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West Asia

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


1.         Introduction to the West Asia Sub-region

West Asia comprises 18 countries, namely, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Cyprus, Georgia, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

Due to conflicts in the West Asia sub-region, for a number of country cases there is little or no information on their extension and advisory services. The public section is the dominant provider of agricultural extension and rural advisory services in nearly half of the countries in the sub-region; otherwise there exists a mix of trends in providing agricultural and rural advisory services. Azerbaijan’s arrangement appears to depend primarily on two major non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Georgia and Jordan have both adopted pluralistic extension arrangements.  Georgia’s public sector provides extension through various ministries and several semi-governmental organizations, along with support from international donors, and numerous NGOs.  Israel’s agricultural sector is based almost entirely on R&D, implemented by cooperation between farmers and researchers. Jordan’s agricultural extension activity is being carried out under the auspices of the Ministry of Agriculture through a public institution, NCARE, as well as by private sectors, input supply dealers, NGOs and farmer organizations.  Turkey has a wide network of public extension services.  At present, due of civil strife, Bahrain, Iraq, Lebanon and Syria lack detailed information on agricultural extension activities. More communication and research are needed to fill in these gaps regarding agricultural extension and advisory systems in the West Asia sub-region.

2.         Specific Countries

Armenia. Armenia’s agricultural extension system is public sector dominant, however extension services are also provided by farmers’ organizations, the private sector, and NGOs.  Armenia’s Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 1992. Since then, the USDA has been assisting Armenia in the development of its extension system (i.e. extension services and technical assistance capabilities re: United States Agency for International Development [USAID] 2006).


The USDA, in coordination with the MOA, established Armenia’s extension system or Agrogistapeur in 1993 (USAID 2006). USDA support has centered around four programmatic periods: Armenian/American Extension project (1993-1995), Marketing Assistance Project or MAP (1996-2000), transformation of MAP to an Armenian needs driven program (2000-2005), and current support—with an emphasis on sustainability—for strengthening the Ministry of Agriculture functions and agricultural education, as well as for developing a farm credit system (USAID 2006).

From 1996 to 2000, in association with the World Bank, the USDA established an Extension Department under the Armenian Agricultural Academy (AAA, now the Armenian State Agricultural University or ASAU) and created Marz Agricultural Support Centers in each region of Armenia. Armenia is divided into 10 regions or provinces called ‘Marzes’; the capital city, Yeraban, is independently (USAID 2006). The MAP strategy in this same time period (1996-2000) provided farmers and agribusinesses with targeted assistance in production, processing, marketing and credit (USAID 2006). The MAP also partnered Armenian farmers and agribusiness owners with American specialists from several Land Grant Universities, e.g. Michigan State University, University of California at Davis, and Utah State University. A research component was added to ASAU’s Extension Department as the Foundation for Applied Research and Agribusiness (FARA). The ASAU’s Extension Department has eight technical and administrative staff, while FARA has no permanent paid staff (USAID 2006). Since 2005, neither the ASAU Extension Department nor FARA have received support from the USDA (USAID 2006). The Agricultural Training Center (ATC) is an academic department under the ASAU that has the capacity to enroll 30 new students each year. The department granted its first B.Sc. degrees in 2003 and plans to introduce a Master’s degree program (USAID 2006). By the spring of 2005, the ATC had graduated 87 students. The USDA, under a Cooperative Agreement with Texas A&M University, provides funding for the ATC (USAID 2006).


The MAP provides technical assistance support to dairy, goat, and sheep farmers. By 2005, more than 17,000 farmers had received agricultural expertise under the MAP strategy and 28 Credit Clubs had been established (AAA 2003, USAID 2006). From 1995 to 2005, the MAP provided 5,500 milk-farmers with technical assistance, created five Credit Clubs, and established 14 milk-marketing associations (USAID 2006). The Armenian Improved Dairy Center (ARID), established in 1999, develops the country’s goat cheese industry. The ARID’s staff consists of LGU staff and Farmer-to-Farmer volunteers, and the program supports seven youth clubs with some 80 members (USAID 2006).


The MOA supports the Agricultural Support Republican Center (ASRC). The ASRC publishes as scholarly journal and a newspaper, and has an AGRO TV Channel.  ASRC activities include development of training programs, introduction of new technologies, promoting best practices in agricultural food production and processing, and the provision of marketing and analytical services (AgroWeb 2010). AgroWeb Armenia collects and publishes information on agricultural institutions and other important agriculture-related subjects, in order to help users find information and contacts in Central and Eastern Europe and former Soviet Union. AgroWeb Armenia is acting as a Virtual Extension and Research Communication Network (VERCON), working in close cooperation with Armenia’s MOA in linking farmers, agricultural producers, rural communities, and research and extension services in the country. Based on the conceptual model of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), this network also serves as a model for countries in Central Asia and the Caucasus region.

Farmer-based organizations are organized under the Federation of Agricultural Associations, which maintains a Department of Training, Research and Consulting.  Individual farmer organizations include the Stepanavan Farmer Association, the Tavush Farmer Association, and the ­Kapan Small Farmer Association.  The Armenian Rural Cooperative and Marketing Dairy Association regularly meets with the ATC faculty and extension specialists for updating information and cooperation (Hovhannisyan and László 2007).

A Farmer to Farmer (FtF) program funded by the USAID and operating in Armenia since 1992 has been managed by a consortium that includes Land O’Lakes, Winrock International, and ACDI/VOCA (USAID 2006). The FtF program also cooperates with a range of donor projects and provides volunteers for American and European NGOs, Armenian private sector businesses and other client firms and organizations (USAID 2006). The VISTAA is an Armenian NGO consulting company, which was created by VOCA to supplement the FtF program and that began as a private consulting company (USAID 2006). It specializes in different sectors of the economy and currently provides consultancy in both the private and public sectors. In 2005, VISTAA completed 30 consultancies, had four full time staff and 170 consultants (USAID 2006).


The Center for Agribusiness and Rural Development (CARD), registered as an Armenian NGO, has taken management of some previous MAP programs (e.g. Credit Clubs, 4-H Youth Program, ARID’s goat breeding program) since 2005 (USAID 2006). CARD has an Extension Service Field Demonstration grant program funded incrementally through competitive proposals. Other NGOs with extension services include Agropress (15 staff in 2009), the Armenian Platform for Sustainable Agriculture (APSA), the International Center for Agribusiness Research and Education, the Green Lane Agricultural Assistance NGO, the Armenian Foresters' Association, the ‘Green Land’ non-governmental organization, the ‘EcoGlobe’ NGO, which focuses on organic agriculture and Tavush Food.

