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South East Asia

The Asian region, which covers some 46 countries, has been organized for the purpose of this WWES study into five sub-regions, namely: Central, East, South East, South, and West Asia.  The following summary covers South East Asia.

1.         Introduction to the South East Sub-region

Asia’s South East sub-region covers eleven countries: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam. The South East Asian sub-region along with East and South Asia, now accounts for a major share of world economic output and economic growth. South East Asia’s eleven countries are generally divided into “mainland” and “island” zones. The mainland (Myanmar [Burma], Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam) is actually an extension of the Asian continent.  Island or maritime Southeast Asia includes Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Brunei, and the new nation of East Timor or Timor Leste (formerly part of Indonesia) (Asia Society 2012).

2.         Specific countries

Brunei Darussalam. Agricultural extension in Brunei Darussalam is public sector dominant, with extension and advisory services provided mainly through the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood (DOA) of the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources (MIPR). The MIPR is organized into five Departments: DOA, Department of Fisheries, Department of Forestry, Brunei Industrial Development Authority (BINA), and the department of Tourism. A specific unit with the mandate to provide extension and advisory services could not be identified by WWES (2011). However, the Agribusiness Development Division does list the provision of ‘Agribusiness Advisory’ services as one of its main functions.

The agricultural extension system in Brunei Darussalam is characterized by an integrated approach where the original Training & Visit (T&V) methodology of the system is now linked to specific commodity research (e.g. rice, vegetables, fruits, field crops). At the district level, a supervisor for each commodity heads all aspects of development and directs extension workers to implement the farmers’ development programs (Anjah and Rahman 2004).

Brunei Darussalam is implementing a Medium Term Strategic Plan (2008-2013) to improve food security by increasing the level of self-sufficiency in the production of rice, tropical fruits and vegetables, and other food commodities (DOA Brunei Darussalam 2011). The country imports 60% of its food requirements and 75% is imported from member countries of the Association of Southeast Nations (ASEAN) (DOA Brunei Darussalam 2011). The Department of Agriculture and Agrifood is the leading agency for the Plan, but works in cooperation and with the support from other relevant agencies, the private sector, and farmers to reach the set self-sufficiency targets. Private sector involvement has played a key role in Brunei Darussalam’s efforts to diversify its economy from total dependence on oil and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and its role has been steadily increasing (Anjah and Rahman 2004). Through the MIPR, the Government, has been encouraging Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) as a base for economic growth (Anjah and Rahman 2004).

The Entrepreneurial Development Center of the MIPR, formerly known as the Sinaut Agricultural Training Center (BNDA), is in charge of facilitating the growth and development of SME in the country. In 2006, the BNDA’s Diploma in Agriculture program was transferred to the Ministry of Education and the center was established under the administration of the MIPR. Among its various functions, the Center provides and implements technology transfer and product development programs targeted at local entrepreneurs to enable them to adopt the latest technologies or locally ‘modified matured technologies’ (MIPR Brunei Darussalam 2010).

In 2009, the MIPR and the Department of Agriculture of the Republic of the Philippines signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Agricultural Cooperation to foster sector development and enhance agricultural trade and investment. Bilateral cooperation between the two countries led to the establishment of Rice Farmer Field Schools (RFFS) in 2010, as an extension strategy to disseminating agricultural technology to farmers (DOA Brunei Darussalam 2010). The MIPR has also signed a MoU with the People’s Republic of China and with Singapore to enhance cooperation in various fields, including agriculture, fisheries, and conservation biology.

The McFARM, a subsidiary of the Mitsubishi Corporation, has been involved in the provision of agricultural extension in the country since its inception in 1979. In June 2009, operation of the farm was handed-over to the Department of Agriculture, which began exploring new collaborative schemes and initiatives with the Mitsubishi Corporation (DOA Brunei Darussalam 2010). According to the DOA, the Mitsubishi Corporation is planning a new program to provide local farmers with the latest scientific technology and agricultural practices.

Cambodia.  The Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) has a pluralistic agricultural extension system. The public and private sectors, civil society organizations, NGOs, and donor programs all provide extension services. Extension services for smallholder farmers are minimal in RGC. Duplication of agricultural services provided by the government, donors and NGOs is common in villages, and services do not reach all households in need of advice (Sothath and Sophal 2010, Qamar 2012a). A large number of smallholders are organized in associations and groups around common interests such as the production of a given agricultural crop or to pool their resources together in order to facilitate access to credit and farm inputs (Qamar 2012a).

The Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) developed the national extension guidelines, with assistance from Australia. These guidelines use a farming systems development approach, which requires having small multi-skilled agricultural teams in district offices. The MAFF oversees various technical departments and public enterprises, including the DAE under the General Directorate of Agriculture, the Royal University of Agriculture, other universities and agricultural colleges, and research institutions around the country. All these institutions and public enterprises provide some level of extension services. Given the limited coverage of extension services offered by private and civil society organizations, MAFF has made substantial efforts over the years to strengthen and expand public agricultural extension services (Qamar 2012a).

The majority of public sector agricultural personnel in Cambodia work at the provincial level, with a small percentage of them assigned to district Offices of Agriculture. These district offices have no annual budget to deliver agricultural services to farmers, but work as counterparts on donor and NGO projects. The public extension comprises 1,244 staff members and is managed by a team of 58 senior staff according to the MEAS report (2011). Women account for 21% of senior management staff. There are 66 subject matter specialists (26% female) and 1,120 field level extension workers. This last group constitutes the bulk of staff (90%).

Private sector provision of extension and advisory services is noticeable in the areas of input supply to farmers, large-scale collectors (e.g. animal feed raw materials), and contract farming companies.  Private sector firms contract to provide technical advice to farmer associations and cooperatives (Qamar 2012a). Angkor Kasekam Roonroeung Co Ltd (AKR), a private Cambodian firm established in 1999, has the largest contract rice farming operation in Cambodia. AKR exports non-certified organic Neang Malis (an aromatic Cambodian rice variety introduced by AKR) to the international market (Cai et al. 2008).

NGOs and donor project interventions focus on agricultural production and agribusiness supply chain development. Interventions are implemented mostly at the production level near the farmer. Recent efforts include improving the supply of agricultural inputs such as seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides. Some of the NGOs and donor projects include the Flemish Association for Development Cooperation and Technical Assistance (VVOB), the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), the Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture (CEDAC), the International Development Enterprises (IDE Cambodia), the Agricultural Quality Improvement Project (AQIP), as well as different donor-funded projects: the ongoing International Fund for Agriculture Development’s (IFAD) Agricultural Productivity Improvement Project, the Asian Development Bank’s Agricultural Sector Development Project, the Australian Agency for International Development’s (AusAID) Cambodia-Australia Agricultural Extension Project (CAAEP), and the AusAID Cambodia Agriculture Research and Development Institute – Assistance Project (CARDI-AP).

