International Symposium on
Drylands Ecology and Human Security
Analyzing Iranian National AKIS Strategies to Investigate how they
Naser Zamani1, Iraj Malek Mohammadi, Mahmood Hoseini
College of Agricultural Economics and Development, Agricultural Extension Department, University of Tehran, Iran
Desertification and land degradation is a major problem which is now estimated to affect 15-20 % of the world’s poorest people. Desertification is caused by complex interactions involving physical, biological, political, social, cultural and economic factors, the approach to combating desertification must be a broad-based one, and desertification degradation is thus as much a development problem as it is an environmental one and interventions to combating the process must take account of these relationships. Iran has been known mostly as a semi-arid region with a large acreage of deserts, and agricultural activities have been of the main ways to combat desertification in this country. This qualitative study which was carried out through content analysis aims to investigate the way Agricultural Knowledge and Information Systems (AKIS) strategies contribute to combat desertification in Iran. Contents analyzed were national 5-year development plans of 1990 to 2010, and content analysis methods of classifying and analyzing data were employed to do and achieve the aim of study. According to the results, the main strategies considered in AKIS which could help combating desertification were technology improvement in rural areas, increase the access of desert farmers to information sources and communication channels, increase desert farms yields and as a result the income of rural people and improving their livelihood standards to make them not leave villages and as a whole empowering farmers in a way to combating deserts. National AKIS strategies have been changed from the first 5-year plan to fourth one from one-way strategies decided and perceived to be done by government and with a focus on technology and knowledge transfer to desert farmers, to more holistic strategies which are more knowledge based and locally adapted which has been developed participatory and considered local desert farmers needs and views who are at the heart of every desert-combating activity. Since peoples' participation and private sectors has a great role and importance in anti-desertification activities, recent 5-year plans are more capable of contributing combat deserts in Iran.