Numerous public research institutions contain extension units, viz.: Research Center for Vegetables and Technical Crops, Research Center of Stock-Breeding and Veterinary,

Research Center for Grape and Fruit Growing and Wine-making, Research Center for Soil Science, Agro-Chemistry and Melioration, Research Center for Agriculture and Plant Protection, Research Station for Bee keeping, and Vayots Dzor ASRC.

Azerbaijan.  National and international NGOs, the private sector, and international donor projects appear to be the main purveyors of agricultural extension type information and training. 

After independence in 1991, the Republic of Azerbaijan’s agricultural extension services and advisory services, as well as auxiliary farming infrastructure (e.g. research stations, laboratories) collapsed (Babaev 2006; Lamers, Feil, Bayverdiyeva, Guliyeba, Djafarov 2008). Agricultural production fell drastically and only began recovering in 1998 (Babaev 2006). Since then, efforts to rebuild extension services by international development institutions, such as the World Bank and the German Technical Cooperation Agency (GTZ), as well as by the Government of Azerbaijan (e.g. credit schemes, agricultural service stations), have shown slow and limited (e.g. region specific, temporary mandates) results (Lamers et al. 2008). Agricultural input traders and firms, as well as international NGOs, emerged as the main sources of information and advice for most farmers; however, in 1999 the national NGO, Agro Information Center, established a private and decentralized advisory participatory service system (Lamers et al. 2008). This new agricultural extension system introduced private fee-based services in a country with a history of free-of-charge public services (Babaev 2006, Lamers et al. 2008).

The AIM’s objective is to deliver demand driven information and extension services (fee-based) to farmers to improve their self-reliance and productivity (Lamers et al. n.d.). AIM services include training of private village-based Agricultural Advisors (AAs), direct delivery of agricultural extension services, farmer group development, short-term consultancy services, agricultural publications, technical assistance, resource center development, as well as updating agricultural library (Lamers et al. n.d.). Between 2000 and 2004, the AIM trained 210 AAs using lectures, field visits, on-the-job training and customized coaching (Lamers et al. n.d.). These AAs served a total of 13,185 farmers/clients in 182 settlements and finalized a total of 3,247 contracts, which focused primarily on cropping, animal and poultry rearing, and farm economics (Lamers et al. 2008). The contracts were both written (52%) and verbal (48%). Female AAs were found not to be very active due to their family duties, lower mobility, and less income (Lamers et al. n.d., 2008). The AIM also established a monitoring and evaluating (M&E) system with the goal of maintaining a high quality level in its training courses (Lamers et al. 2008). To monitor and assess the knowledge, income and welfare of extension clients, the M&E system annually surveyed 70 randomly selected farm/households with access to extension and 55 randomly selected farm/households without access to extension (Lamers et al. 2008). It also surveyed 75 AAs annually to monitor and assess paid extension services.

In its survey to the WWES (2011), the AIM reported a total of 350 staff in 2009, and having trained 331 AAs in 280 villages of 23 regions in Azerbaijan, which served 30,000 client farmers. The AIM also reported serving a large variety of clients: farmers that grow cereals and vegetables, small-scale subsistence farmers, women farmers, young (adult) farmers, landless farmers, rural youth, rural women (nutrition, health, hygiene), small/medium-scale commercial farmers, as well as large commercial farmers. A total of 5 information and communication technology (ICT) staff were also reported, including 3 in print and mass media and 2 in computer-based information technology. ICT includes information bulletins and fact sheets, as well as audio-visual education material for use by extension staff WWES (2011).  Also, some 40% of AIM’s field extension staff (95% of total staff) have Internet access.  ICT seems necessary since the main means of transportation reported is by walking.

According to Lamers et al. (2006), since 2005, international organizations (e.g. the World Bank, GTZ, and International Fund for Agricultural Development [IFAD]), as well as agricultural research centers, such as the International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA) and the International Fertilizer Development Center, have collaborated more intensely with the Government of Azerbaijan to promote alternative types of service delivery. The World Bank has incorporated the AIM system in its efforts to develop extension services under a public-private structure (Lamers et al. 2008). The AIM has chosen not to participate or work as subcontractors in these efforts, due to the strong influence by public administration it still sees despite the decentralization of agricultural administration that began in 2004 (Lamers et al. 2006).

The AIM works with several partners and donors including Oxfam Novid (the Netherlands), FAO, the Church Development Center (Evangelischer Entwicklungsdienst, EED), Save the Children (USA), Action Against Hunger (ACH, Spain), ACDI-VOCA (USA), World Vision (WV, USA), GTZ, and the Swiss Interchurch Aid (HEKS-EPER) (WWES 2011). The AIM also provides training to field and key staff of international NGOs in Azerbaijan (e.g. WV, ACH) and consultancy services to partners abroad (e.g. German Agro Action in Uzbekistan); it reports a total of 35 such projects (WWES 2011, AIM 2012). One of AIM’s ongoing projects funded by FAO is a project consisting of “training and advisory services for capacity building in rural development for the Internally Displaced Person (IDPs) and refugees in new IDP settlements in Agdam region” (WWES 2011, AIM 2012).

Also established in 1999, was the Ganja Agribusiness Association (GABA), which promotes sustainable development in the country’s agrarian sector through human potential development, knowledge and resource transfer (WWES 2011). GABA supports small-enterprise development and is the country’s primary organization promoting organic agriculture. In 2011, GABA reported to the WWES having 1684 members that receive consulting and information services from a team consisting of 40 extension workers. These extension agents work with 30 farmers and 20 farmer groups (WWES 2011). GABA’s work is based primarily in the west, northwest and central regions of the country, but its strategy aims are for country-wide impact (WWES 2011). GABA’s extension agents are “seasoned” agriculture specialists who provide consulting and training using and array of methods within the organization’s education, marketing, advocacy and community development initiatives (WWES 2011).

Major achievements reported by GABA to the WWES (2011) include creating a coalition with several NGOs in the region, being the first organization to create a database on marketing of agriculture products, implementing 40 projects with the support of international organizations and foundations, and being the first to provide consulting and information services in the agrarian sector after the country’s independence from the Soviet Union.

Bahrain. Limited information is available on Bahrain’s agricultural extension system. However, based on Aldarazi (2004), it appears that the only extension provider in the country is the Extension and Agricultural Relations Directorate. According to the authors, there are no other public or non-public institutions involved in extension services. Funding from the government is considered adequate and there are no extra-budgetary sources of funding (Aldarazi 2004).

