In the current dispensation, the role of agricultural extension is more as a process of helping farmers to make their own decision by providing them a range of options in a given innovation from which they can chose, and by helping the farmers to develop insight into the consequences of each option. This rather important role of agricultural extension as expressed above is not properly performed in the rural communities of our developing countries – because of certain problems facing the service. The uniqueness of developing countries also determines the nature of some of these problems. An understanding of the nature of agricultural extension can help appreciate the problems better. Consequently, some basic characteristics of agricultural extension are highlighted below: (a) The control and direction of the activities of agricultural extension systems in developing countries are usually from top to bottom, with the professional extensionists at the operative level carrying out highly regimented activities. (a) The extension systems are typically entrenched as part of parastatal of the ministry of agriculture. They often exist as independent establishments, separate from agricultural research or teaching institutions and have few bureaucratic linkages with other agencies to facilitate the flow of technical information and research findings into the extension systems. (a) Professional development activities, training, motivation and support funds for agricultural extension workers are limited. (a) The systems are subject to intensive political control. (a) Agricultural extension workers in many developing countries are expected to perform a wide range of non-extension duties that include regulatory functions or enforcement of governmental rules and supply services.
3.2 Problems of Institutions and Infrastructural Communities A myriad of problems are known to plague agriculture and rural development in developing countries. These problems vary with countries and communities because of the peculiarities of the various communities. However, a lot of problems are common to the different communities in developing countries because of the similar socioeconomic milieu. Some of the problems but certainly not limited to these, are discussed below: (a) Inadequate and Instability of Funding Rural community infrastructural development requires adequate funding to ensure successful service delivery. Rural development programmes are usually extensive in nature in terms of recurrent budget. Due to poor foreign exchange earnings and low domestic product of developing countries, they are unable to provide adequately the needed funds for development. The problem of inadequate funding many decades ago still persists till today. The trend of funding can even be described as erratic because of the irregular manner of funding in which some years witness good funding through assistance from international organisations and some years are characterised by gross under funding.