The lack of continuing education opportunities could constitute a drawback to the performance of agricultural extension agents (Qamar 2012a). The Royal University of Agriculture and the Moharussey Vedic University provide formal agricultural training to MAFF staff, agricultural extension agents, other organizations involved, as well as farmers. These universities provide a wide range of short training courses; current personnel taking on extension services are primarily trained to work as general agricultural practitioners. The training departments of the Ministry of Agriculture and NGOs generally run ad hoc in-service training programs that do not prepare extension staff adequately to deal with complex agricultural problems (Qamar 2012a).

Indonesia.  Indonesia has a pluralistic agricultural extension system. In 2006, Indonesia established law No 16/2006 on Agriculture, Fishery and Forestry Extension System that guides the implementation of agricultural extension services by the Government and Local Governments. The purpose of the law is farmer empowerment and capacity building by non-formal education to encourage farmers to develop agribusinesses and increase their prosperity. Financing of extension services is a shared responsibility between the central and local governments, farmers and private funding. However, most provinces and districts have a budget for extension activities, which cover the operational costs for all field extension staff (WWES 2011).

The National Center for Agricultural Development, renamed in 2010 as the National Center for Agricultural Extension Development, has primary responsibility for planning at the national level. The National Center is part of the Ministry of Agriculture’s Agency of Agricultural Extension and Human Resources Development and is headquartered in Jakarta. The National Center maintains strong linkages with district level government agencies and agricultural research organizations. The linkages with NGOs involved in extension, and banks or micro-credit institutions are moderate. The linkages with agricultural universities, the private sector input supply firms and exporters and consumer organizations are reportedly rather weak (WWES 2011).

At the national level, public extension is managed by 69 senior staff, of which 38% are women. There are 28 subject matter specialists, two-thirds of which have graduate degrees and 44% of which are female, and they provide backstopping support to the field staff.  In 2009, there were some 53,944 field extension workers: staff on permanent contracts (27,922, 26% female) and workers on three-year contracts (24,551, 18% female). Pre-service training is available through Agricultural Universities and Schools of Agriculture. The National Center emphasizes in-service training, which was made available to 4,000 staff (8% of all staff) for an average duration of two weeks.  There are nine in-service training centers that have a total of 830 in-service training staff with a B.Sc. degree, 213 with a Master degree and 27 with a doctoral degree. From 2005 to 2010, approximately 17,000 workshop and training materials were published and about 75,000 copies of agricultural information bulletins, brochures, and fact sheets. Audio-visual education material for use by extension staff is provided. Extension broadcasts a monthly TV program as well as twice monthly radio programs (WWES 2011).

The primary client groups for public sector extension services are small/medium-scale commercial farmers (25% of time and effort) and small-scale subsistence farmers (20%). About 15% of time is devoted to landless farmers. Large commercial farmers, as well as farmers growing cacao, rubber, or horticultural products are considered important, but only about 5% of time is devoted to each. There are programs geared at rural youth and those that advise rural women on nutrition, health, and hygiene. Extension workers have access to office motorcycles (WWES 2011).

It is estimated that 25% of farmers belong to farmer or producer organizations and that there are almost 318,000 organizations nationwide (WWES Indonesia 2010). These include some 270,817 farmer groups, 15,433 farmer input supply and marketing cooperatives, 1,365 farmer organizations related to commodities (e.g. cacao, coffee, sugar cane), 2,100 producer organizations for high value crops, and 28,304 rural/farmer women organizations. Representatives from these farmer organizations are active in extension advisory boards and committees at all levels, from the sub-district to the national level. About 15% of the representatives are women. These representatives play a prominent role in influencing extension policy and in farmer-to-farmer extension activities, but are also important in helping set extension priorities, specifying extension programs, and assessing extension's performance (WWES 2011).

As for donor initiatives, from 2007 to 2011, the World Bank funded in cooperation with the Indonesian Government the Farmer Empowerment through Agricultural Technology and Information (FEATI) a community empowerment program which was conducted in 18 provinces, 68 districts and 3080 villages. The FEATI Project included an Agricultural Revitalization in Extension component, which provided grants to finance activities for the implementation of farmer managed extension activities.

The private, non-profit development organization, ACDI/VOCA, is the implementing agency of the Sustainable CoCoa Enterprise Solutions for Smallholders (SUCCESS) Alliance. The mission of SUCCESS is to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers by promoting economically, environmentally, socially and culturally sustainable cocoa production and marketing. The Alliance is active in the Indonesia, as well as in the Philippines and Vietnam. 

Lao People’s Democratic Republic. The LAO People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) has a pluralistic extension system. Extension services are provided by the public and private sectors, as well as international NGOs that operate through donor-funded projects. The Lao Extension Approach, developed with assistance from the Swiss-funded Laos Extension for Agriculture Project (LEAP), guides the country’s extension system and attempts to fulfill the following principles: decentralized, pluralistic, participatory, needs-based, integrated, gender-sensitive, group-based, self-motivated, and sustainable (Qamar 2012b). In 2009, the total numbers of extension staff in all sectors (i.e. public, non-profit/NGOs, and other) of the country was 962: 241 (22% female) in agriculture, 205 (14% female) in forestry, 216 (8% female) in fishery, and 300 (20% female) in rural development (Qamar 2012b). The government is planning to invest approximately US$ 29 million by 2015 in the development of extension and relevant infrastructure (Qamar 2012b). Plans include improvement of agricultural training centers, construction of a seed storage facility, training of farmers, improvement of existing 216 extension centers, as well as increasing the number of centers to 500.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) provides extension services through its National Agricultural and Forestry Extension Service (NAFES), its National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute (NAFRI), and its five agricultural colleges. The task for the MAF is to advance a pluralistic, participatory extension system, to ensure effective coordination between its research and extension services, and to decentralize the existing public sector extension services. Universities such as the National University of Laos and the Royal University of Agriculture also provide extension services. The University of Laos has a Department of Agriculture, and the Royal University of Agriculture has a Division of Research and Extension and provides programs in ‘agri-education for extension.’ In 2009, there was a total of 752 extension staff in the public sector: 201 in agriculture, 170 in forestry, 186 in fishery, and 195 in rural development (Qamar 2012b)


MAF’s NAFES department operates a comprehensive, unified agricultural extension service in the country since 2001 (Qamar 2012b). NAFES has offices located in all 18 provinces and 141 districts of the country: Provincial Agricultural and Forestry Extension Services (PAFES) offices and District Agricultural and Forestry Extension Offices (DAFO). PAFES staff subject-matter specialists and DAFO staff extension generalists referred to as Farming Systems Extension Workers (APO 2006, Qamar 2012b). NAFRI undertakes extension-related activities and is Lao PDR’s main source of technology innovation. NAFRI also maintains the Lao Agriculture Database, which contains agricultural and natural resources information and includes, among other material, extension information. 


