Efforts by colleges and universities
The college of agriculture of the National S. Eastern University took up work on
cotton. A number of research stations were established in cotton producing
In 1924 university of Nanking established a division of extension.
Training in agriculture extension was also started in church – related institutions.
Lingnan University of Canton did outstanding research in seed selection,
horticulture, soil analysis, insect control, crop rotation and home economics.
In 1934 Fukien Christian University established a Rural Service Centre in
Foochow Fukein Province.
National Extension Service
In 1924, a national Extension Service was organised.
Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry was the central agency responsible for the
planning and Administration and operating it on national level.
In 1943, the Chinese Agriculture Association drafted a preliminary outline for
post-war agriculture reconstruction in China
• Nine Bureaus were created under the ministry of Agriculture, recommended by
Chinese Agriculture Association. One among them is the Central Extension Office
was to serve as the general headquarters of agriculture extension activities in the country.
It had four divisions:
1. Agricultural coopration: covering agricultural production, processing, marketing,
distribution, and farm insurance.
2. Land use: It dealt with planning and development, farm implements and irrigation.
3. Information division: for disseminating information on improved practices and
ways of living.
4. Coordination and Assistance: It had traveling demonstrations teams, each consists
of SMSs, who kept close contact with different extension offices throughout the
People’s Republic of China:
It was independent in 1949 and began extension work as under:
China’s First Five year Plan(1953-57): It aimed at laying a preliminary foundation for
agriculture as a socialist enterprise.
Half of the 120 million peasant householders were to be incorporated into producer’s
Agriculture Production 23%
Grain production 18 %
Sheep and goats 83%
Second five year Plan (1958-62): Development of the national
•The government announced the bill of Agricultural Extension in 1953.
• Afterwards, the Extension stations were set up in villages. Special, leading
various stations were established in each region.
•The regions for the research and the examination of the agricultural
technology were set in 1970's.
• However, farmer's contract system started in 1978.
•After wards, a area special, leading various stations became
united Extension Centers in 1983. And, the national integrated station
The law of Agricultural Extension was tried for ten years from 1984,
and "Law of Agricultural Extension in China" was enacted in 1993
The rural reform started in early 1980s was mainly due to the
implementation of the Rural Household Contract Responsibility System
(RHCRS). This reform not only is essential to agricultural production and
rural development, but also has great impact on agricultural extension.
With RHCRS, the old "People's Commune System" was abolished,
farmers have the right to make independent decisions on using the small
piece of contracted land, so they no longer have to listen to the
directives of the cadres and government.
The clientele of extension becomes millions of rural households instead
of the small number of communes, brigades, and production teams.
That implies previous extension methods are no longer relevant.
Meanwhile, the extension system is seriously affected by financial
shortages and lack of viability and other factors.
To sustain and strengthen the extension system so it can play an
important role in agricultural development, significant reforms have been
The first reform was to establish a new type of extension system
(1) technology experimentation,
(4) training, and
(5) commercial services (mainly supplying inputs).
Over-scattered extension agencies have been merged to build technical
strength by using all available resources.
The priority of reorganization is to set up "County Agricultural
Technology Extension Centers " (CATEC) by merging different stations
of crop cultivation, plant protection and soil/fertilizer, and research
institutes of county agricultural sciences and others.
Another goal was to improve and set up "Township Agricultural
Technology Extension Stations" (TATES) and at the village level create
"Agricultural Technology Demonstration Households" (ATDH).
Some villages, especially in developed areas, have also established
Through 1992, 1,469 CATECs and about 45,000 TATESs have already
been set up. They have played a considerable role in China's agricultural
This new system has four basic features:
1.It's under the leadership of government agricultural departments/
2.The system has two key functions- to provide technology extension
and social services to the farming community.
3.It has CATECs as its focal point and works through supporting
extension and farmer organizations at the townships and village levels.
4.The system is implemented by state extension personnel and by
technicians paid by farmers and collectives (townships and villages).
A second reform to China's extension system was to implement
payment for extension services such as "diagnosis and prescription"
(clinical services) and "technology contracts."
Once a contract is signed between extension agencies and farmers (or
sometimes townships and villages), the extension agencies are responsible
for technical guidance, input supply and the yield (sometimes for marketing),
and pay the loss due to technical failure.
Farmers are to do what is required by extension agents and pay the
service fee to extension agencies according to the contract after harvest.
This extension approach of technology contracts is unique to China, and is
popularly applied nationwide.
This tightly combines responsibility and economic interests for both
extension agencies and farmers. The advantage is that farmers are assured
of applying the techniques, and extension agents gain an incentive to serve
Extension agencies at the grassroot level also organize paid services such
as unified plant protection and tillage through which technology is fully
applied to farmers' land.
Still, to further vitalize extension organizations and overcome severe
funding shortages, extension agencies, especially under county level,
have found a way to "self-finance" or "self- develop" by running
enterprises themselves. Most of these are agriculture-related businesses,
Rather than just relying on government financial allocation, extension
organizations are able to accumulate economic strength to support or
subsidize extension services delivered to farmers as well as to motivate
Practices show that in China, free extension services aren't only too
expensive to be funded by the government and create more bureaucracy
in extension system, but also, even with very strict discipline, such
services can't guarantee success.
