Lack of expertise in agricultural techniques
Deficient knowledge of farming
Lack of agricultural knowledge
Technical advice and extension services play a critical role in the development of agriculture. They are the direct link between research institutions and producers. It is through them that findings and recommendations are channelled to farmers and actual production conditions and problems are relayed back to the research institutes and Governments. The dissemination of information on pest attacks and contagious plant diseases, as well as on soil quality, correct use of agro-chemicals, options for crop rotation, inter-cropping and gradual diversification, forms the core of extension services. In particular for small-scale producers, such services are often the only access to technical advice and information systems. Poorly managed extension networks, in particular those lacking a coherent approach to all levels of policy-making or ones deficient in effective surveillance and law enforcement, would be most unlikely to promote environmentally preferable methods. As production techniques become more complex, particularly in terms of the drive towards sustainability, the need to strengthen and reorganize extension services takes on greater importance.