extension activities to be excluded.

Time-bound system of regular training and contact
with major farming and socio-economic groups.
Schedules of visits to be known in advance. Purpose
of visit related to farming operations to be carried out
during that period.

Regular and continuous training of extension staff to
update their professional skills, to receive feedback
from the field, and to discuss the specific production
recommendations required by farmers.

Linkage with research to impart a field and farmer
orientation to research.

Source: FAO. 1984. Agricultural Extension: A Reference Manual. 2"d edition.
Rome: FAO.

Module 8 Session 1



Disciplinary research

(national disciplinary' specialists)

of Res-

t h Direc-
applied (branch) research

j ft

(national branch specialists)

specialist (discipline)
specialist (branch)
extension workers (branch)


farmers (branch)

Source: Roling, N. 1989. The research-extension interface: A knowledge-system
perspective. ISNAR Staff Notes, No. 89-48.

Module 8 Session 1



Policy environment



Structural conditions





= international technology generating system
= international technology transfer system
= technology generating system
= technology transfer system
= technology using system

Source: Elliot, H. 1977. Farming systems research in francophone Africa: methods and results.
Paper presented at the Ford Foundation Farming Systems Seminar, Tunis, Tunisia,
1-3 February 1977.


Training manual for institute management


Research organizations acquire market orientation and commercialization as they develop.
This means that they are not only trying to ensure that the output is exploited, but that, more
importantly, they are making considerable efforts to identify market needs and develop
research programmes to satisfy those needs. In general, changing sources of support and a
tighter economic situation have necessitated a change in the orientation of research
organizations. There is also increasing recognition that the only true measure of a research
institute's impact is the quantity, quality and significance of its services actually utilized by
its target clients. Everything is reflected in the client's satisfaction, and hence the aim of
arriving at a good relationship between the institute and the client.
In an agricultural research institute, the director is responsible for client liaison in
addition to other responsibilities. The director is also expected to provide technical guidance.
In an environment of fierce competition for financial support, programme heads are
finding themselves becoming more involved in helping find at least some financial resources
to maintain programmes at present activity levels. To do this, programme heads need to
develop close contacts with existing and potential customers or clients, and also to be
constantly aware of the need to generate new research opportunities.
In a situation where clients are already well-known to scientific personnel, there is no
great problem, since the organization has already established rapport and even credibility.
However, where such conditions do not exist, marketing of research can be very difficult and
time consuming. Nevertheless, the effort is necessary, as client liaison is a continuous
activity and may yield returns in the long term.

Module 8 Session 1

Hand-out 1

28 Module 8 Single Session Research-extension linkage

For a research organization, clients can be of three types, as considered below.

In most developing countries, the government is the main sponsor of research. The concept
of 'customer' or 'client' is very complex in such situations because, for a given procurement,
many people from many government organizations may be involved. For example, contract
administrators, project engineers, planners, financial analysts, users and others may all
combine to constitute the client system. Each of them has some influence in the project.

Supporting organizations include international agencies, public and private enterprises. Some
of the public and private enterprises can be very large enterprises, such as seed production
companies with very complicated bureaucratic structures. They may also be regionally
distributed, government controlled and have other characteristics which put constraints on an
effective institute-client relationship.

Farmers as users of research have special characteristics, deriving from a concentration on
cost-benefit factors, interest in less speculative or generic objectives, and other considerations
relating to the special nature of the product.

Whoever the client, a very important factor to be considered is the client's awareness of a
research institute. Does the client know the institutional goals? Is the client informed enough
about the institute's structural and organizational characteristics? It is extremely important
that clients understand capability, ability, expertise, staff skills and such other details in order
to have a reasonable expectation of potential services.
Effective client liaison can only be effected on the basis of a commonality of interests
and priorities. Therefore, the more a research institute and its client know about one another,
the better their relationship will be.

Training manual for institute management 29

Module 8 Session 1

Hand-out 2


Agricultural development is a dynamic development process. It implies a shift from
traditional methods of production to new, science-based methods of production that include
new technological components, new crops, and even new farming systems. For farmers to
adopt these new production technologies successfully, they must first learn about them and
then learn how to use them correctly in their farming systems.
Simple changes, such as the adoption of a new cultivar, may involve a minimal
extension input. However, if such a change involves a new time of planting, a higher plant
population, more fertilizer or the use of pesticides, farmers may have much to learn to adopt
the new technology successfully. Furthermore, once the shift to new, science-based
technology begins, there is the expectation that this is the first step towards more intensive
and productive cropping and farming systems. This process is the essence of agricultural
development, and each step in this process will require an educational and communications
input. Therefore agricultural extension, regardless of how it is provided, must be viewed as
an essential component in the agricultural development process.
If it is agreed that agricultural extension is essential to agricultural development, why
are agricultural extension organizations sometimes criticized? People have a wide range of
views about the relative value of agricultural extension, because in different situations it has
been organized in different ways to pursue different objectives. Views range from very
positive to negative, depending upon each observer's knowledge of, and experience with,
agricultural extension. For example, agricultural extension has been criticized because it has
neglected certain categories of agricultural producers, such as women and small-scale
farmers. These omissions are, in fact, a reflection of many factors, among them the
agricultural development objectives being pursued, unusually high ratios of small-scale
farmers to extension personnel, the way in which extension is organized, the difficulty of
reaching women in some cultures, and the extension strategy being followed. Thus
agricultural extension can have both positive and negative consequences sometimes
simultaneously depending upon the goals pursued, the clients served and how success is
Extension has also been criticized because it has been ineffective in persuading farmers
to adopt a particular recommendation, when, in fact, the technology being promoted may not
have been appropriate or was poorly suited to the farmers' conditions. Finally, extension has
been ineffective in certain situations because of inadequate resources, poorly trained field

30 Module 8 Single Session Research-extension linkage

staff, mobility problems, limited teaching resources or the field staff having too many
non-extension responsibilities causing role conflicts.
Past experience of agricultural extension (as is more fully documented in Hand-out 3)
demonstrates that the function of extension is essential to the agricultural development
process. Farmers cannot successfully adopt a new technology unless the extension concept
has been appropriately applied. At the same time, it is essential to differentiate between the
extension concept itself, inappropriate technology that may have been disseminated, and
inappropriate objectives that may have been pursued, whether intentional or not. The
extension process can be applied to help bring about broad-based agricultural development.
Although extension is one of the components supporting development, it is also
supported and affected by the quality of agricultural research, the degree to which policy and
prices promote the adoption of new technology, and the effectiveness of the supporting
infrastructure. Considering this from an extension p6int of view, failure of any one of the
supporting functions can lead to collapse or weakening of an otherwise effective extension
organization. In an aggregate sense, extension can be illustrated as the link between research
and farmers.

Extension linkage with research and farmers

Training manual for institute management 31


Extension approaches differ from country to country, and sometimes even within countries.
On the one hand, extension can be viewed broadly as a multipurpose, educational and
technical advisory service designed to bring about broad-based agricultural and rural
development. On the other hand, agricultural extension can be narrowly viewed as a
technology transfer mechanism, sometimes dealing with only one commodity, that is also
involved in input supply, credit and marketing services.
The particular approach to extension followed in any area is greatly influenced by
organizational factors. More than 90% of all extension work is carried out through a
ministry or department of agriculture, at the national, state or provincial level. These public
extension systems tend to be multipurpose, governmental organizations, responsible for a
broad range of extension and other governmental activities. Government policy toward
extension generally mandates the specific type of programmes and approaches pursued in
each country.
Single commodity production system extension activities can be carried out by a private
company, parastatal organization or a commodity ministry. These systems are generally
limited to cash and export crops, and are heavily oriented toward technology transfer. These
vertically integrated systems are usually quite successful because they have a relatively simple
organizational structure; focus on high-value crops that generate sufficient resources to cover
technology transfer costs, including input supply, credit and technical assistance; disseminate
tested, economically viable production technology for a single crop (i.e., a limited focus);
and have adequate numbers of well trained and adequately supported field personnel for the
task involved.
Extension approaches in developing countries are frequently influenced by external
agencies, and are sometimes dominated by government policies that favour urban consumers
instead of assisting farm households to improve their productivity and standard of living.
In the late 1950s and 1960s, the United States Agency for International Development
(USAID) was a major external supporter of extension, pursuing a broad-based educational
approach, patterned in part after the land-grant university system of the United States of
America. In retrospect, these systems were developed at a time when improved technology
was not widely available in most developing countries. In addition, these systems were

Module 8 Session 1

Hand-out 3

32 Module 8 Single Session Research-extension linkage

established within ministries of agriculture, rather than being attached to agricultural
universities, which were weak or non-existent in many countries. This structural arrangement
resulted in weak linkages with research; the consequence was that many of the newly
emerging extension systems had little impact on agricultural productivity and development.
During the 1970s, most international donors supported integrated approaches to
agricultural extension and rural development. The approach was built on the premise that
farmers needed an integrated package of services including extension, input supply, credit
and marketing services to increase their productivity. This approach also had limited
impact. These systems were difficult to administer because of poor communications and
inadequate managerial capacity at field level. Credit and input supply were used largely for
marginal technologies and productivity gains were frequently insufficient to cover input costs.
Consequently, many of these systems were not self-sustaining because of high overhead costs,
system inefficiencies and low levels of loan repayment by farmers.
Agricultural extension in the 1980s was dominated by the Training and Visit (T&V)
approach to extension promoted by the World Bank. T&V was an effort to reform the
general agricultural extension organizations by improving system management and narrowing
the focus of extension, mostly to technology transfer. The assumption was that new,
improved technology was now available for most food crops, due in part to the work of the
international agricultural research centres (IARCs) working in cooperation with national
agricultural research programmes. Initial results of T&V extension in irrigated areas were
quite encouraging, particularly where the high-yielding varieties of the Green Revolution
varieties and accompanying inputs were available. However, when T&V was expanded into
rain-fed areas, where technical potential was more limited and farmer risk higher, it faltered
due to limited impact on productivity. In addition, T&V was criticized as being rigid, too
top-down in orientation, costly to operate because of high recurrent personnel costs, and too
heavily focused on technology transfer at the expense of human resource development.
Throughout much of this period, many extension scholars, development practitioners
and technical assistance and donor agencies such as FAO and IFAD called for more
participatory approaches to extension. Experience, empirical studies and extension theory
all pointed to the need for more farmer participation in programme planning and policy
formation: the essential 'feedback system.' However, it is difficult to institute such changes
in top-down-oriented government extension systems. Although both donors and government
extension officials talk about participation, too little systematic effort has been made to
increase client participation in many national extension systems.