In 2005, NAFES and NAFRI organized a joint workshop on Research and Extension linkages was attended by 130 participants that included heads of division within NAFES, NAFRI, and other MAF departments; heads of all 18 PAFES and Provincial Agriculture and Forestry Extension Centers; and representatives of various projects, donors, and NGOs (Laolink 2008). The workshop issued a series of recommendations to both consolidate extension in Lao PDR and create a joint working group on Agricultural Information Management (AIM). The workshop stressed various extension needs including involvement of private enterprises and the use of the training of trainers approach for human resource development.

Non-public institutions providing extension services include joint venture companies, the informally private Village Extension System (VES), international NGOs, as well as farmers-based organizations and cooperatives. While the Lao Agricultural Master Plan 2011 to 2015 mentions ‘embedded agricultural extension services’ in regards to cooperation with the private sector, no private company as such is involved in extension activities (Qamar 2012b). However, contract farming has become popular among farmers in recent years and several joint venture companies (e.g. Lao Arrowny Corporation and Lao Agro Industry Company) have been contracting thousands of farmers for growing various crops (Qamar 2012b). These venture companies provide contracted farmers technical advice on how to raise good quality crops.

The VES compensates for the absence of government extension staff at the village level (there are some 11,000 villages in Laos PDR).  The VES involves a cycle of activities that start with Training Needs Assessment and ends with farmers agreeing on the knowledge and skills they want to acquire during learning sessions, as well as on which households will participate in these sessions (Lao PDR 2005). Farmers select Village Extension Workers (VEW) from within the farmer community and pay them in cash, kind, or labor, according to mutually agreed terms. The VEW receive technical support (i.e. technical training, provision of information, extension and training materials) from the government’s district extension staff. The VEW are in charge of organizing farmers into ‘production groups’ that center not on production per se, but on gaining knowledge through ‘learning projects’ that could be applied towards enhancing production. This focus follows the idea that agricultural extension in Lao PDR is an educational process, not a production process” (Lao PDR 2005:56). The number of farmers’ groups so far has reached 1,000 (Qamar 2012b).

There are no local NGOs in Lao PDR, but several international NGOs provide extension services in the country. A list of these can be accessed through the Internet Directory of Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) in the Lao PDR (, prepared by the government. The on-line directory provides information on 72 organizations and 249 projects. Relatively active NGOs that have several projects in or related to agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and community development include: CARE International, Health Poverty Action, International Relief and Development, Japan International Volunteer Center, Norwegian Church Aid, SNV Netherlands Development Organization, Village Focus International, World Education, and World Vision.

With regard to ICT in the area of rural and agricultural development, Lao PDR is experimenting with telecenters, which according to the Asian Productivity Association, have already exhibited benefits in several West European countries (Sharma 2006).  The International Development Research Center funded Lao PDR’s first telecenter project: E-Way. The E-Way project was implemented by the National Authority for Science and Technology, but was not sustainable due to several reasons including high cost of Internet connection, low participation from local community, and low-income generation (Phissamay 2009). In 2006, the Government of India funded a second project, the Rural Telecenters Project, which established 10 telecenters in seven provinces of Laos PDR, including one at the Ministry of Agriculture (Phissamay 2009). The telecenters under this project provide agricultural, community project and other types of information and support the distribution of local products. Also in 2006, the government of Laos PDR launched the E-Government Project, which aims to make the delivery of public services by government institutions more efficient and effective, and in particular more accessible to citizens in rural areas (Phissamay 2009). Components of the e-Government project include online archives, documents, maps, registration process, and learning, as well as teleconferencing.

Malaysia. The agricultural extension system in Malaysia is public sector driven. The Department of Agriculture Malaysia (DOA) under the Ministry of Agri-based Industry is the leading agency providing extension services for food production (Mohd Samsudin 2008). The Department of Fisheries and Department of Veterinary Services also reside in the Ministry and also undertake extension-related activities. In 2009, the DOA’s extension division for Peninsular Malaysia reported some 1,216 extension-staff for food crops production (excluding rubber and oil palm) (WWES 2011). The agricultural extension program has traditionally targeted rural farmers, but has recently expanded its services to include anyone involved in agricultural activities, either directly or indirectly. Clientele categorization is based on annual income and differentiates between the following groups: large-scale agro-entrepreneur, medium-scale agro-entrepreneur, small-scale agro-entrepreneur, micro agro-entrepreneur (includes farmers), as well as a last category that includes hobby/potential farmers, NGOs, department and agencies (Mohd Samsudin 2008).

There is a current revived interest in the agricultural sector in Malaysia. The country’s Ninth Malaysia Plan (2006-2010) put forward the idea of New Agriculture, which according to Mohd Samsudin (2008:2), involves ‘large-scale commercial farming, wider application of modern technology, production of high quality and value-added products, advancement of biotechnology, increased convergence with information and communications technology and the participation of entrepreneurial farmers and skilled workforce.’ DOA’s extension goals align with the goals for New Agriculture and consist of (1) increasing farm productivity through the transfer of technology and research findings, (2) promoting new technology and active participation among farmers, and (3) promoting and developing specific crops (Mohd Samsudin 2008).

The DOA’s online portal ( refers to its Extension, Advisory and Consultancy service as Doktor Pokok or ‘Tree Doctor’ Development Clinic. According to DOA, Tree Doctor refers to the officers that provide consultancy services including technical expertise and agricultural development. The Development Clinic refers to both the extension program and a place where extension services are provided (e.g. regional agricultural offices, local DOA centers, mobile counters, DOA headquarters). The DOA lists various field of expertise for its Tree Doctors, including consultancy on Good Agriculture Practice (GAP), agricultural projects feasibility study, agriculture investment and consultation, diagnosis of plant problems, marketing of agricultural produce, and agro-based industry production technology. As such, extension activities center on the provision of consultation/guidance to participants based on all the different extension agent expertise. Extension activities also consist of resolving agricultural technical and development issues, providing information or elaborating on DOA or other governmental programs, acting as a bridge between participants and DOA or other agency personnel, and disseminating latest agricultural information. In 2009, the DOA reported the number of its subject matter specialists: 17 for major cereal, root and tuber crops; 36 for horticultural crops; 12 for farm management; 46 for land soil, water or forestry management, 10 for organic agriculture, 7 specialized in rural development, 19 dedicated to organizing famers’/women’s groups, and 43 other (e.g. pesticides) (WWES 2011).

