Key Principles in the Success of the Kosovo Advisory Services for Agriculture and Rural Development (KASARD)
This post was written by John McCormack, Senior Advisor Agribusiness, Food Security, and Livelihoods at World Vision.
The development and operation of a public advisory and extension service system is a challenge for many governments, not least for a newly independent state such as Kosovo. In this regard, the development of Kosovo Advisory Services for Agriculture and Rural Development (KASARD) provides an example of extension and advisory service development, implementation and alignment with EU Farm Advisory Service (FAS) modalities and leveraging of private sector service delivery all in the context of a pluralistic service model.
EU support to the development of KASARD, through the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, has enabled capacity development and the implementation of a pluralistic model in Kosovo. The overall objective of KASARD is to further add value and utilization of the advisory services and contribute to improvements in the wider economy by improved access to and uptake of services. The following narrative outlines the principles engaged in identification of extension messaging and its delivery through municipal information centers (MIC).
The delivery of extension messages and advisory services to farmers in Kosovo is through both public and private sector providers. KASARD is supporting the development of the delivery of extension to farmers though the MIC public sector system around which a specific extension messaging is developed according to the agriculture calendar season.
It is then implemented through five pilot municipalities of a system that relies heavily on correct identification of specific issue. It then relies on the development of an action plan by the adviser for the agricultural calendar year to deliver that extension message. This action plan allows for the allocation of resources, planning and use of various tools to ensure extension messaging is well delivered.
Critical stakeholders engaged in achieving these results are illustrated in Figure 1 around the service delivery hub of the MIC.
The process of support to the establishment and development of capacity of the MIC to deliver services to farmers is outlined in the schematic below outlining the plan of activities in a given municipality to deliver extension message packages based on the agriculture calendar season to targeted beneficiaries. Figure 2, below.
Some of the key principles involved in the identification of appropriate extension messaging involved a series of sequential steps, listed below:
- Identify the subsector in which interventions will take place
- Discuss key subsectors in which to intervene with lead farmers
- Identify lead and follower farmers for that sector, who will serve in support of extension delivery dn dissemination
- Agree on the first subsector and draft outline of activities
- Identify key issues and prioritize issues to be addressed with lead farmers
- Carry out farm visits and analysis for each lead farmer
- Draw up activity plan of the implementation of the proposed solution for the agriculture calendar year
- Implement the activity plan and incorporate other stakeholders and use of demonstrations and open days as tools for the message dissemination
- As part of message implementation process, organize and carry out on farm demonstrations with lead and follower farmers and training, both formal and informal
Key results of the KASARD support are:
- KASARD is established, functional and providing public advisory services to farmers that are aligned with EU requirements
- The management capacities of MAFRD’s Agriculture and Technical Services Department (ATSD) are developed to allow it to act as a central public advisory body
- The technical capacities of municipal agriculture advisory staff are strengthened so that they can operate Municipal Information Centers (MICs) which will provide advice and training to farmers
- Agriculture and Rural Development Program (ARDP) 2014-20 provides advisory services and training improvements, and the management capacities in MAFRD’s Rural Development Department (RDD) are strengthened
- Farmer awareness is increased concerning the benefits of using advisory services and trainings that are provided by the public and private sectors
- Agricultural education, training and research institutions are coordinated under KASARD to stimulate growth in the rural economy
The views expressed here are those of the author.
 Project supported 2014-2016.
 EU FAS aims at helping farmers to better understand and meet the EU requirements for environment, public and animal health, animal welfare and the good agricultural and environmental practices. EU FAS is another aspect that Kosovo must take into consideration as it moves closer towards alignment and harmonization of legislation towards its aspirations in becoming a member state.
 EU-European Union