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The agricultural extension methods and their applicability to the underdeveloped countries : with special reference to Southeast Asia Jeerapandh, Somsala

Abstract

The thesis investigates the extent to which agricultural extension methods as used in the developed countries can be applied to the countries in Southeast Asia with particular reference to Thailand. The working hypothesis is that the peculiar conditions of agriculture in the underdeveloped countries restricts the total transfer of extension methods from the developed regions to the underdeveloped regions of the world. The historical development of agricultural extension work in the developed countries of Europe and North America is traced, and the general theory and methods of agricultural extension are explored. Then the agricultural problems of Southeast Asia are studied, with a view to identifying the factors which will affect the agricultural extension work in that region. It is concluded that the method of personal contact which is effectively used in the developed countries can be the main method for persuading farmers in Southeast Asia to accept improved techniques and training them to apply these methods efficiently. However, the personal contact method involves costly personnel, transportation and equipment. The meeting and demonstration methods tend to be effective also. Mass methods of agricultural extension including radios, newsprint, magazines and circular letters would not be effective, since few farmers can read and a still smaller number have radios. However, posters and farm exhibits are two types of mass media which would stimulate a great deal of interest on the part of the rural population. Ideally, methods should be diversified. Meetings, demonstrations, discussions, films and slides can be used to complement each other. Their combination for best results varies with local conditions. In Thailand, as in any other underdeveloped country, a complete agricultural extension program is required. This would necessitate a greater number of agricultural extension workers than the country now has and therefore a training program for extension personnel is in urgent demand. The study also deals in some detail with the case of Thailand and conclusions are drawn for that country. To the extent that Thailand is representative of Southeast Asia, then conclusions can be generalized for the region.

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