Realizing Sustainable Agriculture through Rural Extension and Environmental Friendly Farming Technologies: Basic Ingredients

M. Y. SHALABY1, K. H. AL-ZAHRANI1, M. B. BAIG1 and G. S. STRAQUADINE2

1 King Saud University, Department of Agricultural Extension and Rural Sociology, P.O. Box 2460, Riyadh 11451,Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
2 The Ohio State University, Agricultural Communication, Education and Leadership Department, Columbus, OH43210, USA

Abstract

SHALABY, M. Y., K. H. AL-ZAHRANI, M. B. BAIG and G. S. STRAQUADINE, 2012. Realizing sustainable agriculture through rural extension and environmental friendly farming technologies: basic ingredients. Bulg. J. Agric. Sci., 18: 854-864

With an only 3% percent farming area, Egypt is still an agricultural country. Its development primarily depends upon agricultural resources. Agriculture contributes approximately 14% of the GD P and absorbs about 31% of workforce. About 53% population lives in rural areas where directly or indirectly their livelihood depends upon agricultural sector. Despite its positive and significant contributions to food security/supply, economy, employment, export earnings, ecological balance, agriculture faces many threats and challenges which, in turn, result unsustainable crop productions. The prominent challenges faced include land and water issues; high degree of land fragmentations; old cultivation techniques, low yields with old traditional varieties, lack of information on marketing; post-harvest losses; degradation of natural resources and environmental issues;, inadequate support services; framework and institutional constraints; and lack of agricultural development policies etc. In the present scenario, it seems imperative for agriculture sector to adopt new environmental friendly farming systems primarily based on the principles of sustainable agriculture. On the other hand, the role of rural extension has also been changed due to the low contributions made by old primitive cultivation techniques, the promising emerging new farming technologies, and the declining socio-economic conditions of rural etc. This article examines the changing scenarios, possibility of employing environmental friendly farming practices and elevating the working capabilities of the extension workers through well-planned capacity building programs. An effort has been made to identify and enlist the basic ingredients essential for the sustainable farming and efficient rural extension.

Key words: capacity building, extension and education, environmental issues, farming systems, inputs availability, low yields, population growth

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