DOA’s extension in food crops production consists of six different types of extension: crop production, pesticide, diagnostic, harvesting, food processing and marketing (Mohd Samsudin 2008). GAP is the standard guideline for technology transfer activities in these types of extension. Examples of GAP include good land leveling in paddy planting, the use of a right amount of lime at the right time to reduce soil acidity in paddy fields, and the use of organic fertilizers and manures. Farmers that adopt GAP are eligible to become certified through the Malaysian Farm Accreditation Scheme (SALM) and become eligible for other branding of their agricultural products. Brands include Malaysia’s Best for highest safety and quality standards issued by the Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority and DOA’s Malaysian Organic Scheme (SOM) Standard for organically cultivated crops (Mohd Samsudin 2008).

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is taught to farmers as part of DOA’s pesticide extension program. In diagnostic extension, the doktor pokok diagnoses plant symptoms of pest and disease attack and other plant problems through DOA’s district extension clinics (Mohd Samsudin 2008). Advisory services are provided at pre-harvest, harvest, and post-harvest activities through harvesting extension. Another extension activity is that of promoting added value to a product in food processing extension. Marketing extension encourages farmer’s to get involved in contract farming so as to ensure their products are sold at fair prices and that they receive farm profits that reflect their hard work (Mohd Samsudin 2008). In 2009, DOA reported educational and advisory service activities as the extension activity field extension agents dedicate most of their time to (70%).

For the paddy industry, Shaffril et al. (2010) underscore the importance for agriculture extension officers to cultivate competency in communication. Comparing paddy with other agriculture sources, they state that the competency of the agricultural extension officers first needs to be enhanced to intensify paddy as the main agriculture sector in Malaysia. In addition they argue that ‘the commercialization of agricultural activities, modern farming practices, post-harvest handling, processing and marketing are main focuses that need to be intensified to boost this industry’ (Shaffril et al. 2010:451, 452).

Myanmar.  As with Malaysia’s agricultural extension system, Myanmar’s extension system is public sector driven. The role of the private sector, NGOs and universities is limited. An objective of extension programs in Myanmar is to collect and provide farmers with the best existing Knowledge, Information, and Technology (KIT) on agriculture, agribusiness, and farm management. However, extension programs place a strong emphasis on improved technology to enhance production and very little attention is given to empowering farmers (e.g. develop farmers’ skills, knowledge and attitude) (Qamar 2012c).

The Myanmar Agricultural Service (MAS) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation is the responsible governmental entity for providing agricultural extension services in the country. The MAS houses the Agricultural Extension Division (AED) with some 4,534 extension staff in 2009 (WWES 2011). The Department of Fisheries of the Ministry of Livestock and fisheries also provides extension services. A total number of public extension staff in the country is given by an Investment Assessment Project survey conducted in 2009 by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. According to this survey, the number of public extension staff in agriculture, forestry, fishery and rural development is 10,947, with 5,631 extension staff in agriculture, including crops and livestock (Qamar 2012c).

At the village level, the AED has a Village Tract Extension Service. Under this service, Village Managers maintain direct contact with farmers and are required to cover a few village tracts/villages with 1,215 to 2,430 hectares of cropland (Cho 2002, Qamar 2012c). There are also Village Tract Managers, which supervise as many as 10 Village Managers. A number of extension approaches are used by the AED to introduce new agricultural techniques: large-scale education camps, Farmer Field Schools (FFS), ten member farmers’ groups for extension contact known as Se Le Su, the Training & Visit system, special high-yielding programs, special crop production zones, block-wise crop production programs, and a farmers’ participatory technology development approach (Qamar 2012c).  Horticulture farms, field crop farms, and crop substituting farms also engage in extension activities related to crop and horticulture production (Cho 2002, Qamar 2012c).

Other public entities providing extension services are the Department of Agricultural Research (DAR), the Seed Division of the MAS, the Yezin Agricultural University (YAU), and the Myanmar Academy of Agriculture, Forestry, Livestock and Fishery Science. The DAR organizes extension activities for agricultural research stations at the state and division level. It has 10 divisions, seven of which are dedicated to specific crops: rice, other cereals, fiber crops, oil crops, food legumes, sugar crops and horticulture (Qamar 2012c).  The Seed Division of the MAS carries out extension activities related to pure seed production and seed multiplication (Cho 2002, Qamar 2012c). The YAU is Myanmar’s only institution of higher learning in agriculture and has as part of its mission to constantly contribute to national agricultural research and extension (YAU 2012). The YAU also has B.Sc., M.Sc. and Ph.D. programs in agricultural sciences. The Myanmar Academy of Agriculture, Forestry, Livestock and Fishery Science (MAAFLF) also offers graduate and post-graduate training, as well as short-term and medium-term training for its staff and young scientists with the objective to promote the effective use of modern technologies in the respective sciences (MAAFLF 2002).

There are several multilateral and bilateral donors, as well as NGOs present in Myanmar; however, involvement of the donor community and NGOs is limited due to the various sanctions that have been imposed by individual countries or development agencies (Qamar 2012c). Some of the donors include the FAO, the World Health Organization, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), AusAID, and ASEAN. An example of a donor project is the Agricultural Extension Human Resource Development Project, which JICA has been supporting since 2007. The project is being implemented by the MAS and seeks to diversify and strengthen the dissemination of farming techniques, which are being developed based on established farmers’ needs (e.g. seed purity, soil fertility, and plant protection for crops). Almost all NGOs working in Myanmar are international and have Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) or Letters of Agreement with the government (Qamar 2012c). Some NGOs working in the country are ActionAid, the Water Research and Training Center-Myanmar, World Vision, Saetanar, and Population Services International. ActionAid, for example, has a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation and a tri-partite agreement with the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock. ActionAid is promoting a re-orientation of extension services that help local communities and smallholders reduce their dependency on external inputs and that encourage site-specific, tailor-made sustainable production systems (Curtis 2012).

Private sector involvement in extension activities is limited, but there are some efforts to develop collaborations with private entities. The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) has engaged the Myanmar Rice and Paddy Traders Association and the Pioneer Postharvest Development Group—a recently founded civil society organization—in introducing post-harvest technologies to farmers and farmers’ groups. Together they are currently introducing an improved dryer and air-tight storage, as well as demonstrating combine harvesting (see Key Achievements, IRRI website).

Philippines. The agricultural extension system in the Philippines is public sector driven, but some NGOs and private agri-business companies also play a significant role. The country is divided into 17 administrative regions, which are composed of 79 provinces. Provinces are divided into 117 cities and 1500 municipalities known collectively as Local Government Units (LGU). These LGU are divided into 41,975 villages or barangays. In 2006, LGU were providing extension services in 41,940 barangays, which have about 12 million people working actively in agriculture (Sharma 2006). An estimate of the total number of extension workers in the country is 32,328, distributed as follows: 25,000 (77%) in LGU, 3,390 (10%) in the Department of Agriculture (DA) bureaus and attached agencies, 2,111 (7%) in NGOs, 1,250 (4%) in state colleges and universities, and 577 (2%) in private agribusiness companies (Sharma 2006).

