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Book of Abstracts

11th IFOAM
Scientific Conference
11-15 August 1996
Copenhagen, Denmark

Abstract front page
Subject index
Athor index

Special Presentations

The challenge to be an advisor and lecturer F13

Schmid, Otto

Research Institute of Organic Agriculture, CH-4104 Oberwil/BL, Switzerland

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First the different terms used for advisory or extension work are explained. The concepts developed for extension in Organic Agriculture in Switzerland are based very much on participation: farmers and advisors do learn from each other. Therefore the organic farm advisor should have a good understanding of what communication does imply. In addition he/she has to develop a broad background knowledge of organic farming, beside some specialized knowledge on certain fields. Small regional organic advisory centers - so called "competence centers" - do allow to offer more and better services to the farmers.Some possible conflicts are analysed, which may arise if the intentions of a farmer are in contradiction with ethical or ecological principles of the farm advisor (or his organisation): e.g. unbalanced rotations or manurial policy due to economic reasons. A "Code of Conduct for organic farm advisors" might be a help to solve such problems. Other areas of conflicts are discussed, f.e. the double functions advisor/inspector. Different approaches in extension work are necessary depending on the situation, the aim and the kind of problem. For example the support of a small regional advisory group might useful for farmers starting conversion. Marketing activities of farm advisors should rather be limited. It is important that a periodical evaluation of the advisory work is done. The way it is done can be different. Concerning the financial support of organic farm advisory services, different systems do exist (from totally private, semi-private to totally paid by the state). The advantages and disadvantages of such systems are discussed. One has to be aware that the role of the farm advisor does and must change during the development of an organic movement. It is essential that the advisory service and the advisor himself is able to adapt his approach to the changing conditions. however still having in mind the holistic view and the importance of a system approach of Organic Farming.

Bolliger, E.; Reinhard, P. Zellweger, T. (1992): Agricultural Extension - Guidelines for extension workers in rural areas. Agricultural Advisory Centre, CH- 8315 Lindau (LBL) and Swiss Centre for Development Co-operation in Technology an Management (SKAT), CH- 9000 St. Gallen, Switzerland.

Schmid, O.; Strasser, A.; Gilomen R.; Meili, E. (1994): Biologischer Landbau - Lehr- und Fachbuch für die landwirtschaftlichen Schulen und die Praxis. Landwirtschaftliche Lehrmittelzentrale, Zollikofen (translated in French and Italien), Switzerland