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Rome, Italy, FAO, 1987. , ii, 30 p.Development communication is a social process that involves the sharing of knowledge aimed at reaching a consensus for action that takes into account the interests, needs, and capacities of all concerned. Communication by itself cannot bring about rural development, but the other components of development--infrastructure, supplies, and services--will not be used to full advantage without an exchange of knowledge between people at all levels. Past experience confirms the value of development communication when it is built into development programming from the start and influences project design and implementation. The strategic role of communication in development has been insufficiently recognized by governments, donor agencies, and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) itself. A technological emphasis has predominated, with little attention to the behavioral changes required by the development process. The FAO's Development Support Communication Branch has focused on media-oriented approaches without promoting communication systems that integrate multimedia approaches with interpersonal approaches at all levels. To remedy this situation, it is recommended that the FAO provide orientation to programming staff and missions on the role of communication in development; improve linkages between the Development Support Communication Branch and the technical divisions of the FAO; reorient the Branch's activities to strengthen its training functions; and disseminate research and information to member governments. In addition, governments are urged to recognize more fully that development is based largely on voluntary change by people; that communication can lead to the proper situation analysis, research, and participation testing necessary to ensure that activities are people-oriented and needs-related; and that suitable budgets must be allotted for development communication.