In the public sector, many of the agencies implementing the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), created based on the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988, provide agricultural extension services. These CARP-implementing agencies (CIAs) aim to promote social justice and industrialization and include: the Department of Agriculture (DA), the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), the National Irrigation Authority (NIA), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and the Bureau of Local Workers (BRW) of the Department of Labor and Employment.

The DA provides extension services that include training, technical and marketing assistance, dispersal activities, provision of pre/post harvest facilities, and construction of Small Water Impounding Projects (DAR 2012). The DAR’s agrarian reform support services include several infrastructure and non-infrastructure extension programs delivered through foreign assisted programs; these include provision of post-harvest facilities, creation of farm-to-market roads, construction of irrigation systems programs, demonstration farms, and training of agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARB) leaders. One of NIA’s major activities includes the organization and strengthening of farmer Irrigators’ Associations. The DTI has a Small and Medium Industrial Technology Transfer Development Program that provides ARB with a package of support services that includes trainings and seminars; assistance for the establishment of micro, small and medium enterprises; and market development assistance. The BRW targets particularly the plantation workers of commercial farms and assists them in developing their competencies in cooperative development, farm management, and other socio-economic activities (DAR 2012).

With the enactment of the Local Government Code of 1991, the DA’s functions were devolved to LGU and it ceased to be a CIA; however, it continues to actively participate in CARP-related policies and issues at the national level. The DA has Regional Field Units in every region and several bureaus, attached agencies and corporations. Of these, five bureaus, six commodity attached agencies and two Research and Development Institutes (i.e. the Philippine Rice Research Institute and Philippine Carabao Center) have strong agricultural extension mandate (Sharma 2006). The Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) bureau is considered the extension and training arm of the DA. The DA also lists the following entities for technology transfer, information dissemination, training, and technical and other agricultural assistance: Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Bureau of Agricultural Statistics, Sugar Regulatory Administration, Bureau of Soils and Water Management, Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), Livestock Development Council, and the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR).

DA’s ATI has been providing extension services since 1987 and has 16 centers spread across the country, with some 303 extension staff in 2009 (WWES 2011).  The ATI trains agricultural extension workers and their clientele, and is the leading agency for the provision of e-Extension or ICT-based extension services. The e-Extension program aims to provide an alternative to the traditional extension system of the agriculture, fisheries and natural resources sectors, by integrating an ICT-based extension delivery system. Its mission focuses on creating an electronic and interactive bridge where farmers, fishers and other stakeholders meet and transact to enhance productivity, profitability and global competitiveness.

ATI’s e-Extension program is a network of the following institutions: BAR, BPI, National Dairy Authority, PCA, Philippine Carabao Center, and Philippine Sino-Center for Agricultural Technologies. The program has three main components: e-Learning, e-Farming, and e-Trading. Under e-Learning government agencies from the DA and the Department of Science and Technology partner to offer online certificate courses, as well as radio School-on-Air and University-on-Air programs.  The e-Farming program delivers farm and business advisory services, primarily technical assistance, to farmers and agricultural extension agents via text and voice (using a pre-defined toll-free number), as well as through chat, email, and online forums.  The e-Trading program is a component under development that will enable online trading and provide market information.

Various multilateral and bilateral donors, as well as NGOs provide development services in the Philippines. Donors include the FAO, JICA, AusAID, and ASEAN. AusAID considers itself the largest bilateral grant aid donor to the country. It’s key achievements for 2011 included providing project advice and materials through trained local extension officers to help farmers improve their practices, and organizing smallholder farmers into clusters to help them access higher value markets (AusAID 2012). AusAID also provided initial support to the Philippines Extension Network (PEN) through the initiative of the AusAsia-Pacific Extension Network (Cardenas 2010). The PEN is a cadre of professionals in pursuit of extension as science and its practice and influences the direction of Philippine Extension (WWES 2011). In 2010 the PEN  had 25,117 members from various public and private organizations (Cardenas 2010).

In 2002, JICA established the Technical Cooperation for Grassroots Projects scheme to support projects formulated by Japanese NGOs, local NGOs, local governments and universities. Under this scheme local NGOs can act as counterparts of Japanese NGOs or as beneficiaries of a project. Current support-type and counterpart-type projects that include extension activities are the ‘Project for Income Generation through Development and Management of Agroforestry Farm’ implemented by the Kansho Volunteers Association, the ‘Safe Vegetable Promotion Project’ implemented by the Japan Agricultural Exchange Council, and the ‘Food Security based on Permaculture Development Model for Indigenous Mangyan in the Amnay Area’ implemented by the 21st Century Association (JICA 2011). A list of other NGOs in the country is available from the Philippine Council for NGO Certification database (

As is the case in Indonesia and Vietnam, ACDI/VOCA’s SUCCESS Alliance is also active in the Philippines. In 2009, ACDI/VOCA launched the CoCoPal Program, a $5.4 million project, funded by USDA, which aims to increase the incomes and food security of 25,000 smallholder farmers in select Mindanao provinces. The CoCoPal project—named after cocoa, coconuts and palayamanan (or “rice wealth”)—will harness local value chains to increase farmers’ opportunities. In April 2011, the CoCoPal program officially enrolled 4,763 in FFS and conducted 181 FFS sessions in the Philippines (ACDI/VOCA 2012).

Private agri-business companies, state colleges and universities are also involved in agricultural extension activities. In 2012, the Philippine-based AgriNurture, a local producer of fruits and vegetables, formally opened a demonstration farm—the Guangdong Academy of Agricultural Science—with co-funding from the Chinese government (Malaya 2012). The demonstration farm will be run by AgriNurture and provide training to ARB sent over by the DAR, the DA, and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. AgriNurture will conduct training with help from Chinese universities and local state universities and colleges (Malaya 2012). Furthermore, AgriNurture is considering implementing a vegetable contract-growing program with assistance from the University of the Philippines in Los Baños and the Pampanga Agricultural College (Malaya 2012). The program would provide ARB with training and loans for farm inputs, as well as buy crops from them. The Thailand-based company, Charoen Pokphand Foods (CPF) has a shrimp and fish demonstration farm, as well as a fish hatchery in the country.