Agriculture in Bahrain is ‘limited by lack of water and the strong salinity (saltiness) of the soil (‘Bahrain’ 2012). Over a period of 30 years since 1971, Bahrain's cultivated area has been reduced from around 6,000 hectares to less than 1,500 hectares (‘Bahrain’ 2012). Extension services are believed to be completely centralized due to the fact that the target area they cover is small compared to other countries (Aldarazi 2004). Other challenges to its agricultural sector include increased demand on land for urban activities, lack of marketing facilities (e.g. storage), and lack of regulation of landowner-tenant relations (Aldarazi 2004). The agricultural workforce in Bahrain is estimated at 5,500 people (Aldarazi 2004).

Bahrain’s Extension and Agricultural Relations Directorate, is a merger of three units that date back to 1998: a field crops extension unit, a livestock extension unit, and an information unit (Aldarazi 2004). Agricultural extension in Bahrain was established in 1975. It was recognized as the Extension and Incentive Program beginning 1982 and as the Extension Services Division in 1985, which was then split into the three units in 1998 (Aldarazi 2004).

The structure of extension services, according to Aldarazi (2004), consists of a Minister of Municipality Affairs and Agriculture at the head, followed by: the Under-Secretary for Agriculture, the Director of Extension and Agricultural Relations Directorate, and the Head of Department of Extension and Information Services. The latter oversees the Head of Department of Farmer Training and Technology Transfer Unit, the Agricultural Extension Unit supervisor, and the Agricultural Information Unit supervisor. The Head of Department of the Farmer Training and Technology Transfer Unit is in charge of two agricultural technicians and one extension specialist. The Agricultural Information Unit supervisor is in charge of an Educational aids technician, an audiovisual technician, a Camera operator, and a Communication specialist. Lastly, the Agricultural Extension Unit supervisor is in charge of eight extension workers and one extension specialist.

Extension coverage is an average of 250 farmers per extension worker. This according to Aldarazi (2004) translates to, for example, one extension worker for 300 farmers in an area of 144 km-squared. Staffing is also inadequate not only in terms of number (there are also no women staff members), but in terms of qualifications: there are no colleges or universities in the country that offer degrees in any branch of agricultural science (including extension). However, in-country capacity building training of extension staff is considered frequent and adequate, and extension staff is believed to be well motivated by the career development opportunities in the field: they receive more training and better working conditions than professionals in other disciplines (Aldarazi 2004). No links exist between extension staff and other relevant institutions (Aldarazi 2004).

Extension approaches and methodologies are regarded as conventional; however, farmers are involved in the implementation and evaluation of extension programs (Aldarazi 2004). Farmer Field Schools (FFS) are also a new methodology in the country.

Cyprus.  Information on agricultural extension services in Cyprus is limited. Since 1974, Cyprus has been divided, with about 63% if the island's territory under the control of the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus, while the remaining 37% in the north is under Turkish occupation (Neocleous 1995).

Agricultural extension in Cyprus is carried out by the Department of Agriculture, one of the departments within the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment (MANRE, Neocleous 1995). The Department of Agriculture is organized into two divisions: the Agriculture Division and Animal Husbandry Division. The whole island is considered an integral project area, but has been divided into six districts, each having District Agricultural Offices, to facilitate its administration (Neocleous 1995, Phocaides 2002). According to Phocaides (2002), due to the nature of services that the Department of Agriculture provides, all of the Department (including all its sections) can be considered an agricultural extension service. For example, the Water Use Section of the Department of Agriculture is solely responsible for irrigation advisory services. According to Neocleous (1995), the Agricultural Extension Section (AES), along with the six District Agricultural Offices, forms what is known as the ‘Agricultural Extension Service’ (Neocleous 1995).

Central administration is in the capital city of Nicosia, which is the headquarters of the Department of Agriculture (Phocaides 2002). The Agricultural Extension Service covers 400 villages in the area under government control in the six districts (Neocleous 1995). These are grouped into 30 agricultural ‘beats’ (Neocleous 1995). ‘Beats’ are groups of villages under the responsibility of a ‘beat’ agent/agricultural officer (Neocleous 1995, Phocaides 2002). The number of villages in each ‘beat’ ranges from 7 to 20 depending on the intensiveness of the productive agricultural and livestock sectors and on the density of the farming population (Neocleous 1995). The number of farmers per ‘beat’ agent averages at about 1,500 (Neocleous 1995). All agricultural ‘beats’ are served by an equal number of field extension workers called ‘beat agricultural officers’, all of them being university graduates.

The ‘beat agricultural officers’ are assisted by SMS, posted either at the District Agricultural Offices or at Headquarters. All university graduates, and especially the SMS, are assisted in their work by trained agricultural or animal husbandry technicians (Neocleous 1995). The Agricultural Extension Service is also in close contact with all the Specialist Sections of the Department of Agriculture, other departments and services of the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and in particular with the Agricultural Research Institute, the Veterinary Services Department, the Water Development Department and the Land Consolidation Department (Neocleous 1995).

The AES, at Headquarter, includes four sectors, namely: Extension Program Planning and Implementation, Program Evaluation, Publicity, and Home Economics (Neocleous 1995). The AES has the responsibility of coordinating the planning, implementation and evaluation of Extension and Home Economics Programs (Neocleous 1995). These extension activities, in general, are prepared in close cooperation with the District Agricultural Offices, with specialist sections within the department, as well as with other services within the Ministry, as required (Neocleous 1995). As mentioned before, other sections of the Department of Agriculture also carry out extension services; however, according to Phocaides (2002) the AES is responsible for the ‘diffusion of information to the farm population concerning new ideas, techniques and practices, as well as the organization of programs and activities for promotion of scientific knowledge and modern technology’ (p.12).

Cooperation exists between the Department of Agriculture (including the Extension Service) and the Agricultural Research Institute (ARI, Neocleous 1995). The ARI of the MANRE was established in 1962 under a joint FAO/United Nations Development Program project and then was fully funded by the government as a separate Department (Phocaides 2002). Research findings from the ARI are communicated through the AES to the rural population, while information on problems arising in the farms is transmitted to the ARI (Neocleous 1995).

Georgia. Georgia has a pluralistic arrangement of extension institutions.  The governmental or ministry-based organizations relevant to extension are the Ministry of Economic Development, Ministry of Agriculture of Georgia, Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure and Argo Information Scientific Research Centre (AISRC, which contains an extension unit)

Several semi-autonomous governmental organizations provide extension, viz. the GPA-Georgian Institute of Public Affairs, GRDF-Georgian Rural Development Fund, GCAD-Georgian Center for Agribusiness Development, and ATA, Agro-Technology Association.  As for international donors these include SIDA/OPTO and IFAD.