Source: pages 15-17, in: FAO. 1990. Report of the Global Consultation on Agricultural
Extension. FAO, Rome, 4-8 December 1989. FAO, Rome.

Training manual for institute management 33


Despite the availability of highly productive and remunerative technology, a wide gap exists
between what scientists have achieved on their experimental farms and research stations and
the average yield obtained on farmers' fields. Research institutes and universities therefore
have to assume more prominent roles in the transfer of improved farm technology.
Agriculture occupies a strategic position in the economic development of most
developing countries. Realizing its importance, most developing countries are in the process
of modernizing their agriculture, which, in turn, depends largely upon the application of
improved practices based on science and technology. To achieve a high standard of
agriculture production, a country has to have strong research and extension systems. The
infrastructure for research and extension are being strengthened and reorganized in many
countries so that more relevant and appropriate research can be conducted to solve farmers'
problems and increase agricultural production. As a result, an unprecedented breakthrough
in agricultural technology is taking place not only in developed but also in many developing
countries. In fact a form of technology explosion has occurred in the last two decades in
terms of crop improvement (e.g., breeding and multiplication of high yielding varieties), crop
production, crop protection and post-harvest technology. Nevertheless, despite the
availability of highly productive and remunerative technology, a wide gap exists between
what scientists have achieved on experimental farms and research stations and what average
farmers obtain on their fields. There are many factors responsible for this. One of them is
an ineffective system of transfer of improved farm practices, resulting in inadequate
knowledge and managerial ability of farmers.
Evolving new agricultural technology and its quick dissemination requires a series of
integrated and communicating linked systems among the agencies concerned. This involves
three sub-systems:
a research system, responsible for generating and evolving new agricultural technology
and innovations;

Module 8 Session 1

Hand-out 4

34 Module 8 Single Session Research-extension linkage

a linking (extension) system responsible for transfer of new technology, facilitating its
adoption and also reporting back field problems to the research system (feedback); and
the client system (farmers), the ultimate users of technology.
It is necessary to understand the nature of linkages and communication patterns between and
within the three systems, and their roles in speedy transfer of technology. This
understanding, unfortunately, is poor and currently inadequate, resulting in distortion and loss
of messages in the transfer process. This paper deals with the roles of research institutes and
agricultural universities in transfer of improved farm technology.
As noted above, the transfer of improved agricultural technology requires a number of
interrelated steps and actions, implemented by a number of institutes and agencies, including
research institutions, extension services, farmers' organizations, input, credit and marketing
agencies, etc. Most countries, both developed and developing, have an extension service of
their own, which is mainly responsible for transfer'of improved farm technology from
research institutes to farmers' fields and serves as a link between the two. Agricultural
research institutes, in recent years, have been undergoing many changes in their
organizational structure and functioning, particularly in developing countries, with the result
that highly productive and remunerative agricultural technology is now available. However,
as stated earlier, not all of these technologies have reached farmers' fields and there is a wide
gap between potential and actual agricultural production. Efforts are being made to
reorganize extension services in many developing countries, but research institutes, in
addition to their main research functions, have also a key role to play in the transfer of
improved farm technology and the upgrading of the professional competence of extension
workers and farmers. It is high time that these roles were clearly defined, understood and
performed. Some of the main roles are discussed below, and illustrated in Figure 1.

Development and advisory role
Research institutes and agricultural universities should undertake agricultural development
work on a limited scale to provide direct transfer of information by educating extension
workers and farmers regarding the advantages and potential of new technology developed by
them. This could be done in various ways.
Demonstrations on farmers' fields
A team of institute and university scientists as appropriate, consisting of agronomists, soil
scientists, plant protection specialists and agricultural engineers, should conduct a number of
demonstrations on farmers' fields to show the potential of new technology and educate the
local extension workers and selected farmers step-by-step in how to apply it. These
demonstrations could be single crop, multiple crop, whole farm or even whole village
demonstrations, depending upon the stage of development of the area. The composition of
the team would vary according to the area and nature of the technology being transferred.
Pilot project
In this approach, a pilot project is established in a particular area for a specific period to test
the applicability and validity of selected technology, programmes or approaches, with a view
to expanding it to other areas if found successful.

Training manual for institute management 35

Figure 1 Role of research institutes and agricultural universities in transfer of technology

* Publications
* Extension literature aids
* Farm magazines
* Newsletters



* Information centre
* Farmers' hostel

* Television
* Press
* Radio

* Visitors

Operational research project
The institute or university can undertake one or two operational research projects, based on
their tested farm technology, to demonstrate its impact directly under farmers' field
conditions, and also study constraints, if any, to its adoption. This will help perfect the
technology and make the scientists aware of field problems. Examples of such operational
research projects could be integrated pest control, water management or technology transfer
on small and marginal farms.
'Minikit' trials
Scientists could conduct minikit trials, with small quantities of seed of the latest cultivars and
other inputs on farmers' fields. This can help to get the reaction of the farmers regarding
the new technology before it is generally released.

36 Module 8 Single Session Research-extension linkage

Working with local extension workers
Scientists associate and work with local extension workers, providing technical advice and
themselves experiencing the actual field conditions. This is beneficial to both.
Subject-matter specialists
In many countries, research institutes and agricultural universities have teams of subject-
matter specialists at institute as well as district or local levels to provide advice directly to
extension workers, farmers and others, covering new farm technology and its management.
These specialists, when working at district or local level, should also have their mini-
laboratories or agricultural 'first-aid kits.' This approach helps to establish close links
between researchers, extension workers and farmers.
Formulate packages of practices
One of the important tasks of research institutes and agricultural universities is to collect,
process and formulate appropriate packages of practices, based on recent research results and
farmers' needs, and then to disseminate them using suitable media and methods. Handbooks
on packages of practices have been found very useful by extension workers.
Advice to visiting farmers or through correspondence
The institute should have a built-in mechanism such as a cell or centre with technical staff
at both main as well as sub-campuses where farmers can go personally or write and get
free technical advice.

Training is one of the most important methods of imparting knowledge and skill to extension
workers and farmers concerning new farm technology, and helps speed up dissemination.
Training, therefore, should be an important function and integral part of research institute and
agricultural university activities. They should plan, organize and conduct production- and
problem-oriented training programmes of short and long duration for extension workers and
farmers. Short-duration training programmes, e.g., on specific crops or technology, should
be organized before the start of the crop season. These programmes should be practical in
nature and the trainees should be provided with the opportunity of 'learning by doing.'
Institutes should also organize training on the pattern of the T&V system, synchronizing with
field operations and highlighting key points, to keep subject-matter specialists and field
extension workers up to date on the latest farm technology.
Long-term training programmes should also be organized periodically for subject-matter
specialists and other senior extension staff so that they may go through all the operations
from sowing to harvesting of a crop or the life-cycle of a domesticated animal.
Special, need-based, training programmes for farm youths and farm women should be
organized on-campus and also in the field or villages by mobile teams.
Institutes and agricultural universities should also organize training programmes for
other agencies, such as input suppliers and credit and other agencies, in order to educate
them about the nature, characteristics, potential and requirements of modern agriculture.
Training should be a regular activity of research institutes and agricultural universities,
and there should be a separate unit for this purpose, supported by core technical staff and

Training manual for institute management

other training facilities, including teaching and audiovisual aids, transport, hostels, etc. The
training programmes should be planned in advance and made known to all concerned. Each
training programme should clearly state its objectives, technical content (syllabus) and
methodology, and should be orientated to the training needs and professional level of the
trainees. The training programmes should emphasize not only subject-matter content but also
extension methodology and understanding of farmers' characteristics and behaviour.

Research institutes and agricultural universities are continuously evolving and releasing new
technology, but, owing to weak systems for information communication, not all the technical
information is reaching those for whom it has been generated. More attention should be paid
to effective, two-way communication. For this, the specific steps considered below are
Institutes should have a publication programme for simple extension literature, containing
technical recommendations in local languages in the form of bulletins, handbooks on
packages of practices, folders, leaflets, etc. for use by extension workers and farmers.
This should be in the form of packages of practices for all crops and livestock of the area,
and also on other specific technology evolved by the institute, university or others. The
literature should stress key points, and also stress 'do's' and don't's. '
If possible, the institute should publish its own magazine or newsletter for rapid
dissemination of research results.
Preparation and supply of simple audiovisual aids
Research institutes and agricultural universities should prepare simple and inexpensive audio-
visual aids, such as slide sets, film strips, posters and photographs for use by extension
workers. These are simple aids, but have been found very effective in field extension work.
Slides and filmstrips could form a series on individual crops and livestock, showing in
sequence all the stages involved in production, or on other technology. Institutes having the
facilities could also produce short documentary films.
Information centre
The institute or agricultural university should have an information centre on its campus,
containing all the information which the farmers might need. This should be manned by
technical people, who should also be responsible for taking the farmers round the
experimental farm, arranging discussions with scientists, and helping to solve the farmers
problems. The centre should have a small museum and library of extension literature.
Organization of exhibitions and farmers' fairs
Agriculture exhibitions and farmers' fairs help in dissemination of information. Research
institutes and agricultural universities should organize such exhibitions and fairs on their main
campuses and sub-stations during each crop season to highlight the latest developments in
farm technology. Emphasis should be on action-orientated programmes and live exhibits, and
organized discussions between scientists and farmers. Besides research and trial plots, crop
demonstrations should be laid out on the institute's farm, clearly labelled with details of the