The third reform to China's extension system is a shift from
government dominate extension to cooperative extension.
That means, from the point of finance and organization,
government- financed extension agencies are still the basis of the
system. Collectively financed (paid by townships, villages, and
farmers), extension staff and organizations at a grassroot level also
play an important role.
Some related government agencies were established such as the
Dept. of Education, the Commission of Science and Technology, and
the Dept of Commerce, associations, farmers' technology clubs, and
some agriculture-related enterprises, such as pesticide and plastic
film manufacturers, also participate in agricultural extension.
But, of course, "cooperative extension" here is different from that of
the United States.
Mainly because of low profitability, agriculture in many parts of China
has become the sector for the old, weak, sick, and disabled for
"employed farmers from poor regions."
As a result, agriculture is continually diminishing. However,
agriculture in the Yangtse Delta isn't on the diminish, but is on the
synchronous increase with rural enterprises.
The basic reason is that under the guidance of related national policy
in recent years, effective measures have been implemented to solve
the problems that can't be solved by rural households individually
and to keep the farming sector updated by strengthening agricultural
extension and rural social services.
By the end of 1990, 25% of cultivated area in the country was under
Technical contracts are made between farmers and village economic
cooperatives and a wide variety of offices and technical personnel from
different administrative levels such as township and county extension
stations, local agricultural technical schools, and agricultural colleges.
It's common for a county technical group to sign extension contracts
with villages or farm families.
The technical group often is headed by a party (government) leader and
includes members from the extension station, the supply and marketing
cooperative, finance bureau, Agricultural Bank, and the local insurance
In the 1980s, some common techniques extended to farmers through
contracts included assistance for grain crops such as
proper sequencing of fertilizer applications for rice,
ways to cultivate wheat under irrigated conditions,
use of biological techniques to control insects damaging corn crops
use of plastic mulch, and pesticide application.
In the 1990s, extension workers want to promote technology for fruit,
vegetable, and cash crops; for animal husbandry (dairy, poultry, rabbit, and
hog production); and aquatic output. In addition, they want to expand
technical services for rural industry and food and livestock product
The general policy governing compensation is that those receiving
benefits should pay. A part of the increased production or income
stemming from the addition of technology is returned to the technical
contract service group.
In areas of China where rural enterprises are well-developed, cadres
can pay the service fee from the "industry to support agricultural" fund,
which is supported from profits of rural enterprises
In areas where specific extension item contracts are used, then 10%
to 20% of the increase in revenues serves as payment for service fees.
In poor areas, fees can be obtained from county government's finance
Where specific extension item contracts are used for highly
profitable economic crops such as vegetables and melons, they obtain
the fees directly from farmers receiving the help.
If the output and economic returns can't reach the prescribed figures,
the scientists (extension administration) have to make up the losses
The rapid expansion of technical contracts in China reflects
fundamental changes in the rural economic system.
Before reforms were initiated in 1979, agricultural extension
programs were pushed by government administrators.
After reforms began, farm families developed a keen interest in
boosting output and reducing costs.
Before the reforms, individual farmers had little incentive to learn
new production techniques; after reforms, they pursued agricultural
specialists for help.
Agricultural technical contracts likely will accelerate the spread of
technology, boost output, and change supply and demand conditions
in China, which will affect U.S. agricultural trade.
Organisational set up of
Agricultural Extension System in China
There is no one department responsible for the various functions of
agricultural technology extension education and research.
These functions are distributed among the Ministry of Agriculture,
the State Education Commission and the State Science and
Technology Commission each of which is independent of the others.
The agricultural extension system was set up in the early 1950s.
Specialist extension agencies focus on agricultural crops, livestock,
fisheries, agricultural mechanization and agricultural product
marketing and each has its own administrative system.
China’s agricultural extension organizations are divided into
agriculture, livestock, fisheries, mechanization and marketing
At present there are 1,85,000 extension agencies and over 13,00,000
people are employed as extension agents.
There are extension agencies at each level from central government to
Fisheries extension agencies only exist down to the county level, while
agricultural technology extension has reached right down to the village
There are 180,484 villages with agricultural technology service teams
made up of 700,000 technology service personnel.
There are also farmer-initiated organizations that have set up their own
extension system within the association.
Currently there are almost 150,000 specialist technical associations
with over 5 million member households, almost 2%of all rural
households in the country.
The largest extension system is the agricultural crop extension system.
The focus of the agricultural extension network is the county and township
levels. By 1994 there were 1842 extension stations at the county level and thus
covering about 75%of counties. These serve as the backbone of the extension
In September 1995 the National Agricultural Technology Extension Station,
National Pest Control Station, National Seed Station and National Soil Fertility
Station were merged to form the National Agricultural Technology Extension
This Centre is a service agency under the authority of the Ministry of Agriculture
and is responsible for organizing, implementing and managing agricultural
extension work nation wide.