Singapore. Although agriculture is of limited significance to the Singapore economy, the Government has initiated extension services, education programs and visits to the farms in its Agrotechnology Parks. More specifically, the public sector advisory services through the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) promotes inter alia the development of the horticulture and aquaculture industry in Singapore. It provides technical advice and support, consultancy and trade facilitation services to those involved in the production and trade of vegetables, food crops, orchids, ornamental plants and aquatic plants in Singapore and in the region. AVA also promotes the Animal and Plant Health Centre which carries out laboratory diagnostic support for national surveillance and monitoring programs to prevent the establishment of important animal and plant diseases in Singapore, and provides animal and plant health diagnostic services.
There are six Agrotechnology Parks in Singapore each housing modern intensive farms for the production of livestock, eggs, milk, aquarium and food fish, and other products, as well as for breeding birds and dogs. AVA offers farm extension through its Aquaculture Services Center. Farm extension services include technical advice and support for farmers, exporters and investors; farm environment monitoring; development of Good Aquaculture Practices; provision of market intelligence and technical information, as well as administration of the Dragon Fish Farm Registration Scheme—a breeding program for the sought-after ornamental fish (Government of Singapore 2012). The Post-Harvest Technology Center offers training courses and seminars on vegetable post-harvest technology for local vegetable-industry stakeholders (e.g. farmers, packers, supermarket personnel), as well as for other countries. It also offers consultancy and technical assistance in vegetable processing and product development to interested companies. For the seafood industry, the Post-Harvest Technology Center provides technical transfer to industry members through study trips, workshops and seminars, as well as consultancy and technical assistance in fish processing and product development. 

The Singapore Fruits and Vegetables Importers and Exporters Association (SFVA) works with AVA in introducing new post-harvest technologies to growers, importers and retailers. SFVA aims to promote and expand the development of fruits and vegetables in Singapore. Singapore’s’ Golden Agri-Resources Ltd (GAR), the world’s second largest palm oil plantation company, has 457,000 hectares total planted area in Indonesia. The company is promoting best practices and solutions for sustainable palm oil through its online ‘gar Food-For-Thought Library.’

Thailand. Thailand has a pluralistic agricultural extension system. The public and private sectors, as well as NGOs and farmer organizations all provided extension services to farmers. In 2010, there was a total of 18,881 extension staff in the agriculture (90%, crops and livestock), forestry (4%), and fishery (6%, marine and aquaculture) sectors (Qamar 2012d). The main extension methodologies are: meetings, field visits, trainings, demonstrations, farmer schools, department store visits, and agricultural technology transfer centers (Sharma 2006). 

Public entities providing extension services include the Department of Extension (DOAE) and the Department of Livestock of the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives; the Royal Forestry Department and the Department of Fisheries of the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment; and the Department of Community Development of the Ministry of the Interior. The DOAE is the main organization providing agricultural extension services to farmers in the country. It has five bureaus and seven divisions at the national level, six Regional Offices, 879 District Offices and 48 Operational Centers (Qamar 2012d). While agricultural extension services are decentralized and are supposed to be supervised by the provincial offices, extension planning remains central (Qamar 2012d). Specific duties of the DOAE include the following: (1) promotion and development of producers and agriculturists organizations, (2) provision of vocational training and agricultural services to producers, (3) development, promotion, and coordination of agricultural knowledge transfer, as well as of management of crop, fishery and livestock productivity by producers, (4) and any other task designated by the cabinet or ministry (Qamar 2012d). 

State universities also offer extension services. Kasetsart University—the first and oldest agricultural university in Thailand—has the National Agricultural Extension and Training Center (NETC), on its Kampaengsaen Campus in Nakornpathom province. The NETC has several extension programs that include the development of human resources, regional and international development, development of farmers’ institutions, and the production of media for developing agricultural learning aids. Other universities include the University of Khon Kaen, Kobe University, and the Ubon Ratchathani University. These universities provide B.Sc., M.Sc. and Ph.D. programs in agricultural sciences (ex. systems agriculture, agricultural engineering, food and environment economics).
Private sector extension services are mainly limited to contract farming (Qamar 2012d). Some of the companies have a small number of extension staff and are also joint ventures with countries such as Taiwan and Japan. Companies include the Thailand Pineapple Company, Ltd., Siam Food Products Company, Ltd., CP Worldwide, Shell Thailand, Siam Cement Group, and Cargill Thailand.

There are a large number of NGOs, farmers-based associations, cooperatives and societies that provide extension and other services to farmers. In total, there are 65,457 NGOs in Thailand working in education, public health, associations’ promotion, and other sectors (The Resource Alliance 2012). Four main approaches have been adopted by NGOs to develop rural and agricultural extension programs: relief and welfare, community development, sustainable development and villager movements. The Population and Community Development Association (PDA) is an NGO recognized for its rural community development and extension initiatives, which use a community-based approach (Sharma 2006, Qamar 2012d). The PDA promotes the involvement of beneficiaries as partners, planners, managers and leaders in a variety of its programs, including: Rural Microcredit; Health, AIDS and Family Planning; Water & Environment, and ‘Youth as Agents of Change Today and Leaders of Tomorrow.’ Under its Water & Environment program, the PDA has the Sky Irrigation project, which aims to help villages develop vegetable banks and water systems that allow year-round production of cash crops. There are vegetable banks in over 100 villages in the Northeast of Thailand, which have been established under the project with support from the German Agro Action development corporation and from other national and international sponsors (PDA 2012). In 2003, there were 126 Sky Irrigation schemes benefiting about 3,280 farmers (Qamar 2012d).
Agricultural extension policy in Thailand emphasizes the importance of working with and through local rural producer organizations. Northern Thailand has a long history of active involvement by local organizations in agricultural development, most notably the independent “muang fai” irrigation associations (Garforth 1994, Surarerks 2005). In 2006, the total number of cooperatives was 3,748 with 5,340,000 individual members, including a total of 2,200 primary agricultural cooperatives with approximately 1,909,000 farmer members (Qamar 2012d). Examples of cooperatives are: the Thai Rice Exporters Association, the Thai Rice Farmers Association, and the Thai Tapioca Trade Association.

Timor-Leste. Timor-Leste’s agricultural extension system is public sector driven, but NGOs continue to play a key role. Under the Indonesian administration, Timor-Leste had some 6,000 public sector staff devoted to agriculture, livestock, fisheries and forestry (The World Bank Group 2011). After the 1999 Referendum on Independence and until 2008, public extension services were practically eliminated, with only a few agricultural extension services provided by national and international NGOs, as well as by specific projects (EuropeAid 2010). The tendency of people to move back to their ancestral lands after independence, often to remote mountain areas and away from the lowlands, made the delivery of public services in rural areas challenging (The World Bank Group 2011).

Between 2008 and 2009, the Government decentralized its agricultural extension services to individual Directorates, created a new National Directorate for Agricultural Community Development (DNADCA, Direcção Nacional de Apoio ao Desenvolvimento da Comunidade Agrícola) and recruited over 400 Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAP, Ministério da Agricultura e Pescas) village-based or suco extension workers (The World Bank 2009, EuropeAid 2010). There are now extension services in all 13 districts of the country, with one agricultural extension worker for each village (FAO 2011). The MAP is responsible for the design, implementation and assessment of the policies defined by the Council of Ministers for the areas of agriculture, forestry and fisheries. The MAP has12 National Directorates including the National Directorate for Agricultural Technical Training, the National Directorate for Agriculture and Horticulture, the National Directorate for Livestock and Veterinary Services, the National Directorate for Irrigation and Water Use Management, the National Directorate for Fisheries and Aquaculture, the National Directorate for Research and Specialized Services, and the DNADCA. The Government of Timor-Leste created the DNADCA to address the main constraints in agricultural production predominant in upland areas of the country, e.g. poor natural resource base, outdated and inefficient agro-processing technologies, and increasing population rate (EuropeAid 2010). In 2009, the DNADCA reported having 459 extension staff (WWES 2011).