38 Module 8 Single Session Research-extension linkage

technology being demonstrated. The institute or university should also have mobile exhibition
units to bring organized exhibitions to remote rural areas.
Organization of workshops, seminars and symposia for farmers and extension workers
Research institutes and agricultural universities should organize short-duration workshops,
seminars and symposia on specific problems, in which extension workers and selected
farmers should be invited to participate.
Television, radio and the press
Mass media including television, radio and local-language newspapers can help
enormously in the dissemination of improved technology. There should be some kind of
institutionalized mechanism for making use of these media by researchers. In some
countries, agricultural universities and research institutes have their own radio and television
air time, and use it to broadcast and telecast technical'programmes. The credibility of such
programmes has been found to be very high.
Visitors as source of information communication
Research institutes and agricultural universities are visited by a large number of farmers,
extension workers, students, teachers and others. There should be proper arrangements for
their stay, for showing them round and for helping them to obtain solutions for their
problems. This should help establish good public relations and promote the spread of farm
Other activities
Research institutes and agricultural universities can also take on some service and supply
functions in a limited way. Services such as soil and water testing, taxonomic identification
of insects, diagnosis of diseased plants and providing proper advice to farmers can be very
effective in helping farmers. The supply of small samples of seed of newly released cultivars
and other plant material could be another method of disseminating them quickly. The supply
of soil testing kits, plant protection kits, dairy and veterinary kits, etc., could also be
undertaken wherever possible.
The success of efforts to transfer technology will depend on understanding the nature
and character of the technology and its specific requirements, the characteristics of the
farming community, coupled with effective communication strategy. Research institutes can
help extension workers in all these, based on their research and expertise.

Although the main function of research institutes and universities is the generation of
improved farm technology and innovation, at the same time they can play many important
roles in the transfer of new technology to farmers. These activities and programmes should
be considered as legitimate functions of research institutes and agricultural universities, and
not treated as an additional burden.

Training manual for institute management 39


Most of the developing countries realize that the average yields of the major agricultural
commodities are only 25-30% of their demonstrated potential under conditions of optimum
management on farmers' fields or on experimental stations. Thus there is the potential for
achieving a three- to four-fold increase in the yields of various crops by proper use of the
available national resources. Moreover, with rapidly increasing populations in most of the
developing countries, it is important that agricultural potential is realized to the maximum by
efficient management of the complex agricultural production system.
The foundation of agricultural production is the package of production technology
evolved by well-organized basic and applied research, which is then passed on to the farmers
through the extension system. However, it has been realized time and again that the
relationship is often poor between agricultural research and extension systems or services.
This situation is common in developing countries, and has developed over many years as a
result of competition for funds, personnel and physical facilities, and a mutual lack of
perception of the value of each other's.
There is often little or no contact between personnel of the two services. Often there
are power struggles between the heads of the two agencies. As a result, the farmer, the
consumer and the agencies that finance these services all suffer.
Studies carried out in India and other countries indicate that new technology (often
developed on experimental stations) at times is inappropriate for the farmers for whom it was
developed. Extension personnel sometimes recognize this, and make no effort or only a half-
hearted effort to deliver the technology. Research personnel thus criticize extension for non-
delivery, while extension personnel criticize the research arm for not developing appropriate
technology. This mutual criticism often destroys trust between research and extension
personnel. Farmers are ultimately the sufferers: benefitting from neither research nor
extension efforts.
Something, therefore, needs to be done to help both research and extension services
so that they develop trust in each other and so that the technology generated for the benefit
of farmers enjoys the support of both. Research and extension, like two faces of a coin,
should work in unison for the benefit of farmers. Agricultural research findings have no

40 Module 8 Single Session Research-extension linkage

value unless they are used by the farming community; extension without scientific information
generated by research will have no programme content.
Mutual respect and job satisfaction can be restored to both research and extension
services by involving them in a joint strategy of research and technology development and
transfer. This strategy should aim at research on farmers' fields as a team effort. Farmers,
extension staff and research staff meet and work together on this common ground. Biological
and social scientists are involved with extension personnel at all stages of on-farm activities,
each taking the leadership in their area of expertise.
The major components of the strategy of research and technology development and
transfer should be:
an applied research programme carried out by research scientists;
on-farm testing of the technology on farmers' fields; and
adaptive trials by extension workers, technically back-stopped by research scientists.

Applied research programme
Applied research develops an appropriate package of technology for agricultural production
in the various ecological and socio-economic situations in a country. The technology should,
however, be developed under conditions similar to those prevailing on farmers' fields. It has
been observed that, in most of the developing countries, agricultural research is being
undertaken at state-run experimental stations, under conditions which are vastly different from
those prevailing in farmers' fields. Experimental fields are maintained in excellent condition,
with high fertility levels and optimum management, without regard to cost of production or
the farming system under which the particular technology is expected to be applied by
farmers. No wonder that extension workers and farmers are sceptical about the
recommendations given to them, based on experimental farm results. The whole package of
technology including varieties, agronomic practices and farming system has to be evolved
keeping fully in view the agro-ecological and socio-economic conditions of farmers in
different areas.
Most farmers in most developing countries are smallholders, with land holdings of 2
to 3 ha or less. They practise intensive cultivation, using family labour and low levels of
inputs such as fertilizers and biocides. Unless the package of technology suits the conditions
of such farmers, it will not be adopted by the vast majority of the farming community,
thereby rendering the technology generated ineffective in terms of improving living standards
through improved agricultural production. Even in the same village, the different categories
of farmers may need different packages of technology for the same commodity. For
example, in the case of wheat, a small-scale farmer, for whom wheat straw is as valuable as
grain and who needs low-capital-risk technology, would prefer a medium-tall cultivar capable
of giving good to moderate yields of grain and a good amount of better quality straw, with
the application of small amounts of fertilizer. Even the techniques for harvesting, threshing
and storing the crop vary between small-scale and large-scale farmers.
Farmers with large holdings prefer to grow crops more for commercial purposes. They
invariably practise mechanized farming, use higher doses of inorganic fertilizers, and resort
to chemicals for weed control. They would, for example, like to have more grain yield from
high levels of inputs and prefer less wheat straw. Such factors have to be kept in mind while

Training manual for institute management 41

planning farm-oriented production research for different categories of farmers. Generation
of farm-size-neutral technology is easier said than done.
In addition, the farming systems operating in different areas with different categories
of farmers should be also be borne in mind while carrying out applied research. The best
technology package for a crop may not work satisfactorily under different farming systems,
and especially when farmers have to produce different food and cash crops on the same farm
or piece of land, and maintain livestock as well. Technology should be evolved in
accordance with farming systems and with the ultimate objective of maximizing the net
income of farmers with limited resources.

On-farm testing of technology
On-farm research should be conducted under farmers' conditions on an adequate number of
farmers' fields so that they are representative of the production situation and socio-economic
conditions of the region. Conducting research at many locations increases the reliability of
the results.
Having delineated the target area or group, such as small- or large-scale farmers, it is
necessary to carry out a diagnostic survey to assess farmers' practices, decision criteria,
resource availability, constraints and possible development opportunities. Diagnostic surveys
are relatively informal and of low cost. They should involve a week or so of field travel for
a multidisciplinary team, preferably consisting of an agriculturalist and an economist, who
talk with representatives of policy making agencies, community leaders and a sample of
farmers and their families. Such surveys should provide information on agricultural aspects
of farmers' circumstances, such as soils, present level of production, weed problems, pest
problems, livestock, etc., besides aspects of the farmers that affect their production decisions.
Careful screening of the data should permit the identification of possible solutions to farmers'
While carrying out on-farm testing, both researcher-managed and farmer-managed trials
are crucial. The evaluation criteria should be the same as that used by farmers. Performance
of improved and new technology will, of course, drop as it is moved from experimental
stations to farm level, particularly under farmer-managed conditions, where it is being tested
for compatibility with the existing system.
Farmer-managed trials should have fewer treatments than researcher-managed trials.
Farmer-managed trials should have larger plots and involve as many farmers as convenient
on a continuing basis. Farms chosen should be such as representative as possible of large
areas. More cooperative and average farmers should be taken as collaborators to get a
satisfactory appraisal of the technology under test.
Extension workers and agents should be involved directly in the on-farm testing
activities so that they are fully informed. Working with researchers, the extension agents
have the opportunity to learn something more effectively than through the traditional top-
down system. They, together with researchers, should also monitor the spread and evaluate
the performance of the newly introduced technology. Collaborating farmers in farmer-
managed trials will supplement these efforts by disseminating the technology to fellow
farmers. Interviews and discussions with such farmers on radio, television and during field
days will go a long way in encouraging other farmers to adopt the new technology. Research
and extension staff can provide farmers with economic information on various technologies,

42 Module 8 Single Session Research-extension linkage

especially during field days at the time of harvest of a crop, when farmers can evaluate the
returns and risks. The farmers' reaction to new technologies provides the feedback for the
guidance of future research work on the experimental stations.

Adaptive trials
Adaptive trials involve fairly large areas for final testing of technology packages. These
trials should be in the hands of extension specialists, with the support of agricultural
researchers and economists. Farmers participate in the management of these trials, thus
forming local foci for dissemination of the technology. Not least, the farmers provide
extremely critical and realistic evaluations.
Organizing field days involving neighboring farmers should stimulate discussion of
the suitability of a technology. Additionally, when seed production is a constraint due to lack
of appropriate seed producing agencies, adaptive trials with the involvement of breeders and
production specialists can form the basis for rapid, seed multiplication programmes.
However, fields having such trials will have to be carefully supervised through the entire
growth cycle of the crop to ensure varietal purity.
If a large number of adaptive trials are conducted throughout the area, more precise
economic analyses of costs and returns for the new technology can be carried out. Primary
management responsibility for these plots should rest with extension workers and farmers,
with back-up support from researchers.
The process described above focuses on the organization of production research and
extension programmes aimed at developing and transferring technologies appropriate for
target groups of farmers. It strengthens linkages between researchers and extension workers
and is an excellent training forum for the latter throughout the crop season. Joint
participation of researchers and extension workers as a team in this process provides an
excellent solution to problems arising from specialist interventions in isolation from the
overall farming system. Furthermore, involving farmers in the strategy helps direct work
toward development of technology suited to farmers' circumstances in order to accelerate
production and productivity of the area, besides keeping researchers up-to-date with farmers'


Benor, D., & Harrison, J.Q. 1977. Agricultural Extension: The Training and Visit System.
Washington DC: World Bank.
Ministry of Agriculture. 1982. Agricultural Extension Manual. Department of Agricultural
Extension, Ministry of Agriculture, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Moshir, A.T. 1981. Three Ways to Spur Agricultural Growth. New York, NY:
International Agricultural Development Service.