NGOs in Georgia are numerous, viz. Acción Contra el Hambre (ACH),  Association for Farmers’ Rights Defense (AFRO), CARE International in Georgia, Heifer International, OXFAM GB Georgia, Mercy Corps, Save the Children, GRM International, CHF International, IRD, International Relief and Development,  Caucasus Environmental NGO Network (CENN), ELKANA, Biological Farming Association, Greens Movement of Georgia/Friends of the Earth-Georgia, Green Earth, and The Regional Environmental Centre for the Caucasus Foundation (REC Caucasus).

A private company operating in Georgia, which provides extension-type service is TBSC Consulting, a boutique management consulting firm located in Tbilisi.  This firm helps organizations make better strategic and tactical decisions by performing detailed analysis needed to support those decisions.  Mainly helps organizations produce business plans.

Iraq.  Extension services are public sector led in Iraq; however, NGOs, agricultural cooperative societies, private companies and local agricultural companies are also involved in extension activities (Alsamerae and Nassif 2004).

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Foreign Assistance Service (FAS) efforts are in progress in a variety of trade capacity building and technical assistance activities to help Iraq revitalize its agricultural sector, including the its agricultural extension system (USDA/FAS 2009). From 2008 until 2012, a second phase of the U.S.-Iraq Agricultural Extension Revitalization (IAER) Project was implemented in Baghdad (USDA/FAS 2009). According to the USDA/FAS (2009), IAER projects are ‘intended to facilitate Iraqi rural economic development by revitalizing its agricultural extension system to enhance public-private partnerships (PPP) in Iraq.’

There are various public entities that participate in the delivery of extension services. These, according to (Alsamerae and Nassif 2004, p. 33), include:

·         Agricultural bodies under the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) for: agricultural extension, agricultural research, horticulture and forestry, plant protection, and seed certification

·         Companies under the MoA such as Mabain Al-Nahrain for seeds, industrial crops, veterinary medicine and animal husbandry services

·         Development programs in the Ministry of Agriculture such as those for rice, tomato, maize, date palm, cotton, irrigation technologies and the environment

·         Provincial agriculture directorates, particularly their agricultural extension departments

·         Faculties of agriculture and veterinary medicine

·         Research centers in the Ministry of Science and Technology

Non-public institutions providing extension services include the Iraqi Company for Seed Production (mixed sector), agricultural cooperative societies, private companies and local agricultural companies. According to Alsamerae and Nassif (2004), ‘some private and foreign companies, particularly those working in pesticides, organize symposiums in coordination with Ministry of Agriculture bodies for extension, plant protection and research’ (p.33).

Israel.  The agricultural sector is based almost entirely on R&D, implemented by cooperation between farmers and researchers. Through a well-established extension service system, research results are quickly transmitted to the field for trial and implementation, and problems are brought directly to the scientist for solutions. Agricultural R&D is carried out primarily by the Ministry of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Organization (ARO). Most agricultural research institutes in Israel maintain close relations with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, ensuring a continuous exchange of information with other countries (i.e. Israeli Briefing Book—Agriculture). The Ministry of Agriculture's research body, the Agricultural Research Organization (ARO), accounts for nearly 75 percent of all nationwide agricultural research.

Most of Israel's agriculture is organized on cooperative principles, which evolved in the country during the early decades of the 20th century. Motivated by both ideology and circumstances, the early pioneers set up two unique forms of agricultural settlements: the “kibbutz,” a collective community in which the means of production are communally owned and income is equally distributed; and the “moshav,” a co-operative village where each family maintains its own household and works its own land, while purchasing and marketing are conducted cooperatively. In recent years both systems have undergone vast ideological and structural changes, though they still account for the lion's share of productive crop-growing area. (Israel, MFA, 2002).

Jordan.   A pluralistic arrangement, agricultural extension activity in Jordan is presently being carried out by the National Center for Agriculture Research and Extension (NCARE) public institution, as well as by private sector, input supply dealers, NGOs and farmer organizations.

In the public sector, the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) has a Director-General for Extension who oversees the Department of Extension Programs; other three departments under the same administration cover information and administration of agriculture, media and awareness, as well as training (Qamar 2012a). The Department of Extension Programs works as part of the NCARE, which counted 84 extension staff in 2009 (WWES 2011, Qamar 2012a). The NCARE is the country’s national institution responsible for both agricultural research and extension. While a semi-autonomous body, it depends on government funding (Qamar 2012a). The NCARE operates eight regional centers, 13 research stations representing various agro-ecological zones, and 13 extension units throughout the country (Qamar 2012a).

The Jordan University of Science and Technology (JUST) and the University of Jordan are state-supported higher-learning institutions that provide extension services. The JUST offers agricultural programs in various agricultural disciplines and its Faculty of Agriculture runs a Community Service that conducts several extension activities. These activities include field days, workshops, exhibitions, and short training courses. Besides providing consulting services to individual farmers and organizations, the Faculty of Agriculture serves agriculture, extension, and food industry committees that serve Jordan and the Middle East (Qamar 2012a).

Several small, medium, and large private sector agribusiness companies have a substantial number of extension staff that advises farmers on agricultural interests (Qamar 2012a). These include the Agricultural Materials Merchant Association (AMMA), the Nabat Agriculture and Trading Company, Ltd., the Yasamin Landscaping and Garden Center, the Sanabel Landscape Design and Services, and the Dajani Agribusiness (Qamar 2012a). The AMMA, for example, is an umbrella organization for a large number of private dealers of agricultural inputs. The company organizes exhibitions, workshops, seminars, and prepares printed materials on agricultural topics for target farmers, as well as provides training for university students (Qamar 2012a).

There are no NGOs in Jordan that exclusively provide agricultural extension services to farmers; however there are a number of NGOs involved in projects for rural community development and women empowerment (Qamar 2012a). These include the General Federation of Jordanian Women (GFJW); the international network, Ruaf Foundation; the largest and oldest non-profit NGO dedicated to promoting rights-based sustainable human development in Jordan, The Jordanian Hashemite Fund for Human Development; and the not-for-profit, applied research institution, Royal Scientific Society of Jordan (RSS) (Qamar 2012a).

Several farmers-based organizations and cooperatives also provide various types of support to their members, especially in marketing (Qamar 2012a). These include the Iraq el Amir Women’s Association, the Jordan Olive Products Exporters Association, the Jordan Valley Farmers Association, and the Jordan Exporters and Producers Association for Fruit and Vegetables.