In 2012, the MAP launched the Rural Development Program IV (RDPIV), a joint program between the MAP and the Government of Germany through the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) and the Government of Portugal through the Portuguese Institute for Development Support (IPAD) (Dili Weekly 2012). The RDPIV focuses on the institutional strengthening of the DNADCA for the provision of public agricultural extension services (EuropeAid 2010). The RDPIV will be implemented in seven districts of the country and has as its main objective to train young farmers and agricultural extension advisors so that they can transform rural economies. As part of the program, the MAP deployed 366 extension advisors—divided into different groups, e.g. coffee production, farming—in 12 districts of the country, including 61 advisors acting as coordinators at the sub-district level and 12 senior advisors (Dili Weekly 2012).

The RDPIV program will provide training in agribusiness skills as part of the MAF Agricultural High Schools’ curricula; will develop in-service agribusiness training modules for extension workers; will offer short-term vocational agribusiness training courses to farmers, service providers, and local traders; as well as rehabilitate all rural roads to national standards  (EuropeAid 2012). Also planned under the program, is the development of linkages with the private sector (e.g. Cooperativa Café Timor) to support private sector development, as well as for the supply of inputs and access to markets. The RDPIV program will target women, youth and impoverished members of rural communities. Based upon 400 extension workers carrying out at least three client-based extension activities in 400 villages/year and an average of 40 households per km of road, it is estimated that up to 100,000 farmers will benefit from improved extension services and up to 12,000 households will benefit from improved district and rural roads (EuropeAid 2012).

The MAP is also implementing the Seeds of Life (SOL) program, funded in collaboration with the Australian Government through the AusAID and the Australian Center for International Agricultural Research. The program aims to improve food security through increased productivity of major food crops, and has as its objective to provide 81,000 farmers with access to improved food varieties that they will routinely use (SOL 2011). The program was first implemented in 2000 and began its third phase (SOL3) in 2011, which is projected over a five-year period. At the end of the SOL3 phase, it is hoped that the MAP will be competently managing an adaptive research program to identify and release improved food crop varieties, as well as competently managing formal seed production and seed processing activities (SOL 2011). In addition, the program also envisions the MAP effectively 1) distributing formal seed, 2) encouraging informal seed production and distribution through the establishment of nation-wide community seed production groups, and 3) managing overall development of the national seed system.

A significant proportion of Timor-Leste population relies on shifting cultivation and free grazing agriculture activities especially in upland and dry-land farming areas (FAO 2008). As a party to the United Nations Convention on Desertification, the Government of Timor-Leste is obliged to implement National Action Programs (NAP) aimed at enhancing and improving the overall institutional, legal and operational environment related to the sustainable land management in Timor-Leste. Long-term objectives of the NAP include improving agriculture and environment research, education and extension programs, as well as strengthening land degradation-related agricultural research and extension services (FAO 2008). An objective to develop local capacity for sustainable upland farming is to initiate a sustainable extension approach through the establishment of farmer field schools or other appropriate extension models (FAO 2008).

The FAO has contributed to the building of an agricultural extension program in the country by training extension workers on animal disease surveillance, post-harvest practices, home gardening, and rice and maize production (FAO 2011). Previous to 2008, only a few non-government village animal health workers conducted animal disease surveillance. EuropeAid is implementing the SECURE program (2009-2013) in Timor-Leste, which supports MAF’s extension workers and farmers’ groups with agricultural training, access to improved seeds and micro-credit facilities. The goal of the program is to increase food security and incomes for vulnerable communities in the Ainaro Manufahi Districts of the country. Among the program’s impacts so far, 59 MAF extension workers have provided specialized technical support to farmers in their geographic areas. The World Bank has been engaged in Timor-Leste since 2000. Their latest project in the country in 2009, the Third Agriculture Rehabilitation Project, revealed insufficient technical capacity at the MAF, in particular inexperienced extension staff at the field level. Extension advisors, however, were providing on-farm demonstrations and direct information to farmers, in particular Integrated Crop Management techniques (The World Bank 2009).

Several constraints have hampered the Government and MAP efforts to establish agricultural extension services in the country: 1) weak training level of extension officials, 2) lack of adequate experience, skills and exposure of extension workers, and 3) lack of linkages between farmers extension agencies/agents, research agencies, seed and input supply systems, NGOs, and the private sector (EuropeAid 2010). In addition, extension workers face severe constraints with transportation and the lack of resources to support farmers.

Vietnam.  Vietnam has a pluralistic extension system. Extension services are provided by the public and private sectors, NGOs, research and academic institutions, as well as by farmers’ organizations. 

A nation-wide extension system is relatively new in Vietnam with the creation of a formal agricultural extension system by the government in 1993 (Xuan 2012). The system is organized into five levels: national, provincial/municipal, district, commune, and village/hamlet (Van Bo 2012). At present, the National Agriculture and Fisheries Extension Center under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MoARD) is responsible for providing agriculture, livestock, forestry, fishery, and rural industry extension services. The MoARD (2010) reports 82 staff working at the Center—including one working at the representation office in Ho Chi Minh city—with six having a Ph.D. degree, 15 having a Master’s degree and 54 having a university degree. As of December 2011, the total number of public extension workers in Vietnam is 34,747 with 31.6% female and 34.8% ethnic groups (Van Bo 2012).

Each province and municipality (Vietnam has 58 provinces and 5 municipalities existing at the same level as provinces) has its own Extension Center, with an average of 30 staff per center (Van Bo 2012). In 2011, there was a total of 1,903 extension staff at the provincial/municipality level. In 2008, there was an average of about 34 extension workers per province (MoARD 2008). Among other functions, provincial agricultural extension centers directly implement extension communication and training activities for district extension staff and key farmers in the provinces (Qamar 2012e).

At the District level, there are Extension Stations in 585 districts out of 648 districts total in the country, with an average of six persons per station (Van Bo 2012). In 2011, the total number of extension staff at the district level was 4,025. For 2008, the MoARD reported an average of 6.5 extension workers per district. District Extension Stations are under control of the provincial agricultural extension offices or the District People Committees and directly carry out extension activities for farmers.

