|dc.description.abstract||The purpose of this research is to determine an appropriate system of agricultural extension to improve the services to Samoan farmers within the framework of government economic rationalisation policies. Policy makers and farmers' perceptions and past experiences with the MAFFM's extension services are examined to determine the socio-economic impact of agricultural extension on local communities. Village communities used in the case study (Siufaga and Samalaeulu from Savaii Island, Malaemalu and Taelefaga from Upolu Island) are involved in a variety of extension systems (T & V system and FSD approach) and price supporting schemes (bonus scheme and subsidies) provided by the government through the MAFFM. Siufaga village had been selected as a pilot area during the AusAID Farming System Project to promote the FSD approach. While the other three village communities are also involved in the FSD approach, adopting the PLA technique, a modified PRA technique, to counter the high expectations of village people.
An integrated qualitative approach including the Survey Approach for policy makers, and the Case Study Approach (adopting the RRA/PRA techniques) for village communities was used to collect both qualitative and quantitative data. Data was analysed using a "Time Series" analysis to investigate the trends in budgetary allocations to MAFFM and Extension Division in the past decades. The results are presented in the "Chronological Structure" to study the past, present and future trends in agricultural extension experienced by farmers and policy makers in Samoa. The "Comparative Methodology" analysis is also used to allow policy makers to compare the MAFFM's extension service with other countries' public extension restructuring and privatization. The results of this investigation suggest that Samoan rural communities require the policy makers to consider all factors influencing technology adoption if the extension service is to be socially, economically, ecologically and financially sustainable. The results suggest that the MAFFM's extension service could be the major extension provider but there are other alternative extension systems for Samoa. This is consistent with the government policy of promoting the leading role of the private sector in economic development while allocating and utilising its limited budgetary resources more efficiently. The results also indicate that the PRA procedure, as outlined in this paper, is a suitable applied framework for assessing rural community development needs. This process makes it possible to monitor and evaluate the impacts of extension and allow a full participation of local communities in democratic consultations and negotiations at all levels.
The main implication of these results is that the MAFFM's extension function needs to be restructured to meet the new government policy of improving the efficiency and accountability within the public sector, and of allocating and utilising its limited budgetary resources more efficiently. Coincidentally, the adoption of other alternative extension systems should be explored and all price supporting schemes should be abolished to reduce its budget deficit and accumulated foreign debts. Restructuring is needed to ensure that the Community Development Approach adopting PRA procedures to participatory rural development is prioritised. This would ensure that all members of rural communities, government agencies, non-governmental organisations, input suppliers, funding agencies and private companies fully participate in consultations and dialogue to achieve sustainable community development. As a consequence, complementary extension services can be established. For instance, the government role has to concentrate on policy making; human resource developments, social and environmental issues, and provide an extension service to small scale farmers in rural areas, whilst the private sector should deal with semi-subsistence and commercial farmers.||en