According to the WWES (2011) country profile, the main features of the approach of agricultural extension in Jordan are programmed or un-programmed extension services. The programmed extension services implement specialized extension programs with specific goals in all production areas, which can be measured and planned in a decentralized manner by extension units and followed up by the central extension in NCARE, which implements up to 45 extension programs per year. The un-programmed extension services use extension tools to meet the immediate needs of extension campaigns. Tools include field visits, TV and radio, publications, CDs, DVDs. Extension agents are expected to be catalysts: they are expected to (1) mobilize farmers to experiment on an identified need/solution, (2) recognize local innovations, and (3) help assess and encourage farmers (WWES 2011).

A National Agricultural Information System (NAIS) was established under the government’s National Information and Communications Strategy (2007-2011) to popularize the adoption of ICT. The NAIS serves as the national platform for sharing and exchanging information and knowledge of agricultural research and development (Qamar 2012a). Jordan has a number of public and private institutions that use and promote ICT. These include  the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology; the University of Jordan’s King Abdullah II School for Information Technology and the Jordan Media Institute; the MoA’s Information and Communication Division (ICD) and the Media and Awareness Department under the MoA’s Director-General Assistant for Extension; NCARE’s National Library for Agricultural Information; and the Royal Scientific Society’s (NGO) Information Technology Center (Qamar 2012a).

Kuwait.  Extension appears to be carried out through the Public Authority of Agriculture Affairs and Fish Resources -   According to the Encyclopedia of the Nations, only 0.3% of Kuwait’s total land area is utilized for the cultivation of crops; permanent pasture land amounts to 7.7% of total land area. Despite the absence of rivers and streams, and the paucity of rain, the development of agriculture has been actively pursued. The government apportions arable land at nominal prices on a long-term basis among farmers to stimulate production of vegetables and other crops. It also provides farmers with long-term loans and low-cost irrigation. The state has supplied extension services and demonstration centers for new farming techniques in the attempt to increase agricultural production. Nevertheless, farming contributes less than 1% of the non-oil GDP. Agricultural output in 1999 included 134,000 tons of vegetables and melons, and 10,000 tons of fruit. (Kuwait - Encyclopedia of the Nations 2012).

Lebanon. In Lebanon, the public and private sectors, NGOs, and farmer-based associations and cooperatives provide agricultural extension services.

Large-scale civil wars have plagued resource poor countries such as Lebanon (Betru and Long 1996). The war of 2006 and the current tensions (since the Syrian civil war) have further exacerbated the agricultural and rural situation in the country. Lebanon’s agricultural sector is underdeveloped and is hindered by ‘a large number of small un-irrigated land holdings and the lack of modern equipment and efficient production techniques’, as well as by lack of funding and inaccessibility to loans (‘Lebanon’ 2012).

The major public institutions providing extension and advisory services in Jordan are the Ministry of Agriculture, the Lebanese Agricultural Research Institute (LARI), and the Federation of Chambers of Commerce, Industry & Agriculture in Lebanon (FCCIAL) (Qamar 2012b). The Ministry of Agriculture provides extension services through the Extension Department, a subdivision of the Extension and Agricultural Education Division under the Directorate of Studies and Coordination of the Ministry. According to a survey conducted by IFPRI and FAO in 2012, as part of the WWES, there are 67 public extension staff (91% field-level staff) and some 269 SMS, not staff of extension, that support extension on demand (Qamar 2012b). The Extension Department usually outsources specific extension tasks to universities and non-public actors due to its shortage of staff (Qamar 2012b).

The LARI is an autonomous institution supervised by the Ministry of Agriculture. The institute aims to develop and advance the agricultural sector in Lebanon through its applied and basic scientific research. Researchers perform extension activities through their outreach work with farmers (Qamar 2012b). Extension staff interacts with LARI scientists only during a yearly workshop held by the Ministry of Agriculture to discuss research priorities and present findings; otherwise, no formal planning and operational linkages exist between their respective organizations (Qamar 2012b).

The FCCIAL is an autonomous organization established under a government decree, whose mission is to ‘handle the coordination between different chambers of commerce [four regional chambers], industry and agriculture in Lebanon in order to take care of its common interests in a way of enumeration but not of limitation’ (cited from FCCIAL website, Qamar 2012b).  FFCIAL’s Market Information Service (MIS) and Farm Management and Accounting Services (FMAC) provide information on fruits and vegetables in the local and export markets (Qamar 2012b).

The Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of Zahle and the Beka’a (CCIAZ), according to findings by Qamar (2012b), is the most active in terms of extension support to farmers and is considered by some as a private institution. In 2006, the chamber, assisted 40 farmers through fee-based field visits, and started a fee-based farm accounting and management program for agricultural cooperatives and agri-businesses in which 200 farmers were enrolled (Qamar 2012b). The chamber has necessary equipment, library and Internet facilities.

Private companies started providing technical advice (through ‘aggressive’ sale of their products) to fill the void in public extension services left after the end of the civil war, circa 1990 (Qamar 2012b). There are some 50 private commercial companies involved in agriculture, which have their own technical staff and physical resources for marketing (Qamar 2012b). These include the Debbane Freres, Antagro, Nicobel Agricultural Products, Spica Agriculture, the Joseph H. Chalfoun Establishment, and       MIQDADI Agricultural Materials Company. The Joseph H. Chalfoun Establishment, for example, provides seeds, bulbs, seedlings, fertilizers, pesticides and agricultural equipment, as well as consulting services (Qamar 2012b).

A huge network of NGOs spread over Lebanon after the conclusion of the civil war: international NGOs funded by various bilateral donors such as Italy, USA, Germany, and Denmark, as well as local NGOs working in collaboration with international NGOs, mainly for funding reasons (Qamar 2012b). There is little inter-NGO coordination, however, as well as little collaboration between the NGOs and the public extension service (Qamar 2012b). A few examples of national and international NGOs that provided extension services and are active in the area of agricultural and rural development in Lebanon are: Rene Mouawad Foundation (RMF), the Jihad Al-Bina’a Development Association (JBDA), Hariri Foundation, the Safadi Foundation, Associazione Volontari per il Servizio Internazionale (AVSI), Association for the Development of Rural Capacities (ADR), the Cooperative Housing Foundation (CFH), and the local chapter of the Young Men Christian Association (YMCA).  The RMF, for example, is a national NGO with around 20 extension staff serving thousands of farmers (Qamar 2012b).  The RMF maintains the Agricultural Center of the North (CAN) (60 staff members including 15 agriculture graduates), which provides technical advice as well as training programs for farmers (Qamar 2012b). Similarly, the JBDA national NGO has 20 extension and veterinary staff, which organize training courses and field visits covering several thousand farmers. The staff provides seeds, inputs and vaccinations on a free or reduced cost basis, but has no formal collaboration arrangements with the public extension service (Qamar 2012b).

