Without a comprehensive policy, agricultural extension is unlikely to get the priority and attention it deserves. Formulation and implementation of an extension policy should be the first priority for improving extension delivery in Sri Lanka.
Prof. C. Sivayoganathan retired last month as Senior Professor (Agricultural Extension) from the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. He spoke to AESA recently on the current
challenges in extension delivery in Sri Lanka
What significant changes in extension provision happened in Sri Lankan food crop sector during the past 3 to 4 decades?
The most significant change in the 1980s was the introduction of the Training and Visit (T&V) system during 1979-80. T&V continued till 1989 when the agricultural extension services were devolved to the provinces under the 13th amendment to the constitution. Nearly 2400 field level extension workers (Krushi Viyapthi
Sevakas) were transferred from the Department of Agriculture to the Ministry of Public Administration as Grama Niladharis and this created a vacuum at the field level.
Box 1: Sri Lankan Agriculture
Prof C Sivayoganathan
Senior Professor (Agricultural Extension)
University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka
From 1993 to 1998, under the Second
Agricultural Extension Project, the Integrated Agricultural Extension Service involving the Department of Agriculture, Department of Export Agriculture, Department of Animal Production and Health, and Coconut
Cultivation Board was implemented. However, from 1999 each department again started offering its own extension service separately. Greater emphasis was given to group and mass extension methods as against individual extension methods since then.
In 2002 about 9000 persons were recruited, given a brief training in agriculture, and employed as Agricultural Research and Production Assistants. They are currently engaged in village level extension activities (23 days in a week).