Training manual for institute management 43


Since the mid-1980s, farming systems research (FSR) has emerged as a popular and major
theme in international agricultural research. Yet, despite the widespread use of the term,
tremendous diversity persists in the research concepts, approaches, methods, activities and
objectives to which it is applied. The activities incorporated under FSR range from computer
models simulating small-scale farm systems to integrated rural development strategies, and
from complex experiment station trials of cropping systems to simple on-farm testing of
technologies. This diversity is due in part to the continuing evolution of the concept; the
definition has changed with implementation and practical experience.

FSR evolved in the post-green-revolution era with the growing perception of the failure of
agricultural research and extension institutions to generate and disseminate technologies that
were adopted on a wide scale by small-scale farmers. 'Improved' technology, while perhaps
sound by scientific standards, was of limited utility if not adopted by farmers. The problem
was a lack of understanding of the conditions under which small-scale farmers operated,
resulting from a fundamentally top-down approach to agricultural research and technology
development. The analysis reflected a significant change in the attitude of the scientific
community towards small-scale farmers, an attitude that had evolved during the 1960s and
early 1970s. Several new assumptions concerning or perceptions of small-scale farmers
figured prominently in the development of FSR.
First, small-scale farmers were not rejecting technologies out of sheer ignorance,
conservatism or sloth. Rather, it is now accepted that small-scale farmers were rational,
although they pursued goals and employed criteria for evaluating technologies which were
distinct from those of the agricultural scientists working on research stations. Neither yield
maximization nor even profit maximization could be assumed as the standard by which to
measure the success or potential relevance of a new technology.
Second, indigenous small-scale farm systems in the tropics and sub-tropics came to be
viewed as not merely primitive or underdeveloped agriculture, but as complex systems which

1. Abstracted from FAO. 1986. The technology applications gap: overcoming constraints to small-farm
development. [FAO] Research and Technology Paper, No. 1.

Module 8 Session 1

Hand-out 6

44 Module 8 Single Session Research-extension linkage

have evolved in response to particular agroclimatic and socio-economic conditions and
constraints. It was realized that, to develop relevant technologies, the existing farming
systems had to be studied and understood, and the farmers' extensive knowledge about their
environments brought into the research process.
Primary factors which contribute to the complexity of small-scale farm systems in
developing countries are as follows (Byerlee, Harrington and Winkelmann, 1982):
a long growing season, or multiple growing seasons, which increases the range of crop
choices and permits multiple and relay cropping systems as well as diversified
high levels of uncertainty and risk created by significant climatic variability, unreliable
input and output markets, unfavourable or erratic pricing policies, marginal resources
and low farm incomes and productivity;
the combination of subsistence and commercial activities within the farming system,
creating multiple goals, priorities and criteria for evaluating technology in the farming
general reliance on household labour as the primary factor of production, coupled with
a chronic scarcity of cash;
considerable heterogeneity in resources and factors of production controlled by farming
households, even within a designated region.
Third, farm management economics could be applied to small-scale farm agriculture in the
tropics, as shown by Collinson's (1984) extensive work on farming systems in Tanzania and
Norman's in Nigeria (cited in Simmonds, 1984). Their work drew attention to the fact that
small-scale farmers operating diversified farming systems have to make complex decisions
about the allocation of scarce resources and factors of production among numerous
enterprises. This had two critical implications for agricultural research. The first was that
farmers' management strategies and decisions could only be understood within the context
of the whole farm system. The second was that ideal management in any specific enterprise
is not feasible in the small-scale farm situation. Ideal management, however, had been, and
often still is, assumed in research station trials and in evaluating technologies.
Fourth, there is significant diversity among small-scale farm systems in terms of the
socio-economic circumstances and physical environments in which they operate. This
diversity renders many broad-based technologies inappropriate. CIMMYT studies of
adoption of high-yielding varieties (HYVs) of wheat and maize among small-scale farmers
conducted in the 1970s revealed that agroclimatic zone and socio-economic circumstances
were the primary factors affecting adoption patterns. CIMMYT concluded that more fine
tuning of technology was necessary if it were to be successfully transferred to small-scale
farmers (Byerlee, Harrington and Winkelmann, 1982; Winkelmann, 1984).
Fifth, it was observed that technologies which depend heavily on petroleum products
could, with rising oil prices, create significant instability, rather than benefits, in agriculture.
Last, systems theory and modelling emerged as a framework and tool for handling the
complex interactions and multiple variables characteristic of small-scale farm systems
(Simmonds, 1984).
Drawing on these new insights and concepts, FSR evolved as a potential technique for
solving diagnosed problem of irrelevant technology generation created by the overly top-down

Training manual for institute management

approach of mainstream agricultural development. In its original form, there were two basic
The farming system, with emphasis on interactions between components, is the
appropriate unit of analysis for agricultural research on small-scale farms. A holistic
view of the farming system should serve as the framework for designing, developing
and testing technologies. The goal should be to improve the productivity of the
farming system, not of specific components.
Technology cannot be developed in a vacuum. To be relevant and adopted, it must take
into account small-scale farmers' (the clients') socio-economic circumstances, their
goals for production and the constraints operating within the farming system. The most
effective means to do this is to bring small-scale farmers into the research process.
These tenets explicitly called for collaboration between social scientists and technical
agricultural scientists in technology development, design, testing, evaluation and

FSR was developed to overcome perceived weaknesses in mainstream agricultural research
by integrating a number of key activities and concepts into a coherent research process.
FSR is farmer oriented
FSR targets small-scale farmers as the clients for agricultural research and technology
development. Consequently, its fundamental objective is to make technology generation more
relevant to their goals, needs and priorities. Several mechanisms are commonly employed
to attain this objective. Farmers are integrated into the research process. The existing
farming system is studied before proposing improved technologies. Social scientists
collaborate with technical scientists in the analysis of the existing system, constraint diagnosis
and the development of alternative technologies. Technologies are adapted to local
circumstances and the needs of a specific, relatively homogeneous group of farmers.
FSR is systems oriented
FSR views the farm in a holistic manner and focuses on interactions between components.
This is necessary for understanding the complexity and functioning of small-scale farm
agriculture. In practice, detailed analysis rarely encompasses the whole farm, but the farming
system is used as a framework for the analysis while specific components, sub-systems or
interactions are focused on.
FSR is a problem-solving approach
FSR is essentially operational research which first identifies technical, biological and socio-
economic constraints at the farm level for major types of farming systems, and then
endeavours to develop technologies which are feasible for adoption by the target farming
households. The research process is both iterative and dynamic, with adjustments being made
in technology design as understanding and communication with small-scale farmers develops.
FSR is interdisciplinary
FSR, by its very nature, cuts across traditional commodity and disciplinary boundaries.
Collaboration between agricultural scientists of various disciplines and social scientists is

46 Module 8 Single Session Research-extension linkage

needed to understand the conditions under which small-scale farmers operate, in order to
diagnose constraints and develop improved technologies.
FSR is complementary
FSR does not replace mainstream commodity and disciplinary agricultural research; it is
complementary to it. FSR was originally conceived to draw on the body of knowledge of
technologies and management strategies generated by discipline and commodity research, and
to adapt them to the specific environments and socio-economic circumstances of a target
group of relatively homogeneous farmers.
FSR tests technology in on-farm trials
On-farm experimentation establishes the context for collaboration between farmers and
researchers, and fosters a deeper understanding of the farming system among researchers.
It also provides for the evaluation of technologies under the environmental and management
conditions in which it is expected to be used.
FSR provides feedback from farmers
Feedback on farmers' goals, needs, priorities and criteria for evaluating technologies is
channelled by FSR to station-based agricultural researchers and to national and regional


Byerlee, D., Harrington, L., & Winkelmann, D. 1982. Farming systems research:
issues in research strategy and technology design. American Journal of Agricultural
Economics, 64: 897-904.
Chang, M.J. (ed) 1984. Issues in Organization and Management of Research with a
Farming Systems Perspective Aimed at Technology Generation. The Hague, the
Netherlands: CIMMYT and ISNAR.
Collinson, M. 1982. Farming systems research in East Africa: the experience of
CIMMYT and some national agricultural research services, 1976-1981. Michigan
State University International Development Paper, No. 7.
Coulter, J.K. 1984. Activities of development agencies in support of farming systems
research. Proceedings of a workshop. in: Chang, 1984, q.v.
Dillon, J.L., & Anderson, J.R. In press. Concept and practice in farming systems
research. in: Martin, J.V. (ed) Proceedings of ACIAR Consultation on Agricultural
Research in East Africa.
Elliot, H. 1977. Farming systems research in francophone Africa: methods and results.
Paper presented at the Ford Foundation Farming Systems Seminar, Tunis, Tunisia,
1-3 February 1977.
Rhoades, R., & Booth, R. 1982. Farmer-back-to-farmer: a model for generating
acceptable technology. CIP [International Potato Research Centre] Social Sciences
Department Working Paper, No. 1982-1.