Local government at each level also supervises extension work of these
The function of the extension agencies is:
to extend technology and provide services and
to provide guidance through education and through the extension channels
to implement the government plans and realize economic benefits for the
The grassroots level extension system County/township rural
economy management station
Each Centre is made up of several specialty-focused units :
grain and oil crop technology station
cash crop technology station and
plant protection technology station
the pest monitoring station
soil fertility station including soil testing laboratory
agricultural product processing station
seed breeding station
technical training department
experimentation and demonstration site
technical consultation service department and
The main tasks of the Centres are to undertake experiments,
demonstrations, providing training and services and to set up related
In some provinces below the county level, there are also district
agricultural technology stations which are an outpost of the county
centres and which cover
soil fertility and
Their main tasks are
to demonstrate new technologies
to guide and monitor the township extension agencies and the non-
governmental technology organizations.
The township agricultural technology extension station is governed by
the township government and is a comprehensive service unit.
Since 1987 these centres have been constituted through the merging of
plant protection station,
soil fertility station and
agricultural technology station.
They receive guidance from the district or county centres and their
main task is to work with demonstration households
to perform demonstrations
to guide and to monitor the extension agencies and non-
governmental technology associations within their area
to report production and extension data to superior levels.
The vilage service organizations are mostly constituted on the basis
of the former production brigades and teams.
In wealthier areas most villages have set up all sorts of different
production input service groups
plant protection groups
grain seed groups
agricultural technology groups
agricultural mechanisation groups and
hydro power groups.
At the end of 1990, nationwide there were 419,000 specialized service
Some village committees have created the post of farmer technician
and some have a full time deputy village leader who acts as
Villager groups have technology demonstration households which
are selected from among middle school graduates and middle-aged
villagers with relatively more practical experience.
Under the guidance of the extension workers they are the first to
adopt new technologies and to demonstrate them to the surrounding
The tasks of technology deputy township governors, farmer
technicians, technology service groups and demonstration
• to assist the county, district and township stations
• to lead the farmers improve the management of their fields
• to ensure that suitable technologies are adopted by local
There are currently around 8,00,000 farmer technicians and 7million
demonstration households in China.
Funding of agricultural extension
Agricultural extension funds come from mainly three sources.
income generated by enterprises set up by extension agencies which is
used to supplement funds for extension
According to the 1996 sample survey, county agricultural extension
60%of the funds of come from funds disbursed by the government
20% from Project funds and
20%from these agencies own revenue generating activities
the township government disbursements account for 37%
project funds are only 0.44% and
other income makes up 60% most of which derives from income
Shortage of funds at the county and township levels has become a main
Agricultural technology extension approaches and methods
There are three agricultural technology extension approaches that are
currently widely used.
Individual methods: interviewing farmers, consulting, issuing trust
cards and working with demonstration households.
Group methods: training classes and workshops,
experience exchange on-site meetings, field visits, competitions,
technology contracting, project-based extension pest clinics,
technology markets, demonstration fields, field experiments and
demonstrations of results and methods, township group meetings and
village technology meetings.
Mass extension methods : radio and television broadcasts, movies,
videos, slide shows, magazines, technical information dissemination,
newspapers, books, issuing instruction cards or booklets
advertisements and exhibitions.
The most focused methods on farmers are the on-site demonstrations, field
visits and interviews, village meetings, consultancy services and mass
media, short-term training classes, competitions and awards.
Training classes including long-term training workshops and training
workshops on complex technical operations are the most commonly used
Extension approaches can also be divided into remunerated and non-
remunerated services. Traditional technology extension services were mostly
non- remunerated. The state disbursed funds to set up extension agencies
and their staff provided free services to the farmers.
In the processes of establishing the socialist market economy in some areas
the funds for extension services were severely cut and such services were
pushed into the market.
Remunerated services have become commercialized such as soil sample
analysis for which the farmer pays the technician a fee.
Unless the technology realizes large economic returns then most farmers are
unwilling to pay for services and this limits the effectiveness of extension
through remunerated services.
Project-based extension: bumper harvest programme – greenhouse
vegetable integrated planting technology , integrated rural development
Commercialization of agricultural technology : ex: agricultural
technology agencies raise rice seedlings on a commercial scale
Agricultural Mechanization: Development of Service Center soil fertility
Establishment of technology markets: Product processing technologies
as well as products and skills are exchanged.
Vertical relations are not smooth within the system
Insufficient coordination between extension agencies and the
Lack of supporting regulations for organizational development
Funds for extension equal only 0.18%of the total value of output of the
agricultural sector .
Grass root extension workers are often taken from their posts by
local government to engage in tasks unrelated to extension which
influences their professional work.
Not all agencies within the system have full control over their own
The five main specialized organizations have institutional problems.
Problems in service provision of staff.
Inappropriate knowledge and skills of extension staff. There are
very few extension workers with a broad range of knowledge of
different aspects of extension work and even fewer with experience
of marketing issues.
Information is slow to flow within the agricultural sector and many
staff lack knowledge of new technologies and issues
Technical extension is often influenced by administrative leaders
who pursue economic targets in order to display the performance
of the local government
There is a lack of potential supportive policies for the
commercialization of technology and establishment of marketing
There are no policies that allow such businesses to purchase,
process and sell grain seeds