Private Sector Extension Service Provision: The Case of the National Federation of Coffee Growers in Colombia
The coffee sector plays an important role in Colombian agriculture. It represents about 17% of the agricultural output and is the primary source of income for about 2.2 million rural residents. Recent developments in the domestic and global coffee markets are posing new challenges, which require careful reassessment of the extension services. The coffee market is becoming increasingly differentiated, particularly with the rise of specialty coffees and designation of organic, sustainably produced or fair trade coffees. Advancement in information technologies are offering new possibilities in the provision of extension services. Climate change is affecting growing conditions and, in the future, will determine the geographic locations of coffee production. Furthermore, the continuous reduction in government support to agriculture – including coffee – makes it critical to allocate scarce resources efficiently.
Given these challenges, the Modernizing Extension and Advisory Services project (MEAS) entered into an agreement with the National Federation of Coffee Growers in Colombia (FNC) in the later part of 2012 until the summer of 2013 to conduct an in-depth evaluation of their extension service. In preparation, the MEAS team investigated global best practices and key lessons from international public and private models of coffee extension.