Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Agricultural Extension and Education, Sari Branch, Islamic Azad University, Sari, Iran

2 PhD Student. Department of Agricultural Extension and Education, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran.


Lack of understanding of the extension, education, and development practitioners’ role and their contribution to sustainable agriculture is the main challenge of sustainability projects in Iran. Accordingly, the aim of this study was to
identify the extension system that has been more successful in sustainable horticulture. The population consisted of 22 pioneer farmers that had used or are using the services and/or consultations of both public and private extension experts in different ways. Based on census data, 20 farmers were studied. A questionnaire was used to collect the data. To determine the face and content validity, a panel of experts and to assess the reliability, inconsistency ratio was used (IR=0.03). Based on the five sustainability criteria, public extension system was identified as the superior system in the improvement of the sustainability of horticulture activities. Analytical hierarchy process based on the pair-wise comparison and the combination of the relative weights of sub-criteria and options showed that the public system is preferred over the private system, especially in ecological, cultural, and social dimensions. Given the relative superiority of the public extension system over the private extension system, it is recommended to use private extension system along with the public system as a supplementary system so as to gradually pave the way for assigning the authorities and activities to the private sector. Then, we can hope for the full privatization of agricultural education and extension system. 

Graphical Abstract

Preferred Extension System for Sustainable Horticulture in Sari, Iran


Main Subjects

Ali, J. (2013). Farmers' perspectives on quality of agricultural information delivery: A comparison between public and private sources. Journal of Agricultural Science and Technology, 15(4), 685-696.
Asadi, A., Kalantari, K., & Choobchian, S. (2013). Structural analysis of factors affecting agricultural sustainability in Qazvin Province, Iran. Journal of Agricultural Science and Technology, 15(1), 11-22.
Bahrami, A., Shabanali Fami, H., Pezeshki Rad, G., & Mahmoodi, M. (2010). A comparative study on the performance of private extension agencies vs. public extension, using selected indicators, Hamadan Province. Iranian Journal of Agricultural Economics and Development Research, 40-2 (4), 161-168. (In Persian with English Abstract)
Davidson, A. P., Ahmad, M., & Ali, T. (2001). Dilemmas of agricultural extension in Pakistan: Food for thought. Overseas Development Institute (ODI). Agricultural research & extension network. Retreived from
Elias, A., Nohmi, M., Yasunobu, K., & Ishida, A. (2016). Farmers’ satisfaction with agricultural extension service and its influencing factors: a case study in North West Ethiopia. Journal of Agricultural Science and Technology, 18(1), 39-53.
Emadzadeh, M., Zahedi Keivan, M., & Aghaei, K. (2009). Determination of cultivation optimum pattern in farms with attention to risk and uncertainly conditions(An approach: interval linear programming). Agricultural Economics and Development, 17 (67), 73-92. (In Persian with English Abstract)
Ertiaei, F. (2006). Factor underpinning rural youths' participation in agriculture development and extension programs in Kermanshah. Unpublished thesis, Department of Agriculture, Tarbiat Moddarres University, Iran.
Ghanbari, Y., & Barghi, H. (2008). Key challenges of sustainable development of agriculture in Iran. Journal of Rahbord, 16, 218-234. (In Persian)
Ghodsipur, H. (2012). Analytic hierarchy process. Tehran: Amir Kabir University of Technology Press. (In Persian)
Jihad-e Agriculture Organization of Sari County (2017). Statistics of chemical pesticides used in gardens. Unpublished report, Sari (In Persian).
Kallas, Z., Baba, Y., & Rabell, C. (2012). How important are cultural environmental objectives for rice farmers in South Senegal. In International Association of Agricultural Economists (IAAE) Triennial Conference, Brazil, 18-24 August 2012.
Khatoonabadi, A. (2005). Survey Research on Some Aspects of Agricultural Extension Privatization in Isfahan Province from the Viewpoint of Extension Officers. Journal of Science and Technology of Agriculture and Natural Resources, 9(1), 41-60.
Khosravi, J., Asoodar, M.A., Alizadeh, M.R., & Peyman, M.H. (2011). Application of multiple criteria decision making system compensatory (TOPSIS) in selecting of rice milling system using. World Applied Sciences Journal, 13(11), 2306-2311.
López, C.P., & Calatrava-Requena, J. (2006). A multifunctional comparison of conventional versus alternative olive systems in Spain by using AHP. In International Association of Agricultural Economists Conference. Gold Coast, Australia, August 12-18, 2006
Malek Saeidi, H., Ajili, A., & Rezaei Moghaddam, K. (2009). Factors affecting knowledge of agricultural experts toward organic farming in Jihad-e-Keshavarzi Organization, Khuzestan Province. Iranian Journal of Agricultural Economics and Development Research, 40 (2), 81-91. (In Persian with English Abstract)
Moharamnejad, N., & Mafi, A. (2010). Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the execution of forest principles in the northern forests of Iran. Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, 11 (4), 149-172. (In Persian with English Abstract)
Moumeni-Helali, H., Ahmadpour, A., & Poursaeed, A. (2013). Improving the ecological sustainability by applying the appropriate cultivars of rice: Using AHP. International Journal of Agricultural Science, Research and Technology in Extension and Education Systems, 3(1), 13-18.
Omani, A., & Chizari, M. (2006). Sustainability analysis of wheat growers' farming system (A case in Khuzestan Province). Iranian Journal of Agriculture Science, 37 (2), 257-266. (In Persian)
Omar, J. A. E., Abu Bakar, A. H., Jais, H. M., & Shalloof, F.M. (2013). Alternative approaches of agricultural extension for dissemination of sustainable agricultural extension in eastern Libya. International Journal of Science and Nature, 4(1), 34-39.
Poursaeed, A. (2010). A study on the partnership systems in sustainable agriculture development in Ilam Province using multivariate decision-making models. Unpublished dissertation, Science and Research Branch of Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran (In Persian).
Poursaeed, A., Mirdamadi, M., Malekmohammadi, I., & Hosseini, J.F. (2010). The partnership models of agricultural sustainable development based on Multiple Criteria Decision Making (MCDM) in Iran. African Journal of Agricultural Research, 5(23), 3185-3190.
Rezaei-Moghaddam, K., & Karami, E. (2008). A multiple criteria evaluation of sustainable agricultural development models using AHP. Environment, Development and Sustainability, 10(4), 407-426.
Rivera, W. M., & Alex, G. (2004). The continuing role of government in pluralistic extension systems. Journal of International Agricultural and Extension Education, 11(3), 41-52.
Saadi, H., Kalantari, K., & Iravani, H. (2008). Determination of preferable extension system for preventing desertification: An application of Analytical and Hierarchical Process (AHP). Iran Agricultural Extension and Education Journal, 4 (1), 1-13. (In Persian with English Abstract)
Saaty, T.L. (2008). Decision making with the analytic hierarchy process. International Journal of Services Sciences, 1(1), 83-9
Sumner, J. (2009). Sustainable horticulture and community development: More than just organic production. Journal of Sustainable Agriculture, 33(4), 461-483.