Modern extension services in emerging economies are more diverse than ever. An increasing number of services are supported by private sector interests and many are still provided through donor-funded, time-limited projects. Many service providers are increasing their reach to farmers through the use of information and communications technology (ICT) technology, and there is a general shift from free to fee-based services. In many countries, government reforms are leading to decentralized systems that focus on local production and marketing systems, and these trends will have significant implications for future support services. In other countries, modernizing public extension bureaucracies is more challenging, and modernizing the outlook and skills of extension workers could be critical to sustainable agricultural growth.
This talk highlighted and recommended ways modern extension services can take on more business functions along the value chain, how services can be designed in more selective ways to meet the needs of specific farmer segments and their market opportunities, and what this means for extension providers' job descriptions and required skills. The talk drew examples from case studies in Kenya and Ethiopia, which highlight new initiatives and partnerships being tested by governments, non-governmental organizations, and private sector organizations to improve farmer organization, production, and market linkages.
National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International