At the commune level, there is an average of about 1.2 extension staff per commune with 11,232 extension workers in 2011 and at the village/hamlet level, a total of 17,587 people working mainly as part-time extension workers (Van Bo 2012). In 2008, the MoARD reported 9,418 public extension workers for the 10,306 agricultural communes and 16,925 people working part-time in village extension. Commune/Village extension offices (1) mobilize farmers to participate in extension activities, (2) communicate farmers’ needs to higher level, and (3) directly implement activities at the village level (Qamar 2012e). No full-time government extension staff is present at the village level; village extension people are extension collaborators whose work is voluntary (MoARD 2010).

Other public entities providing public extension services and training include the Center for Technology Development and Agricultural Extension of the Vietnamese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, and dozens of colleges, universities and other academic institutions. The Nong Lam University (formerly known as the University of Agriculture and Forestry of Ho Chi Minh city), for example, has contributed to education, extension and dissemination of scientific technologies in Vietnam throughout its 50-year history. The College of Agriculture and Forestry of Hue University has as its mission to provide technical officers (agriculture, forestry, aquaculture, rural development) secondary and post-graduate training, as well as provide technology transfer to central provinces and the country. The College of Agriculture and Forestry also has four research centers, which are engaged in extension activities: Center for Rural Development, Center for Agricultural Forestry Research and Development, Center for Climate Change Study in Central Vietnam, and Center for Environment and Agricultural Waste.

Private agricultural companies sell farm inputs to farmers, run animal breeding farms, and are involved in international trade of agriculture-related goods. However, there are no private agricultural companies that provide extension services on a regular basis (Qamar 2012e).  The private, non-profit development organization, ACDI/VOCA, is the implementing agency of the Sustainable CoCoa Enterprise Solutions for Smallholders (SUCCESS) Alliance. The mission of SUCCESS is to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers by promoting economically, environmentally, socially and culturally sustainable cocoa production and marketing. The Alliance is active in the Indonesia, as well as in the Philippines and Vietnam. 

Several NGOs and farmers’ associations, cooperatives and societies are engaged in agricultural and rural development activities. NGOs include the Danish Agricultural Development Denmark Asia (ADDA) organization, the German BORDA organization, and the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation and Development (AECID). ADDA, for example, has implemented various projects in Vietnam using farmer field schools, including the Community Development Among Ethnic Minorities project and the Developing a Framework for Production and Marketing of Organic Agriculture project.

Farmers’ organizations include unions, district associations, provincial associations, informal pre-cooperatives, formal cooperatives and secondary agricultural cooperatives. Gradual replacement of collective farms by private farms is transforming many agricultural cooperatives: in 2005, there were total of 8,595 agricultural cooperatives out of which 6,115 had already been transformed, 284 are under transformation and 2,196 were newly established (Qamar 2012e).

With regard to ICT in the area of rural and agricultural development, Vietnam, as with Lao PDR, is also experimenting with telecenters (Sharma 2006). The Multipurpose Community Telecenter (MCT) project, implemented by the International Communication Union in partnership with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and national stakeholders, established a total of four telecenters in three provinces of the country (UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, UNESCAP 2007b). Information materials (e.g. books, audio and videotapes and CD-ROM materials) were developed by different teams, including a team from the MoARD, and were transferred and used for providing information and services at the telecenters (Narayan 2004). The number of Post Telecommunication and Cultural Points (PTCP)—micro-telecenters established in communes that provide post and telecom services, socio-cultural information, and other information to people in rural areas—are now providing similar services and have grown to more than 6,000 nation-wide (Narayan 2004, UNESCAP 2007b). The Coca-Cola Company has implemented one telecenter program in Vietnam in partnership with the Ministry of Education and the National Youth Union (UNESCAP 2007a). The ten-year Coca-Cola Learning Centers (CCLCs) program established 40 semi-urban CCLCs in 33 provinces across Vietnam by 2007, benefiting over 1,200,000 students (The Coca-Cola Company 2009).

In 2006, an Agriculture Extension and Market Information System was developed by the Statistics and Information Technology Center of the MoARD (Ngan Hoa et al. 2008). The system covers 100 districts in 20 provinces, and provides farmers with a platform for the exchange and access of information (e.g. science and technology advances, new crop varieties, fertilizer and pesticide suppliers). After one year of operation, the system coverage expanded to 23 provinces and 106 districts, including some 300 access-locations (Ngan Hoa et al., 2008). The system content is now being diversified in an effort to reach more farmers (Ngan Hoa et al. 2008). In general, agricultural extension information in Vietnam is generally spread through short training courses, extension workshops, radio and television broadcasts, contract farming, farmer field schools, and leaflets (Xuan 2012).

3.         Trends

South East Asia appears to be equally divided between those countries that espouse public sector agricultural extension systems and those that have adopted more pluralistic approaches to agricultural extension. Public sector agricultural extension is still dominant in several South East Asian countries, including Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, the Philippines and Timor Leste. However, the Philippines tends to involve some NGOs and private companies in extension activities; Singapore cooperates with business companies to transfer technology and provide information to farmers; and Timor Leste includes some NGOs in their extension activities. Pluralistic extension and rural advisory services prevail in Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Vietnam.

Despite positive developments toward pluralistic extension system in South East Asia, of concern are issues regarding institutional development, system management and agent competencies. In Malaysia, for example, communication skills need to be enhanced along with job performance, attitude, skills, and knowledge of extension agents (Shaffril et al. 2010). Wallace noted early on (1999) that there was continuing emphasis on theory rather than practice; he argued for (and the case seems to continue to be applicable) a more participatory, integrated approach to extension training; his emphasis, which still remains applicable, is that training models are needed that emphasize greener and more holistic approaches in both learning systems and training management.

Of note is the regional cooperation being pursued, e.g., among Brunei Darussalam, the Philippines, and Singapore as well as with the People’s Republic of China in East Asia.  A large number of international NGOs and private companies are contributing to agricultural extension in South East Asia, bringing the latest scientific technology and agricultural practices, especially relating to agricultural production and agribusiness supply, notably in the case of Lao PDR.


4.         Summary

South East Asia’s mainland countries have in general moved toward pluralistic agricultural extension systems while the island or maritime countries continue to depend on the public sector for extending agricultural development services. In the mainland countries with pluralistic extension systems, ICT appear to be key drivers of future growth, as seems to be the case in Cambodia.  Lao PDR and Vietnam are already experimenting with telecenters.

In some pluralistic extension arrangements, however, public sector extension linkages remain or may be somewhat weak, especially with agricultural universities and private sector supply firms and exporters as well as consumer organizations; this is notable in the widespread islands of Indonesia.  In Myanmar, close and effective linkages appear to exist between research and extension. In some   public sector extension driven countries, however, such as Malaysia, extension officers tend to need competency training. In general, throughout South East Asia, farmers’ organizations are prominent; in Indonesia, for example, some 25 percent of farmers belong to farmer or producer organizations of which there are calculated to be about 318,000 such organizations.  Donor organizations and NGOs along with private sector entities continue to play significant roles in promoting extension advancement and reform in South East Asia.


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