Selected Papers

“Global trade and climate change challenges: 
a brief overview of impacts on food security and gender issues”, published in International Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management Vol. 4 No. 4, 2012
pp. 442-451
. Emerald Group Publishing Ltd, August 2012

Author(s): Professor Tahseen Jafry, Glasgow Caledonian University

Overview

Changing climatic circumstances brings increasing uncertainty about the amount of agricultural produce any country can expect to achieve in particular seasons. As a result, there is a growing trend, especially in developing countries, where much of the agricultural workforce is made up of women, to adopt and benefit from international trade as a coping strategy to overcome food shortages.

The paper provides an overview of how agricultural extension systems need to adapt to provide gender equitable approaches to supporting the most vulnerable farming groups under changing climatic circumstances. For instance, at a micro level the ability to identify the changing needs of women farmers and at a macro level institutional reform.

The paper highlights the need to develop an understanding of how agribusiness models of food security are affecting their livelihood opportunities, questions the validity of existing approaches to tackling the challenges of climate change and food security and describes a new approach to agricultural extension provision to overcome these challenges.

It describes trends related to agricultural growth, food security and the impact of climate variability on achieving this growth with special emphasis on poverty and provides an account of a new approach in tackling gender issues in the agricultural sector.

The paper concludes that the poorest, most vulnerable farming communities and women farmers will not reap the benefits of global agricultural trade unless mechanisms are put in place to support them. A gender-sensitive agricultural extension system is one support mechanism that can be used to design and develop meaningful programmes and help them to deal with the climate change challenges that lie ahead.

“The State of Agricultural Extension: An Overview and New Caveats for the Future”, Review paper published in Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension Vol. 19, No. 4, 381-393, Routledge, August 2013

Author(s): Professor Tahseen Jafry, GCU; Dr Amanda Benson, Action for Sustainable Living, Manchester

Overview

It is estimated that there are over 800,000 official extension personnel globally, most of whom work in the public sector in developing countries. This review highlights the important consequences for developing countries of global extension reform and the high percentages of farmers reliant on agriculture, making effective agricultural extension a key strategy in tackling poverty and strengthening rural development. It outlines the manner in which governments around the globe have experimented with alternative approaches to extension reform, such as privatisation and cooperatives, and demonstrates how public sector extension has come to be viewed as problematic.

Through a critique and synthesis of literature, this paper focuses on global political changes which have led to widespread changes from production- to market- oriented extension systems and discusses pressures on unsustainable public extension systems to reform.

The paper identifies the practical realities of adopting alternative approaches to extension, especially in the context of poverty. It considers the challenges in reforming extension to act as facilitator and enabler, rather than as service provider, and the difficulties in moving towards reforms that promote pluralism and innovation.

By contributing to current global debates on reforming agricultural extension by providing learning of how extension services have changed, the paper provides new insights from which lessons can be drawn for future reform.


“Adoption of Resource Conserving Technologies by Farmers in the Rice Wheat Systems of Pakistan”
journal article published in Natural Resources and Conservation journal 1(1): 15-20, 2013.

Author(s): Professor Tahseen Jafry, GCU; Ashraf Poswal, Bushra Raza Ahmad, Gulam Ali all of CABI Pakistan

Overview

The adoption of new resource conserving technologies (RCT), such as the zero till drill, which impact on crop yields and/or household budgets is significant to the livelihoods of resource-poor farming families in terms of their food security and income.

This study was conducted with farmers from four socio-economic groups, i.e. landless, marginal, subsistence or food surplus/cash cropping in 2 villages in Shekhupura district and 2 villages in Sialkot district of Pakistan to determine their ability to adopt zero till drills as an approach to improving wheat production and thereby increasing their food security status.

Participatory semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions were used to collect information.

Findings indicate that it is those farmers who have sufficient land to guarantee household food security throughout the year that can take the necessary risk of adopting new technologies such as the zero till drill, but this finding was not uniform across all the villages.

Many landless and marginal farmers were confused about the benefits of using the zero-till drill for wheat production: farmers who had used the zero-till drill complained of soil compaction, increased pest problems in the following rice crop and lack of back-up support.

It was recommended that more emphasis is put on disseminating information concerning RCTs at gatherings such as Haweli that involve all farmer groups but especially marginal farmers. These farmers could be organised into Citizen Community Boards so that they can access government funding for agricultural equipment, including zero-till drills, which would allow the sharing of equipment especially by the poorest groups.