Scaling Ag Innovations through Extension & Advisory Services
The holy grail of achieving large-scale adoption of agricultural innovations among resource poor farmers has taken many forms through development history. From farm advisory services, to the promotion of the training and visit system, farming systems research and extension, participatory processes, farmer field schools and value-chain development, successive approaches have all won pockets of success. Yet, all have largely been abandoned (or will be) in the search for more effective, less-costly, broadly replicable means of inducing technological change among the poor. What have these experiences taught us? What is the proper role of agricultural extension and advisory services in facilitating technological change? How can the services and opportunities that extension efforts offer be expanded and sustained?Drs. Paul McNamara and Brent Simpson, Project Director and Deputy Director of MEAS, and Associate Professors at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Michigan State University respectively, will speak on the sustainable financing of extension services for scaling the adoption of agricultural innovations -- approaches and Issues. The presenters will provide an overview of alternative means of offering and financing agricultural extension services and the issues surrounding the various approaches. Drawing insights from comparative country experiences and agricultural history to frame the challenge of sustainable agricultural extension services, the presentation will explore: the uniqueness of agriculture, and small-holder systems that serve to challenge scaling efforts; and the importance of and contribution by sustainably financed extension services to the enabling environment where small-holder farmers can access and adopt new agricultural technologies at relevant scales.
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