Lebanon has various farmers’ associations, as well as over 1,000 farmers’ cooperatives that concentrate on various commodities (Qamar 2012b). Farmers’ associations include the Lebanon’s Farmers’ Association (the main association in Lebanon), the Association of Lebanese Commercial Producers, the   Agriculture Protection and Improvement Society, the Association of Farmers in South, the Association of Jabal Akroum for Development, and the Apiculture Protection and Improvement Society. Some examples of farmers’ cooperatives are the Saksakieh Agricultural Cooperative, the             Agricultural Cooperative for Development of Agriculture in Jannat, the Agricultural Cooperative for Vegetables and Fruits in Danniye, the Aitaroun Cooperative, and the National Union for Cooperatives.

Lebanon has a large number of universities. Mainly, however, there are two universities that offer pre-service education in agricultural extension through degree programs in agriculture. These are the American University of Beirut (AUB), which offers a degree program in extension, and the Lebanese University (UL), which has a faculty of agriculture and veterinary (Qamar 2012b). There is no particular public institution for the purpose of in-service training of extension professionals in Lebanon (Qamar 2012b). A number of NGOs and some private companies have their own training centers, but they offer training courses for farmers only (Qamar 2012b).

The Government of Lebanon started building ICT institutional capacity in 2005 giving the Ministry of Telecommunication overall responsibility for promoting the use of ICT within public sector (Qamar 2012b). Around 75 percent of personnel in the agriculture sector have received necessary training in ICT. An ‘e-government’ initiative is being implemented by the Ministry of State for Administrative Reform, which will provide all the ministries and other public institutions necessary hardware and a variety of applications (e.g. Document Management Systems - DMS, Geographic Information Systems - GIS) (Qamar 2012b). According to Qamar 2012b, in the agriculture sector, DMS and GIS are being applied to centralize agricultural information in common, database formats and to facilitate access to this information.

Oman. The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries is responsible for agricultural extension.

Omanis have a long history in farming and animal husbandry in the Arabian Peninsula (MAF, 6th World Aqua Conference 2012). The agricultural sector plays a leading role in food self-sufficiency and contributing considerably towards non-oil export. Due to continuous and growing inter-relationship with other economic sectors, agricultural activities have an impact on social development, as well as on employment and rural communities.  It should be noted that plant protection, agricultural extension, agricultural production, irrigation, and arable lands are major interests to the government. However, many of these basic services provided to herders, including research, extension, supplies of water, veterinary drugs and marketing are insufficient and are not of the quality needed (Al-Mashakhi, Abdullah and Koll 2007).

Palestine. In the Palestine Ministry of Agriculture, the Directorate of Agriculture is the main government body responsible for agricultural extension.

The Directorate has developed a Virtual Agricultural Extension Center, with support by the FAO.  More than 20 Palestinian Ecological and Agricultural Organizations exist, some of which distribute or otherwise provide information and other services aimed at rural and agricultural projects. The Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), a non-profit organization established in 1986, seeks to improve the performance and professionalism of Palestinian farmers and to help Palestinian farmers market their produce as well as provide agricultural employment opportunities through a framework of cooperation with domestic, Arab, and international agricultural development institutions.  The UAWC is presently working within the framework of group programs, each of which includes some activities or projects related to accomplishing agricultural and rural development.

The UAWC programs include efforts to: (1) develop agriculture and drinking water resources and environment protection programs, (2) support agricultural extension and training by preparing brochures, visits, lectures, demonstrations in different agricultural domains, (3) improve Palestinian agricultural products for market, (4) advance land development including reclamation activities, building fences, drilling wells, planting lands and construction of irrigation networks, (5) enabling rural women through training and raising their awareness of  agricultural and non-agricultural domains, and (6) enhancing the Palestinian farmers’ connection and loyalty to the land, and provide technical agricultural extension and establish integrated production projects (‘Union of Agricultural Work Committees’ 2012).

Qatar. The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Agriculture (MMAA) encourages national investments and workforce to engage in the agricultural sector and establish agricultural projects that contribute to providing food products in the consumer market (

One of the practical steps taken in this direction was the arrangement made with the University of Qatar to introduce a program in the Faculty of Science to instruct national cadres in agricultural sciences. Up to the year 2002/2003, there were 1192 farms in Qatar, occupying a total area of 64547 hectares against 585453 hectares of uncultivated arable lands.  The MMAA supervises the agricultural sector; and includes the Agricultural Development Department, which department is responsible for drawing up agricultural and livestock development plans and programs, establishing experimental and model farms, marketing the products of these farms providing farming services for farmers, issuing agricultural licenses and applying agricultural and veterinary quarantine procedures.

Saudi Arabia. Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) (not in English) is the primary agency responsible for the execution and implementation of activities related to agriculture; it also provides extension and research-based information to the farmers in the kingdom (Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, Ottawa, Canada 2010).

Agriculture is not environmentally ideal for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia yet agricultural sector receives great importance. The state has been making concerted efforts through its five-year development plans to develop its agriculture to ensure food security. Due to the supportive and encouraging policies of the government, and able guidance from the extension service, farmers were able to enhance agricultural production and achieve self-sufficiency, at least to some extent (Al-Shayaa et al. 2012). “Environmental protection and conservation of the natural resources are subjects of prime importance in the kingdom. Extension and education can help creating awareness on their wise use” (ibid, 244).

The King Saud University, College of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Department of Agricultural Extension and Rural Society provides courses and training in agricultural extension.  According to Al-Shayaa et al. (2012:244), extension and education are vital and essential in the developmental process that provides numerous services and undertakes multiple activities.

Syrian Arab Republic. The Syrian Arab Republic is presently engaged in civil war; as such, limited information exists on the current state of agricultural extension in the country. 

Extension services in Syria, however, are primarily public sector led. According r to Al Shaikh (2004), extension programmes, activities and field visits were organized in cooperation with various actors, including: concerned authorities in Syria, agricultural scientific institutions, universities, international organizations, unions, private companies and the public sector. 

Prior to the current situation, public sector extension was under auspices of the Ministry of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform (MAAR). The MAAR was responsible for overseeingfour areas: Rural Women Development, Agricultural Awareness, Rural Programs, and Extension Planning (Al Shaikh 2004). The Agricultural Extension Directorate under the Ministry is responsible for ‘preparing, planning, following up on and evaluating agricultural extension programs for both plant and animal activities’ (Al Shaikh 2004). 

