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The Agricultural Extension System of Family Farm Schools in Cameroon | Chapter 05 | Perspectives of Arts and Social Studies Vol. 1

This chapter analyzes the extension system used by Family Farm Schools in providing agricultural information to farmers to alleviate rural poverty and hunger in Cameroon. It examines the background of Family Farm Schools and the unemployment problem of school leavers and advances the view that moving away from pure state paternalism to a partnership between the state, private sector, NGOs, donors, civil society, and rural communities in promoting of agricultural training and extension would improve the asset levels and autonomy of rural youths. Data was obtained through field observations, focus discussions and programme documents. The conclusion highlights the unsatisfactory financial position of the Family Farm Schools’ extension system and suggests the way forward to develop a newly  conceived  policy  agenda  for  agricultural  training  and  extension  using  this  system;  adopt  a diversified  and  pluralistic  strategy  for  funding  the  programme;  build  a  platform  for  dialogue  and collaboration with the relevant extension service providers; and evaluate the programme within the economic  growth  and  poverty  reduction  strategy  for  government  action.  The agricultural extension techniques propagated by Family Farm Schools are but one part of meeting the challenge of poverty alleviation via education and self-employment. Equally demanding is the task of developing structures and  support  services  that  will  ensure  that  eventual  graduates  have  opportunities  to  invest  in agriculture. This requires the setting up of a credible rural development bank for providing financial services to farmers and concessions of agricultural land of reasonable sizes to be acquired by the young farmers for crop and livestock production. Other incentives like favourable prices, access to markets, transport facilities, agricultural inputs and effective linkages with agricultural research should be made available to encourage the young farmers. Global developments require a new vision and the promotion of improved best practices if agricultural extension systems are to be revitalized and made more effective to meet the diverse needs of farmers. In the absence of these efforts, innovative training  and  extension  systems  may  prepare  skilled  youth  who  are  committed  to  agricultural development goals but who have no means for effective  implementation of their action plans.  The development of agriculture is the key to alleviate rural poverty in Cameroon. The youths need the right education and training to enable them participate in farming as family business enterprises.

Author(s) Details

Fonteh Athanasius Amungwa
Associate Professor, Agricultural Extension and Rural Development, Chair of Social Economy and Family Management at the Higher Technical Teacher Training College, University of Buea, Cameroon.

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