Training manual for institute management 47

Shaner, W.W., Philipps, P.F., & Schmehl, W.R. 1982. Farming Systems Research and
Development: A Guideline for Developing Countries. Boulder, Colorado, CO:
Westview Press.
Simmonds, N.W. 1984. The state of the art of farming systems research. Paper
prepared for the Agriculture and Rural Development Department, World Bank,
Washington, D.C.
Technical Advisory Committee. 1978. Farming Systems Research at the International
Agriculture Research Centers. Washington, D.C.: Technical Advisory Committee,
Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research.
Winkelmann, D. 1984. Recent views in farming systems research. in: Chang, 1984,

Training manual for institute management 49

Module 8 Session 1

Reading note


Developments in agricultural research have yielded high rates of return through increased
agricultural productivity in many countries (Ruttan, 1982). This has encouraged large
investments, often financing by borrowing from external agencies, to develop capacities for
agricultural research and extension systems in developing countries. This has been done in
the hope that it would increase agricultural production substantially so as to meet the needs
of burgeoning populations. However, in recent years, two major concerns have been raised
regarding the relative failure of research-extension services in increasing agricultural
production: first, the research problems being investigated are generally not in accordance
with the priority needs of agricultural producers and hence are of less relevance in addressing
the prevailing problems; second, the (relevant) knowledge generated at the research stations
have not been effectively transferred to the producers. Though it appears the first concern
is directed towards the research extension or transfer of technology institutions, many studies
have identified weaknesses in the links between research and extension institutions as the
major reason for both these problems. It has been reported (USAID, 1982; FAO, 1984) that
in most countries communication between public research and extension agencies is weak.
This ineffective link between research and extension "has impeded the development and
transfer of technology appropriate for small-scale, resource-poor farmers, particularly those
who work in relatively low-potential, heterogenous agro-ecological areas" (Ewell, 1989, p. 1).
Problems in technology development and transfer functions arise because these functions are
treated in isolation (World Bank, 1985). According to a World Bank report (1985, pp.
79-80), "bridging the gap between research and extension is the most serious institutional
problem in developing an effective research and extension system."

The ultimate objective of both research and extension systems is to increase agricultural
production. Their roles of generating and transferring technology are complementary.
Research institutions need to have information on the problems, technology requirements and
socio-economic and ecological environment of producers to formulate research agendas and
to set priorities. Formulating a research agenda based on producers' requirements results in
technology that will be more acceptable to users; this also leads to research institutions
allocating their resources more efficiently. Researchers may also have to interact with

50 Module 8 Single Session Research-extension linkage

producers on a continuing basis during the process of technology generation. Extension
services can provide research institutions with information on research requirements and play
a mediatory role between farmers and researchers. Extension services require a continuous
flow of information from research institutions on new and improved practices. Therefore an
efficient two-way communication process is necessary for generating and transferring
technology effectively. The success of the two-way communication is determined mainly by
the effectiveness of linkage between research and extension institutions.

The basic consideration in designing any research-extension system is technology flow.
Knowledge of the process of technology flow facilitates diagnosis of research-extension
linkage problems. The technology flow concept is based on the premise that technology is
derived from science and flows from research station to users with or without an intermediary
agency such as an extension service. In agriculture, the term 'technology' is used broadly
to also include improved crop varieties and livestock, chemical inputs, farm implements and
farm practices (Javier, 1989).

Technology flow processes
Technology flow involves sequential processes along the science-practice continuum. They
are: science, technology generation, technology testing, technology adaptation research,
technology integration, dissemination, diffusion and adoption (Roling, 1989). The transfer
of technology model (Chambers, 1983) is most common, where breakthroughs developed by
researchers are transferred to extension for delivery to users. This is a one-way, linear
process and similar to the progressive farmer approach (Roling, 1989). This assumption of
a linear, sequential flow of technology has been criticized by many social scientists as it
ignores the actual contribution and potential of farmers as generators of technology (Javier,
1989). The model also neglects policy-driven, market-driven, and farmer-driven innovation.
Several other models such as the technology innovation process (McDermott, 1987);
the research-extension process (Bernardo, 1986); the technology generation and delivery
process; and the agricultural technology development system have been developed to
describe technology flow. These models have been synthesized in the research-extension
interface model (Javier, 1989) shown in Figure 1. The components of this model are: basic
research, strategic research, technology generation (applied research), technology testing,
technology integration, technology production, technology dissemination (technology transfer)
and technology adoption. In this model, basic research refers to research conducted in the
basic sciences. Strategic research, which mainly includes research on directly applicable
basic knowledge, is taken as the boundary between science and technology.
Technology generation, testing, integration, production, dissemination and adoption
constitute the technology development process. Technology generation has the same function
as applied research, where the knowledge accumulated from basic science research is
organized, interpreted, reformulated and translated into technology. Technology testing
refers to verifying the results of new technology in the field to obtain early feedback. This
is indeed a part of farming systems research (FSR) and on-farm trials. For the purpose of
testing, participation of the extension service has been increasingly sought as its widespread
networks help in reaching out to farmers, especially in less well endowed regions.

Training manual for institute management

Figure 1 The research-extension interface in the technology flow process



<= ................................ --- ------ ............... =



Key: BR = Basic research; SR = strategic research; TG = technology generation; TT = technology testing;
TI = technology integration; TD/TTr = technology dissemination and technology transfer;
TA = technology adoption.
Source: Javier, E.Q. 1989. Recent approaches in the study and management of the linkages between
agricultural research and extension. ISNAR Staff Notes, No. 89-63.

Technology integration involves fine tuning and packaging of technologies into specific
recommendations. Technology production involves designing and producing information
materials, improved inputs, training programmes, etc. Technology dissemination is the
process of delivery of technology to farmers.
Agricultural research includes activities from strategic research to technology
production, and the extension function includes technology testing to technology
dissemination. Thus technology testing, integration and production constitute the essential
overlap area for linkage between research and extension.

The linkage problem
Agricultural research institutions usually concentrate their effort on strategic research and
technology generation. Some efforts towards technology testing are also made. However,
technology integration and production activities are generally neglected. In contrast, most
extension agencies concentrate their effort on technology production and technology
dissemination, with negligible attention given to technology integration and testing. Critical
linkage problems therefore arise at the technology integration stage, followed by the
technology testing and production stages.
In the absence of clear directions, research or extension personnel concentrate their
effort on those activities which, in their judgment, are considered important. The judgment
of these personnel are influenced principally by their background, experience and training.
Usually, their background and training has not emphasized linkage activities. Often the
institutions themselves give a low priority to linkage, especially when research and extension
activities are administered by separate institutions. As a result, research institutions and
personnel consider strategic research and technology generation to be their 'main activities,'

Module 8 Single Session Research-extension linkage

while extension institutions and personnel consider technology production and dissemination
to be their 'main activity.' In the process, linkage activities are neglected, or considered
subsidiary by both. However, linkage activities cannot be performed in isolation; they
require coordination of personnel from both research and extension functions, which demands
additional efforts from both functions. Since background and training generally do not
emphasize linkage activities, more effort is needed to build expertise in such activities. Thus
the additional effort needed for coordinating and building expertise is also a major constraint
when considering these activities to be 'main' for both research and extension personnel. The
linkage problem is more severe in cases where research and extension functions are
performed by separate public institutions.
In the absence of effective linkage, researchers do not receive enough information about
the environment and resource constraints under which farmers are operating. This is an
important piece of information for research institutions when setting their priorities and goals.
Also, extension agents do not receive the necessary information and cooperation they need
from researchers to adapt and then disseminate new technology. The linkage problems thus
cause disruptions in technology flow and lead to low adoption rates, increased time lags
between development and adoption of new technology, reduced efficiency in the use of
resources, unnecessary competition and duplication of efforts, and increased cost of
agricultural research and extension activities.

Agricultural research and extension functions are generally organized under a ministry of
agriculture. However, within the ministry there are separate institutions or departments for
performing these functions. These institutions or departments may have different
organizational structures and operational procedures. Universities and national research
institutes are generally research centres, while the agriculture department performs the
extension function.
In this conventional system, most emphasis is laid on breeding, testing and distributing
activities. A top-down system is followed in generation and technology transfer, where
researchers are expected to come up with better varieties and hand over them to extension
for demonstrations and diffusion to farmers. In this set-up, each function develops its own
programme more or less independently, leading to duplication of programmes. This is not
only a waste of resources but also creates confusion among producers regarding which
organization to approach.
This type of research and extension system is hierarchically structured from national
level to field level. Internal communications from upper to lower levels within the
organization may be easy, but communication between organizations takes a circuitous route
and hence is often ineffective. Coordination at lower levels is possible only with specific
directives from higher levels.
This model has been successful in meeting the demands of resource-rich farmers and
producers of high value commodities, as they are able to communicate their needs to
researchers. However, small-scale, resource-poor farmers, especially in less productive and
heterogeneous agro-ecological areas, have been left out of this model. There is no feedback
from these farmers to agricultural departments and thence to research centres.

Training manual for institute management

Such research extension systems are found most commonly in developing countries.
In developed countries, such as the USA, the extension role is also performed by research
institutions (Cooperative Extension Services) which facilitates a better integration of research
and extension functions. In addition, in such countries the private sector takes an active
interest in technology generation and supply.

Types of agriculture and research-extension linkage
The nature of research-extension linkage problems vary with the agro-climatic and
socio-economic characteristics of the local agriculture (Chambers, 1988). Based on the above
characteristics, Chambers classified agriculture into three categories.
The first category is characterized by high-input, high-yielding production systems, and
found primarily in developed countries and in a few areas in developing countries. The
problems of farmers in this system are overproduction and escalating costs. Here the
research-extension linkage is well established.
The second category consists of areas benefitting from the green revolution, where
applied research has made a dramatic impact on foodgrain yields. This type of agriculture
is found mainly in high-capacity areas of the tropical countries, and particularly where
irrigation is available. In these areas, a reasonably strong linkage between research and
extension exists, and the need for further strengthening the linkage is moderate.
In the third category, which is characterized by poor and diverse resources endowments
and ecological conditions, the most urgent need is to strengthen the research-extension
linkage. These areas are characterized by low and uncertain rainfall, lack of irrigation, and
poor infrastructure. Yields are low and uncertain, and there is a general degradation of
resources. However, the potential for increasing agricultural production is high and
unexploited. The challenge in these areas is to develop sustainable technology for the
heterogeneous agro-ecological and socio-economic conditions.
Though attention has been given to the third category of agriculture, most prevailing
research and extension systems have been organized and managed to meet the technology
demand of the first two types, as they generate urgently needed foreign exchange and produce
foodgrains. The technology needs of the third category of farmers are mainly expressed
through government policy, as the farmers are unorganized in such areas.