The Extension service, according to Al Shaikh (2004) then had the necessary audiovisual and computer equipment to establish integrated databases; it also used several methods in its extension activities: producing and airing TV and radio broadcasts; producing and distributing printed information material for planned activities (publications and local newspapers); renovating the agricultural museum according to the phases of agricultural development in Syria; organizing and participating in local and international fairs and agricultural conference; and preparing and implementing agricultural shows for specific extension needs. 

Al Shaikh (2004) presents the total number of agricultural extensionists from 1990 to 2003, as well as the numbers of new extension units established from 1981 to 2003. The number of extension agents, in general, increased from 3,075 in 1990 to 5,110 in 1996 to 9,784 in 2003. The number of new extension units established between 1981-2003 fluctuated. In 1982 to 1985 more than 100 units were established annually. From 1995 to 1999, less than 20 units were established annually, while between 2000 and 2003, more than 20 were established annually.

Turkey. Agricultural extension services in Turkey are primarily public sector led. However, the Government of Turkey has launched several initiatives to jump-start private provision of extension and advisory services. NGOs and farmers’ associations, cooperatives and unions also offer to some extent extension services.

The main public extension institutions are the provincial and district agricultural directorates of the Ministry of Agriculture, the Center Research Institute for Field Crops (CRIFC), and several universities with Faculties of Agriculture (Qamar 2012c). In 2011, the Ministry of Agriculture underwent re-structuring and appears to continue to reorganize its departments. The Department of Farmer Training and Agricultural Extension, the General Directorate of Agricultural Reform, the General Directorate of Organization and Support, the Agriculture and Rural Support Institution, and the Department of Women and Rural Development all appear to have emerged as the departments most relevant to extension. However, the existing literature and the process of reorganization does not allow for a clear understanding of the Ministry of Agriculture’s present organizational structure (Qamar 2012c).

According to Qamar (2012c), there are 81 provincial directorates and 803 district directorates within these provinces, which are responsible for providing public extension services to farmers living in thousands of villages. Durutan (1995) had reported Provincial Agricultural Directorates in 73 provinces and County Extension Offices in 829 counties established by the then Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs. The present provincial directorates consist of six technical divisions: rural development and cooperatives; plant production and protection; food and feed; coordination and agricultural data (farmers training and extension); agricultural infrastructure and land use; animal health, as well as breeding and fishery production (Qamar 2012c). Each district’s agricultural directorate has a team of SMSs covering different disciplines. Extension staff works through village level farmers’ extension groups (TARGEL), which plan, organize and monitor all extension activities (Qamar 2012c).

The CRIFC is the only institute, from the various agricultural research institutes all over Turkey, which lists extension as one of its main activities (Qamar 2012c). The institute is funded by the government, but also operates projects that are funded by international organizations (Qamar 2012c).

There are a several universities with faculties of agriculture, such as the Adnan Menderes University; Akdeniz University, Ankara University, Ataturk University, Cukurova University, Ege University, Erciyes University, Harran University, Namik Kemal University, Osman Gazi University, Uludag University, as well as the Suleyman Demirel University. Some, such as the Cukurova University, have extension departments or extension as a major academic program (Qamar 2012c). Suleyman Demirel University, located in Isparata, Turkey, has a collaborative program in extension with Iowa State University (Qamar 2012c). Pre-service training for extension staff is also available through some of the universities.

The number of extension staff in Turkey can only be speculated upon based on the available, but inconsistent information (Qamar 2012c). Based on 2009 FAO survey data from the General Directorate of Organization and Support of the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock, the total number of agricultural extension staff in the government is 9,948 plus 62 extension staff in the area of rural development, as well as a total staff of 4,644 in the private sector (Qamar 2012c). The FAO survey was conducted as part of an Investment Assessment Project. A national consultant’s report prepared for the same project shows a planned total number of 24,502 staff participating in extension operations (permanent staff). Based on survey data received from the Extension Department of the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock, the WWES (2011), reports a total of 5,262 extension staff. Lastly, based on a six-monthly report by the Turkish Government on rural technology transfer in transition economies in Turkey, the total number of public extension staff, as of 2006, is 16,674 (Qamar 2012c).

Although government has taken quite a number of initiatives including the launching of some experimental projects and the preparation of regulations governing the provision of extension and advisory services by the private sector, yet extension services in Turkey still remain by and large public. No commercial companies have yet distinctly emerged which may be considered as actively engaged in advisory services for farmers. Presently, the emphasis is on developing the practice of individual agricultural consultants who could reside in villages and provide technical guidance to farmers’ associations. Hiring of such consultants by wealthy farmers is already happening.

It is believed that many private companies do some extension work during the promotion of their products, such as through organization of farmers’ meetings. Some of these private agricultural companies include the Aksan Kardan Ltd (manufacture and trading), SPN Agro Agricultural Products Co. Ltd (fertilizers and other chemicals), GETA Company Ltd (modern greenhouses and other agricultural products), Abbad Traders Olc. (which trades agricultural products, e.g. black pepper), AR-GE Group Agricultural Foreign Trade Company Ltd (chemical and organic solid and liquid fertilizers), and the Taris Zeytin Olive and Olive Oil Company (Qamar 2012c).

Various NGOs in Turkey focus on social and environmental development efforts (e.g. local offices of Amnesty International, Women for Women’s Human Rights, and Turkish Foundation of Re-forestation). Qamar (2012c) shows two NGOs engaged in rural development and farmers’ assistance through various projects and field activities: the Turkish Development Foundation (TKV) and the Sustainable Development Association (SURKAL). The TKV is involved in the development of rural human resources, in the forming of rural organizations, in extension and home economics activities, as well as in the provision of training courses. SURKAL implements several rural development projects following participatory and human centered approaches.

The primary farmers’ association in Turkey is the Chamber of Agriculture (TZOB), which, in 2011, had a membership of more than 4.8 million farmers (Qamar 2012c).  The TZOB is recognized for its effort to introduce private advisory services through individual advisors (Qamar 2012c). According to the Turkish Cooperatives Strategy and Action Plan 2012-2016, prepared by the Directorate-General of Cooperatives of the Ministry of Customs and Trade, the number of agriculture, fishery and marketing related cooperatives and unions in Turkey as of 2011 is: 14,272 cooperatives with a total of 4,568,495 members; 148 unions with a total of 8,423 members; and 7 Central Unions with 115 members (Qamar 2012c).

Agricultural radio and television programs have been active in Turkey for decades (Qamar 2012c). The Turkish government has announced several incentives for the development of ICT sector. Some existing uses of ICT in the agricultural sector include: a National Registry System for Farmers (NRSF) established under the Agricultural Reform Implementation Project from 2001 to 2007; web-based State Meteorology Services that provide free information; as well as a large number of online agriculture portals (Qamar 2012c).

