Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Communication Pattern and Conflict in Agricultural Extension

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Communication Pattern and Conflict in Agricultural Extension

Article excerpt

Abstract

This paper deals with communication patterns and conflict in agricultural extension. A strong assumption is that, extension could be expected to enhance agricultural and rural development, but an appropriate communication pattern and conflict in extension remains unsolved. Therefore, the objectives of this paper are three-folds, namely (a) to identify the social processes among actors in implementation of social engineering-based extension and social learning-based extension, (b) to map the communication patterns in agricultural extension, and (iii) to analyze the conflicting functions in agricultural extension. This study uses a Comparative Case Studies Method by focusing on social engineering and social learning in agricultural extension, using a Purposive Sampling Technique. The sample consists of government oficial (including extension officer), private sector, researcher and farmer groups. The results show that (i) social process among actors in agricultural extension based on social engineering is more project-oriented (dissociative), while social process in social learning-based extension tends to be cooperation-oriented due to the same interest in achieving goal of programs, especially skill and knowledge improvement (associative), (ii) communication in social engineering-based extension is a linier pattern (top down), while communication in social learning-based extension is using a convergent (participatory) pattern, (iii) conflict in agricultural extension based on social engineering is generally latent (hidden) and will eventually explode and impede extension, impacting group unsolidarity, while in extension based on social learning, conflict generally are on the surface (manifest), and the accommodation is one way to solve. A major implication of these findings is the stepping up of agricultural extension (based on social learning process) which becomes a push factor towards independency group in finding new innovation. The research suggests that social learning-based extension should be developed as a potential way to sustain an important role of extension in agricultural and rural development.

Keywords: communication, agricultural extension, social learning, social engineering

1. Introduction

Agricultural extension systems world-wide are going through necessary renewal processes and it is sti 11 an open question what role the public sector are going to play regarding extension in the future (Haug, 1999) including extension's role in advancing both development and women's empowerment (Rivera & Corning, 1990). Agricultural extension has contributed to the achievement of various agricultural development programs, although executed with a top down approach that seem to be forced. The presence of farmers impressed as object development only, executing the instructed things, causing a very high dependency of farmers to the extension officer. This is a probable reason why Ozor and Cynthia (2011) stated that, a change in the extension service agenda to accommodate the challenges currently posed by climate change by adopting new roles identified in the study and the need for increased research and innovation for sustainable adaptation to climate change. This is line with Arsyad's findings (2010) that, the higher the frequency of getting information of technology/agriculture extension, non-agriculture jobs information and price information for input-output in agriculture, the higher the crops production (agricultural income) as well as non-agriculture income will be gained, the more total household income will have, which contributes to poverty alleviation. This implies that stepping up agricultural and non-agricultural extension services, could also significantly reduce rural/agriculture poverty (Arsyad & Kawamura, 2010). Put it in other words, even though agriculture (having extension services) is not a single factor to alleviate poverty, it is a fact that about 70% of the poor people (Indonesian case) works in rural agriculture. …

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