The reasons for poor linkages between research and extension have been categorized into
political, technical and organizational (Kaimowitz, Snyder and Engel, 1989).

This refers specifically to institutional politics, and the different interest groups.
There is a lack of external or internal pressure on institutions and personnel to achieve
high levels of performance. External pressure could come from national policy makers,
foreign donors, farmers or the private sector. Except in exceptional circumstances, such as
disease outbreaks, major crop shortfalls, etc., intervention by national policy-makers is

54 Module 8 Single Session Research-extension linkage

generally minimal. Pressure from resource-poor farmers in developing countries is also
negligible, mainly because of their inability to organize themselves. Since participation of
the private sector is insignificant in resource-poor areas, the pressure exerted by
resource-poor farmers on research and extension is also negligible. In the absence of
effective external pressure, the institutions and personnel involved in research and extension
tend to be motivated more by their own social and political needs than by the needs of
resource-poor farmers. This results in extension personnel concentrating what they perceive
to be their main activities, which are likely to make them less integrated with research, while
researchers concentrate more on on-station research than on on-farm research. This tendency
to perform only their 'main activities' leads to neglect of linkage activities.
Adequate resources are lacking to achieve the stated goals. In a resource-limited
situation, linkage activities suffer most, as they have to compete with research and extension
functions to obtain a share of the available resources; which tend to be allocated to 'main
activities.' Since resources are inadequate, the linkage function will probably not be able to
attract much funding, and hence be unable to attract and keep high-calibre personnel.

Technical reasons relate to specific types of activities and methodologies associated with
technology development and delivery.
Lack of professionalism and de-centralization, coupled with less hierarchical
management, are needed in order to be effective in less productive and more diverse
environments. Research efforts in these environments have to be more widely dispersed and
pose more complex technical problems, and hence require more location-specific diagnosis
of problems and adaptation of technology. Well qualified personnel tend to leave such places
Lack of the necessary infrastructure may force researchers and extension personnel to
adopt alternative technologies which may not be appropriate for the region.
There is lack of flexibility in initiating the various links required for different types of
technology. For example, the types of links required for already established technologies are
different from the links needed for developing and delivering new technologies.

Organizational reasons comprise those relating to structural problems, motivational and
incentive problems, resource problems and communication problems (Kaimowitz, 1987).
Structural Problems
There are differences in orientation and work style, concerns related to competence, and level
of contact between research and extension personnel. Researchers are more oriented towards
the general scientific community, have a longer time horizon, and want to be absolutely sure
about the recommendations; extension personnel focus more on their specific employer and
use the best answer available at a given moment.
The responsibility of conducting adaptive research, communication of research results,
or feedback from users to researchers is not generally assigned to individuals. Extension
workers would like researchers to produce more timely research findings, write

Training manual for institute management 55

recommendations in the local languages) and make them available (Seegers and Kaimowitz,
A particular technology is often thrust upon a locality and extension workers are forced
to promote it though it does not suit the local agro-ecological or socio-economic conditions.
Failure of such technology costs extension workers the goodwill of farmers.
Linkage activities are often assigned to an inappropriate institution or department.
Excessive centralization of authority curtails flexibility, particularly important for
linkage activities, while excessive de-centralization results in poor attention given to linkage
There is often need for a high-level authority to ensure that institutions coordinate their
activities and perform their responsibilities.
Institutional incompatibilities such as research by commodity and extension by region;
different clientele; or different time schedules for planning and budgeting can seriously
impede linkage development.
Motivational and incentive problems
Individuals may have little incentive to perform linkage activities, made obvious where
researchers and extension agents avoid linkage activities such as adaptive field trials and
preparation of written materials for extension agents (McDermott, 1987).
Rewards for journal publication may be higher than those for performing linkage
Resource problems
Sufficient financial resources for linkage functions such as publications, testing of research
results and training of extension workers are often lacking, while there may be sufficient
human resources in the organization but they may not be available for linkage activities.
Communication problems
There may be wide differences in value systems, educational backgrounds and communication
methods between research and extension workers. Extension workers perceive researchers
as working in ivory towers (as they are considered professionals, with more academic
qualifications and training and therefore given higher status) and producing technologies
which are not useful at farm level (FAO, 1984; Samy, 1986). At the same time, researchers
question extension workers' capability to understand research outcomes, to communicate
properly with farmers (Quisumbing, 1984) and to provide valuable inputs (Seegers and
Kaimowitz, 1989).
Infrastructure for communications may be weak or non-existent.
A high turnover of staff makes it difficult to establish long-term relationships.

Linkage principles
Since research and extension personnel have complementary roles in agricultural
development, the success of each group is determined largely by the effectiveness of linkage
activities. Even where the research and extension functions are located within one institution,

56 Module 8 Single Session Research-extension linkage

linkages between them are not automatic. Therefore, appropriate mechanisms to strengthen
linkages need to be developed. For developing such mechanisms it is important to understand
the principles that determine the success of linkage activities. Six principles of linkage have
been identified (Zuidema, 1989):
a necessary condition for groups or institutions to participate effectively in linkage
activities is that they should share a common purpose (i.e., domain consensus);
the groups or institutions should perceive that it is advantageous for them to participate
in linkage activities;
there should be common ground or proximity of location between each group or
institution to facilitate collaboration;
linkage activities should be compatible with other activities of each group;
there should be rewards for individuals participating in linkage activities; and
communication between members of different groups should be effective and there should
be free flow of information between groups.

Types of linkages
Four major types of linkages have been identified, based on ways of communication and
channels of communication (Stoop, 1988).
'Formal' versus 'Informal' linkages Formal linkages refer to linkages that are specified and
agreed to by organizations. Informal linkages are direct person-to-person contacts, based on
the need for collaboration between individuals. Since informal linkage is an effective and
low-cost method, it should be encouraged along with formal linkages.
'Top-down' versus 'Bottom-up' linkages In top-down linkage, information flows from
scientists to extension and then to producers. Bottom-up linkages refers to the flow of
information from producers to scientists. Information from farmers is based on their practical
knowledge and helps improve the effectiveness of research programmes.
'Internal' versus 'External' linkages Internal linkages refer to linkages among scientists
working in different disciplines and on different commodities, whereas external linkages are
linkages with major clients, such as farmers, policy-makers, etc. External linkages help
identify gaps in research priority and assess the utility of research programmes.
'Downstream' versus 'Upstream' linkages These linkages are a part of external linkages.
Upstream linkages occur between research and policy making. The aim here is to secure
adequate funding and political support for research. Downstream linkages occur between
researchers and producers, to set research agendas and to establish priorities.

The linkage mechanism is the concrete procedure, regular event, arrangement, device or
channel which bridges the gap between components of the system and allows communication
between them (Roling, 1989). ISNAR studies have identified a number of mechanisms which
could be used to strengthen the research-extension linkage. Some of these mechanism are
appropriate only to specific situations. Those mechanisms over which managers or policy-

Training manual for institute management

makers may have some control are categorized into structural and organizational, and
managerial (Zuidema, 1988).

Structural and organizational mechanisms
Combining research and extension functions into one unit.
De-centralizing research and extension activities into regional institutions.
Fielding subject-matter specialists in extension.
Staffing extension liaison positions in research institutions.
Establishing communication-cum-information departments.
Redefining roles and responsibilities between research and extension units.
Creating inter-agency committees or councils.
Developing inter-agency agreements for collaboration.
Physically locating research and extension units together.
Providing for farmer participation in research activities.
Liaising with private organizations and NGOs.

Managerial mechanisms
Redefining job descriptions to strengthen relationships.
Establishing joint reviews of research and extension activities.
Improving individual incentives (personal, professional and financial) for collaboration.
Changing evaluation procedures to emphasize collaboration.
Exchanging personnel, e.g., posting extension staff in a research organization.
Joint training for expanded roles in a technology system.
Joint use of facilities and services such as soil testing laboratories.
Joint participation in functions such as field testing and demonstrations.
Promoting informal linkages.
Exchanging information using jointly developed protocols.

Linkage issues
The above list of mechanisms is not exhaustive, and consensus is lacking on some of them.
Based on a large number of country reviews of NARS, ISNAR has made the following
observations (Zuidema, 1988):
Combining research and extension in one institution at the national, regional or
experiment station level does not necessarily ensure adequate linkages. Irrespective of
whether combined or not, accountability of one to the other is a critical issue.

Module 8 Single Session Research-extension linkage

Creation of permanent liaison departments within research and extension for carrying out
linkage functions can be effective. However, this alone is not sufficient to build
effective linkages.
Research and technology transfer institutions should have joint responsibility for
diagnostic activities, adaptive research, on-farm trials, reviewing results and impact
Research-extension-producer linkages have improved with de-centralization of both
authority and resources. However, it is important to maintain a critical mass of
researchers at any one location.
In general, high levels of vertical integration of functions enhance the possibility of
effective linkages and stimulate producer demand for technology. Single commodity
programmes, however, are not suitable for producers of regions where many
commodities are raised and the resource base is highly variable.
Physical proximity and regular contact between researchers and extension personnel help
in facilitating informal linkage.
Research institutions should be adapted to the local environment and conditions.

Technology transfer models
The conventional transfer-of-technology Figure 2 The top-down technology transfer model
models are the top-down and feedback
models. In the top-down model (Figure 2),
technology transfer is a one-way process ____
where technologies developed by scientists
are passed on to extension services to be
transferred to users. The weakness of this Extension
model is that it does not involve farmers in
identifying the constraints and adapting the
research to local conditions. This model has
failed in areas where the farming system is Farmer
The feedback model (Figure 3) is an
attempt to overcome the weaknesses of the top-down model. In this model the response of
users to the new technology is gathered. However, this feedback is considered to be weak
as the users remain passive recipients of technology and the feedback function solely rests
with the extension service (Stoop, 1988).