United Arab Emirates (UAE). The UAE is Ministry-based extension system. Extension is provided by the Ministry of Environment and Water,, the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA),, and the Abu Dhabi Farmers' Services Centre (FSC),  The WWES (2011) states, “the agriculture sector of Abu Dhabi will undergo a transition from government subsidies and financial support, to a market-led system where the private sector invests in the production and marketing of local high quality produce. Reform will focus on the implementation of efficient integrated farming systems, including livestock, along with forages, vegetables and date production” (WWES 2011).

According to the Encyclopedia of the Nations (2012), “The Digdagga Agricultural Trials Station in Ra's al-Khaimah is central to all agricultural research and training efforts in the UAE. Abu Dhabi has two large wheat farms at Al 'Ayn, and experimental farms at Rawaya and Mazaid (near Al 'Ayn) are designed to encourage local Bedouins to take up settled farming. The Abu Dhabi Arid Land Research Center on Sadiyat Island produces vegetables through special irrigation and hydroponic techniques.” (UAE, Encyclopedia of the Nations 2012).

Yemen.  In Yemen, the public and private sectors, NGOs and farmers’ associations and cooperative unions provide extension services.

Major public institutions providing extension/advisory services include the General Directorate of Extension and Training of the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation, individual departments of the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation, the General Directorate of Rural Women Development, governorate level extension offices, agricultural blocks and extension centers, rural women development centers and veterinary centers, the Agricultural Research Authority (ARA), as well as public universities (Qamar 2012d).

The General Directorate of Extension and Training is a newly created general directorate consisting of the Directorate of Extension, Directorate of Training, and Directorate of Information. Funding for the General Directorate is considered extremely low and this has led many extension agents to charge farmers for technical services (Qamar 2012d). Overall, according to the General Directorate of Extension and Training, there is a total of 1,210 extension staff in the General Directorate, with 6 at the national level. Forty-one percent of the total number of extension staff are specialists having a university degree and 59% are Technicians and workers with diplomas or certificates (Qamar 2012d). In 2009, the General Directorate maintained 1,438 extension staff serving a variety of clientele: women farmers, rural women (nutrition, health, and hygiene), small/medium-scale commercial farmers, young (adult) farmers, rural youth, large commercial farmers, small-scale subsistence farmers, landless farmers (WWES 2011).  Extension staff included a total of 33 ICT Staff (20 in print and mass media and13 in computer-based information technology), 5% of which had Internet access (WWES 2011).  The use of ICT included information bulletins and fact sheets, workshop and training materials, audio-visual education material for use by extension staff, extension materials and publications available on-line, TV programs (4 per month), and radio programs (730 per month). (WWES 2011).

Several departments of the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation have individual extension units, such as the General Directorate of On-Farm Irrigation, the General Directorate of Animal Health and Veterinary Quarantine, the General Directorate of Agricultural Marketing, and the General Directorate of Plant Protection (Qamar 2012d). The General Directorate of Rural Women Development comprises 17 departments and four sections. Due to lack of funding, the General Directorate of Rural Women Development cooperates and collaborates with the General Directorate of Extension and Training and other relevant institutions whenever possible (Qamar 2012d). Governorate agricultural extension offices were established as a result of decentralization and exist as either departments or as sections within the governorate level ministry of agriculture offices (Qamar 2012d).

As of May 2012 and according to the General Directorate of Extension, there are a total of 57 district-level Agricultural Blocks, 320 village-level Extension Centers, as well as 11 Rural Women Development Centers and four Veterinary Centers in Yemen (Qamar 2012d). Agricultural Blocks (district level extension offices) and Extension Centers (village level extension offices) were established in most of the governorates during 1980s (Qamar 2012d). Among the total Agricultural Blocks and Extension Centers, only 392 were functional while 75 were non-operational due to various reasons (e.g. lack of operational budget, lack of resident staff).

The ARA was previously known as the Agricultural Research and Extension Authority (AREA) when it covered both research and extension. Now ARA is in charge of research, but still conducts some extension and training activities that will be gradually phased out (Qamar 2012d).

Public universities in Yemen have faculties of agriculture that offer degree programs and pre-service education in agricultural extension; these include Sana’a University, Aden University, Dhamar University, and Ibb University (Qamar 2012d).

Some private companies deliver extension advice during the sale of their farm input products or through demonstration plots and work with cooperatives and producers’ associations (Qamar 2012d). Some examples include: El Aghil Agro Company, the Astra Agricultural Company, the Al Muwad Company, and the Ya Nabi Marketing Association. A number of NGOs are also involved in extension related activities and are usually funded by donor organizations. These include the Yemeni Association for Sustainable Agricultural Development (YASAD) and the Yemen Women Union (YWU). The main farmers-based organization and cooperative include the Agriculture Cooperative Union and the Yemen Fisheries Cooperative Union, and the Yemeni Coffee Producers Association. The Agriculture Cooperative Union, for example, has 15 branches located in various governorates with a total of 320 producers’ associations and individual members totaling over 150,000. 

3.         Trends

In eight of the 18 countries in West Asia, agricultural extension appears to depend entirely on the public sector, e.g. Cyprus, Kuwait, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirate, and Yemen.  Nonetheless, several encourage pluralistic systems, viz., Armenia, Georgia, Jordan, and Turkey. Azerbaijan’s arrangement depends on two NGOs.  Israel’s agricultural sector is based almost entirely on R&D and implemented through cooperation between farmers and researchers.  Civil strife has reduced information on agricultural extension in Bahrain, Iraq, Lebanon and Syria. More communication and research are needed to fill in the gaps and current situations regarding agricultural extension and advisory systems in the West Asia sub-region.

4.         Summary

Civil strife has reduced current information agricultural extension and rural advisory systems in several countries in the West Asia sub-region. More communication and research are needed to fill in the gaps.  Except for Armenia, Georgia, Jordan, and Turkey agricultural extension and advisory services appear to be provided by the public sectors. Although Armenia’s agricultural extension system is public sector dominant, extension services are also provided by farmers’ organizations, the private sector, and NGOs. Georgia has a pluralistic system of extension with contributions by numerous NGOs and the private sector. Jordan’s pluralistic extension system is fostered by private sector, input supply dealers, NGOs and farmer organizations. Agricultural extension services in Turkey are primarily public sector led; however, the Government of Turkey has launched several initiatives to jump-start private provision of extension and advisory services. NGOs and farmers’ associations, cooperatives and unions also offer to some extent extension services. Notable is Israel’s information transfer and rural advisory services, which are based on cooperation between researchers and farmers, providing a well-established extension system.


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