An improved version of this model is the modified feedback technology model
(Figure 4), in which importance is given to identification of farmer target groups in the
recommendation domain.
The farmer-back-to-farmer model (Figure 5, based on Rhoades and Booth, 1982) is
designed to improve two-way communication. In this model, farmers and extension
personnel are actively involved in the research process. It is based on the assumption that

Training manual for institute management 59

Figure 3 The feedback technology transfer model

research must begin and end with the farmer. The model involves diagnosis to define
problems; interdisciplinary team research to develop potential solutions; on-farm and
experiment station testing and adaptation of proposed solutions to farmer's conditions, and
farmer evaluation and adaptation of the technology and monitoring of its adoption (Stoop,
1988). The degree of farmer participation and integration between on-station and on-farm
research is high in this model compared with the modified feedback model.

Based on these models several alternative systems have been developed and
implemented for integrated research-extension-producer interactions. Figure 6 shows
increasingly unified research and extension systems (based on Stoop, 1988).

Figure 5 'Farmer-back-to-farmer' technology generation and transfer system

Farmer evaluation and


Adapting & testing; on-
farm or research station


extensionist diagnosis

L .-----------------J
r ---- ----- -- .................................................................
POTENTIAL Seeking solutions: inter-
SOLUTIONS I disciplinary research
L ----- -------------- J .................................................................

Figure 4 The modified feedback technology transfer model
Figure 4 The modified feedback technology transfer model


FSR/E = farming systems research/extension

Module 8 Single Session Research-extension linkage

Figure 6 Increasingly integrated research (R)-extension (E)-producer (P) interactions
(from Stoop, 1988, based on R. Devred, pers. comm.)

Research (R) Extension (E) Producer (P)

O Oc- LdOO
o O O ---

SO O oo
OR- IO ---- O



Conventional systems fragmentec
commodity and/or discipline

Unified research system
extension system fragmented by

Superimposed research,
pre-extension and extension

Unified Research-Extension

Triangular system of collaboration
with institutions committed to
individual and specific functions

Integration of functions

Training manual for institute management 61

In the traditional system, research and extension programmes are fragmented and
barriers exist between various institutions with research and extension functions (Figure 6a).
For achieving better integration, the research function is unified (Figure 6b), while further
integration is achieved by having a unified extension system together with a pre-extension unit
acting as liaison between research and extension (Figure 6c). Complete integration between
research and extension is achieved by having one institution for both research and extension
(Figure 6d). A high degree of integration is promoted by facilitating two-way communication
when the research and extension functions are performed by separate agencies (Figure 6e).
Research-extension systems that are completely unified (Figure 6f) are typical of the USA
(the land-grant university system) and the Netherlands.

In order to address the technology needs of farmers in regions with poor and diverse resource
endowment and ecological conditions, it is suggested that adaptive research should be
designed to link farmers directly with research. As a result, a variety of on-farm
programmes have been instituted within research systems. A number of methodological
approaches have been developed, such as FSR, cropping systems research, production
systems research, farmer-back-to-farmer, farmer-first-farmer-last, on-farm research with a
systems perspective, etc. The focus common to all these FSR and extension approaches is
that the farmer is seen as the client of research. These approaches also emphasize setting
research priorities and designing technical solutions based on the constraints identified, with
active involvement of farmers at the various stages of the research process (Merrill-Sands

Farming systems research
FSR has been a popular approach, adopted to improve the research-extension linkage. FSR
systematically identifies and defines client groups, diagnoses priority constraints within their
farming systems, and feeds this information into the priority setting and planning processes
of the research system (Merrill-Sands, 1988). An important and successful FSR approach
one that put heavy emphasis on user orientation is on-farm, client-oriented research

On-farm, client-oriented research
OFCOR involves 'a set of methods integrating trials, formal and informal surveys and a
variety of farm-level activities, which range from the diagnosis and ranking of problems,
through the design, development, adaptation and evaluation of appropriate technologies to
solve them' (Merrill-Sands, 1988: 1). It complements and depends upon experiment station
research. It has also been called 'on-farm adaptive research' or 'farming systems adaptive
research' (Byerlee, Harrington and Winkelmann, 1982; Collinson, 1982; Gilbert, Norman
and Winch, 1980; Norman, 1982). The research functions include a service function, an
adaptive research function and a feedback function (Merrill-Sands, 1988).
The service function involves broad-scale on-farm screening, testing and evaluation of
technologies developed on-station, and transfer of station-based research to the farm.
Adaptive research consists of diagnosis of farm-level constraints and adaptation of existing

62 Module 8 Single Session Research-extension linkage

technology to a particular set of agro-ecological or socio-economic conditions through farm
research. The feedback function involves channelling information from farming system
descriptions, farm-level diagnosis or adaptive research to on-station research.
OFCOR uses several mechanisms to link existing on-station research with the extension
services. These linkage mechanisms include joint problem diagnosis and collaborative
priority-setting and planning exercises; joint programming and review meetings; joint decision
making on release of recommendations; periodic joint visits to the field; formal collaboration
in trials and surveys; assignment of responsibility for coordination to a specific individual or
group; formal guidelines for allocating time to collaborative activities; specific allocation of
funds for collaboration; and facilitation of informal consultation.
OFCOR linkages with the extension service have taken several forms (Ewell, 1989).
In places where formal linkages to extension are weak or extension itself not fully functional,
OFCOR is seen as an alternative diffusion mechanism. Often informal cooperation is
extended by extension workers to OFCOR personnel at the field level in securing cooperation
of local leaders, identifying collaborators, organizing field days, etc. Extension staff also
participate as technicians in the research programmes of OFCOR. In some cases, OFCOR
staff have been involved in rural development projects. Participation of senior extension
specialists as scientists in OFCOR programmes is also common. The activities of these
scientists include on-farm demonstrations, field days, in-service training for extension
workers, and preparation of training materials. There are also formal operational linkages
between OFCOR and extension programmes, and the T&V system is one example.
Based on case studies conducted using a common analytical framework in nine
countries (Bangladesh, Ecuador, Guatemala, Indonesia, Nepal, Panama, Senegal, Zambia and
Zimbabwe), Merrill-Sands (1988) concluded that institutionalization of OFCOR or FSR has
been effective. However, serious problems exist 'in sustaining methodological dynamism,
innovation and a broad research agenda addressing farmers' needs' (Merrill-Sands, 1988: 19).
The methods and procedures used to involve farmers in the research process becomes routine,
and hence farmers lose enthusiasm. Also, maintaining a broad research agenda with an
interdisciplinary perspective has been difficult owing to lack of funds and trained personnel.
The ability of OFCOR to strengthen the link between researchers and farmers is affected by
problems in sustaining farmer involvement throughout the research process, problems in
selecting farmer cooperators who are representative of identified client groups, and problems
in systematically synthesizing and using information obtained from farmers (Merrill-Sands,
Case studies have revealed that the adaptive and applied research functions have been
most successfully implemented; the success of the service function has varied from case to
case; and the feedback and support functions have been least implemented. This is because
the adaptive and applied research functions are easier to institutionalize than the support and
feedback functions. The demarcation of responsibilities between OFCOR and on-station
research can be made easily in the case of applied and adaptive research, and the institutional
changes required are more modest.
Three types of problems have been identified in acceptance and improvement of the
feedback and support functions. First, because these functions involve influencing the
research agenda of other scientists and scientific programmes, they can provoke conflicts of
interest, power and scientific judgment. Second, since both feedback and support functions
depend on interaction among researchers and on joint planning, they involve shifts in

Training manual for institute management 63

researcher's work programmes, areas of responsibility and decision making autonomy.
Third, benefits accruing from the collaboration entailed in the feedback and support functions,
which are somewhat intangible and realized only in the long term, are often perceived as
greater for the institution than for the researcher.

Linkage issues in farming systems research
Since many farming system research and extension (FSR&E) activities are still parts of
special projects, the question of institutionalization of FSR&E practices and procedures is a
major issue. Case studies have shown that OFCOR programmes have been fairly successful
at diagnosis and at improving the quality of information available on farmer's conditions.
Nevertheless, on-farm research cannot be substituted for developing linkages with extension
for the transfer of technology to farmers.
For institutionalizing OFCOR, the issues that need to be addressed are organizational
and managerial, relating to the integration of on-farm and experiment station research and
linkages between OFCOR and extension.

Subject-matter specialists
Fielding subject-matter specialists is another mechanism adopted to improve the effectiveness
of extension and strengthen the linkage between research and extension. Subject-matter
specialists provide a two-way link between researchers and extension workers. They provide
technical guidance and support to extension staff, develop extension recommendations, and
provide training to extension officers and field staff. They work closely with researchers in
conducting on-farm research, evaluating improved technologies for dissemination, and
preparing extension materials based on field results. Availability of qualified subject-matter
specialists is a problem in many countries.

Training and Visit System
The T&V system was introduced to improve the effectiveness of extension. It involves
continuous training of the field staff and regular visits to the field at frequent intervals. The
field staff visit the field at least every two weeks and are responsible solely for extension
activities. During their visits, the field staff spend at least one day in training and visiting
contact farmers. The field staff are given training by researchers or subject-matter specialists
on the most important practices that farmers will be undertaking during next week or
fortnight. The field staff get feedback on the problems of farmers and communicate them
to researchers. This approach has been successful in irrigated rice and wheat growing
regions of India. The need for a large number of trained staff makes it difficult to use this
approach in diverse and less well endowed regions.

There are other approaches which have been successful in improving the linkage between
research and extension. An example is the adaptive research and planning team (ARPT)
concept, which is regionally based and area focused, and includes agronomists, agricultural
economists and a research extension liaison officer. ARPT has been the primary mechanism

64 Module 8 Single Session Research-extension linkage

of linkage between research and extension in Zambia (Kean and Singango, 1988). ARPT's
involvement in extension activities includes farmer field days, production of monthly
extension newsletters, in-service training of extension workers and farmers, and production
of recommendation packages. Involvement of extension in ARPT activities has included
participation in six-monthly programme planning and evaluation meetings, participation in
formal and informal surveys, conducting on-farm trials and tests, and the revision and release
of crop recommendations. This system has been effective in involving farmers, extension
workers and researchers in a team effort to address the needs of small-scale farmers in the
selected areas of the country.
Several organizations have successfully tried managerial approaches in improving the
research-extension linkage. Hobbs and Dagg (1988) report that some organizations have
adopted various strategies to encourage researchers to actively endorse client-oriented
research. For example, in PATRONATO, located in northwest Mexico, researchers are
evaluated by three criteria: adoption by farmers of their work; importance of the work (e.g.,
a threat of rust outbreak may make working on rust resistance an immediate priority), and
creativity. Salaries of the researchers are based on this evaluation.
Some institutions have been encouraging informal interaction by promoting coffee or
tea breaks. A research station in Tanzania is reported to have succeeded in initiating
harmonious communication between research and extension staff through this approach.
It is important to have a central value for the organization. One has to only manage
the beliefs, practices, and customs of the organization by managing the culture and value
system. This approach has been successful in the Instituto Nacional de Technologia
Agropecuria (INTA).
The Fundacion Servicio para el Agricultor (FUSAGRI) in Venezuela has been
successful in its research work by requiring that all research staff also have an extension role
in delivering their research to farmers.
Communication between researchers and extension workers is found to be better in
developed countries and commodity-specific systems. More informal communications,
extension input and joint research-extension trials are found in these type of situations
(Seegers and Kaimowitz, 1989). Interaction between researchers and extension workers is
high in the case of testing and introduction of new varieties and crop protection technology.


A major drawback to existing approaches is a lack of a systems perspective. The new
approaches suggested recently have successfully minimized this drawback. These are:
the Agricultural Knowledge and Information System (AKIS);
the Agricultural Technology Management System Model (ATMS); and
ISNAR's Research and Technology Transfer Linkages Framework (RTTL).

Training manual for institute management 65

Agricultural Knowledge and Information System
Proposed by Roling (1989), AKIS examines the research-extension interface from a
knowledge-system perspective, with basic, applied and adaptive research, subject-matter
specialists, village-level workers and farmers all seen as components of the system. '... an
AKIS is the set of agricultural institutions, organizations, persons and their linkages and
interactions, engaged in the generation, transformation, transmission, storage, retrieval,
regulation, consolidation, dissemination, diffusion and utilization of knowledge and
information, with the purpose of working synergically to support opinion formation, decision
making, problem solving and/or innovation in a given sector, branch, discipline or other
domain' (Roling, 1989: 1-2).
User control and flow of information and influence from the users of technology are
considered essential ingredients of the system. AKIS contains the interface of both top-down
and bottom-up flows in linkage processes (Figure 7, based on Roling, 1989).
Figure 7 AKIS: an agricultural research and extension linkage system

INSTITUTIONS [Disciplinary research]

(national disciplinary specialists)

Directorate of
11 f Research

SDirectorate of
EXPERIMENT STATIONS [applied (branch) research]

V ft
(national branch specialists)

1 ft

[specialist (discipline); specialist (branch); extension workers (branch)]

I ft
farmers (branch)

AKIS, for effective linkage, stresses similarities in culture, language, socio-economic
status of the personnel, etc., so as to facilitate communication. AKIS proposes the use of
institutional go-betweens to bridge the information and ideological gaps between research and
extension. The functions of these go-betweens are to maintain liaison with research so as to
keep abreast of new technical developments and help translate field problems into
researchable questions; to establish linkages with input suppliers to improve the chances that

66 Module 8 Single Session Research-extension linkage

the right inputs will be available as and when needed; and to provide technical support to
field staff and pick up field problems from them.
Knowledge management is considered a key to the successful running of AKIS. It
requires nudging the widely differing institutions, often under different administrative
arrangements, both public and private, into compatible and complementary system roles.
Knowledge management also requires system articulation, thorough understanding of the
functions to be performed in the system, proper management of interfaces, balancing the
power of the various institutions and users, an effective management information system, and
proper management of resource flows.

Agricultural Technology Management System model
ATMS comprises 'all institutions, individuals and their interdependent relationships aimed at
the generation, assessment and diffusion of improved agricultural technologies in order to
increase agricultural production and incomes' (Javier, 1989). This model helps in identifying
opportunities for improving the overall management of agricultural technology activities in
a country. The model adopts a systems approach (Figure 8, based on Elliot, 1977). with
the technology sector at its core. The technology sector has generating, transfer, and
utilization components. The system operates in a politico-bureaucratic structure which is
composed of representatives of government and decision-makers. The system has an
interface with an exogenous system of technology generating and transferring institutions.
The structural conditions under which it operates include world markets for inputs and
outputs, the resource base of the country and the initial distribution of resources and
economic and political power within the country. The behaviour of the technology sector is
limited by the policy environment.

Figure 8 ATMS: the agricultural technology management system

Policy environment




Structural conditions

ITGS = international technology generating system. ITTS = international technology transfer system.
TGS = technology generating system. TTS = technology transfer system. TUS = technology using system.




I rrs )

Training manual for institute management 67

ATMS operates on the premise that the component parts of the system, individually and
collectively, are amenable to adjustment and manipulation to varying degrees, which will
allow the system to adapt to its constraints or to attack the constraints themselves.

Research and Technology Transfer Linkages Framework
RTTL was developed by ISNAR and specifically designed for the study of linkages.
This model considers three broad sets of contextual factors political, technical and
organizational which condition the choice, operation and effectiveness of linkage
mechanisms among participants within the national agricultural technology system. It also
attempts to introduce the notion of performance indicators.
The political environment is very narrowly defined to mean institutional politics, and
technical factors are those related to the specific type of activities and methodologies
associated with technology development and delivery. The organization and management
factors involve such issues as the division of tasks, resources, authority among different
organizations, units and individuals, and the internal management and informal dynamics of
the organizations and their components. The political and technical factors influence the
linkage mechanisms and the performance of the technology system directly. In addition, they
exert their influence indirectly through the organizational factors. The performance criteria
considered in the model are: integration, technology availability and relevance,
responsiveness and sustainability.
Approaches for improving research and extension linkages in ATMS and RTTL include
both formal and informal linkages.
The formal linkage mechanism could be at individual or institutional level. At
individual level, the formal linkages are integration of functions and the appointment of
linkage officers; at institutional level, the linkages are integration of functions, creation of
linkage units, integration through regular joint activities and integration through ad hoc


Agricultural research and extension are complementary functions to achieve the common
objective of increasing agricultural production. Owing to various political, technical and -
more importantly organizational deficiencies, the linkage between these two functions in
many cases has been weak. This has affected overall systems performance.
Though agricultural research functions include strategic research, technology
generation, technology testing, technology integration and technology production components
of technology flow, most research activities are confined to strategic research and technology
generation. Similarly, though the extension function includes technology testing, technology
integration, technology production and technology dissemination, the first three components
are generally neglected. This results in linkage problems, specifically at technology testing,
technology integration and technology production stages.
Existing agricultural research and extension systems are organized mostly under
separate administrative units. The linkage between research and extension institutions is

68 Module 8 Single Session Research-extension linkage

weak, especially in transferring feedback from farmers to researchers. The top-down models
followed in these institutions do not especially suit agriculture characterized by poor and
diverse endowments and ecological conditions.
Several approaches have been adopted in order to integrate these two functions. FSR
has been a successful approach. Case studies have shown that variations of farming systems
approaches have been successful in integrating research and extension to a great extent.
Some managerial approaches have also been quite successful in strengthening the linkage
between research and extension in many organizations.
Some of the recently proposed models have examined the research and extension
linkage problem in a systems perspective, where linkage forms a part of the system.
These experiences provide very useful insights for research managers. The challenge
lies in managing research in that category of agriculture where the resource endowment is
poor and diverse. In such areas, the development of suitable technology can play a
significant role, because the potential for increasing production still exists. Since extension
networks are generally weak, a research managers' task in such areas (as suggested by Stoop,
1988) is to establish on-farm, client-oriented research activities. Once the producers
participate in the research process and reap the benefits of the research they will be able to
exert pressure on the extension system for their research needs, after the 'research station'
in their locality is relocated. The producers will also be receptive to extension programmes.
The linkage between research and extension could thus be strengthened to a large extent.
Policy-makers and research and extension managers have the great responsibility of
designing organizational structures that are conducive to and encourage the strengthening of
linkages between research and extension. The models developed based on systems
perspectives go a long way toward providing guidelines for designing such organizational
structures. Meanwhile, research and extension managers can also take steps individually to
improve linkages.
there are various linkage mechanisms that have already proved successful that research
managers can use to strengthen linkages with extension. Such mechanisms include
de-centralization of research activities, evaluation of performance of researchers based on the
applicability of their research and extent of their participation in the linkage activities,
increasing individual incentives for collaborative activities with extension personnel, staffing
extension liaison positions, taking the initiative in creating inter-agency committees, preparing
annual plans in consultation with the extension service and promoting informal linkages.


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Byerlee, D., Harrington, L., & Winkelmann, D. 1982. Farming systems research:
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This training manual has been prepared as basic reference material to help national research
trainers structure and conduct training courses on research management at the Institute level.
It is intended primarily for managers of agricultural research institutes in developing countries
and for institutions of higher education interested in presenting in-service training courses on
research management. The manual consists of ten modules, each addressing major
management functions including motivation, leadership, direction, priority setting,
communications and delegation. The four structural functions of management planning,
organization, monitoring and control, and evaluation are covered in individual modules. The
manual has been designed to support participatory learning through case-studies, group
exercises and presentations by the participants.

ISBN 92-5-104098-2

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