Innovative EAS for small scale farmers, by Burton E. Swanson
Developing Innovative ExtensionSystems to help Small-scale Men and Women Farmers Burton E. Swanson Professor Emeritus of Rural Development University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Modernizing Extension and Advisory Services Project Coordinator, Worldwide Extension Study
Background Key goals of the international community: Maintain national food security and Increase the incomes of small-scale farm households Agricultural extension can be the key pathway to achieving both goals However, pluralistic extension systems are now common in most countries (and competing for resources) The key question is how to create more innovative extension systems, especially in reaching the rural poor First, lets examine the value-chain projects being financed by the donor community
Value Chains are now the Primary Donor-Financed Advisory Services SUPPORTING MARKET PLAYERS FUNCTIONS Information Private sector Government Input Demand Producers Supply Wholesale Retailers Suppliers Business Non-governmental membership Organizations (NGOs) organisations Standards LawsUSAID: Meeting the Challengesof Value Chain Development: RULESA Learning Event
Key Issues Being Addressed by USAID Funded Value-Chain Projects1. Determine which districts are the poorest and where farm households need the most help.2. Determine which agro-ecological areas within each district can produce specific staple, livestock and/or other high value products (HVPs).3. Determine farmer access to markets where these crops/livestock/HVPs can be produced & sold.4. Determine which firms can provide inputs and then process, package and successfully market these products along the designated value chain.
Unless Specified, These Value ChainProjects Can Have Negative Effects A key problem is that these value chain projects generally focus on only 4 crop/livestock products In most cases, small-scale farmers are not included in these donor-driven value-chain projects, since they cannot handle the necessary “risks” In particular, women farmers are the least likely to be “involved” in these value-chain projects Unless specified in the project, only the more progressive farmers, who can handle risk, are the primary ones most involved and then only if they are in the designated project area.
With this brief overview ofValue Chains, let’s move on toReview the Key Functions ofComprehensive AgriculturalExtension Systems
What are the Key Functions of an Effective, Comprehensive Agricultural Extension SystemMaintaining National Food Security Improving Rural Livelihoods • To achieve national • Increasing farm- food security the household income by primary target group helping small-scale will continue to be men and women small-scale male farmers learn how farmers since they Training to produce and Technology farmers how market high- produce these transfer, esp crops in most to intensify & value food ecially for diversify products countries the staple their farming food crops systems Training rural women how to improve family nutrition Training and use improved family Training planning, hygiene and farmers how farmers how health care practices to use to organize sustainable into producer NRM and self-help • Building social • Achieving Long- practices capital: Helping term food security groups men and women by using sustainable farmers organize into land, soil, water & producer groups to other NRM practices increase market access & other needed servicesPRODUCT INNOVATION PROCESS INNOVATION
Relationship between Agricultural Extension and Innovation Systems Definition of an Innovation: A new way of doing something; most agricultural innovations either reduce costs and/or increase profits Agricultural innovations can be categorized as: Product innovations –primarily from research and with a strong focus on creating traditional value chains for progressive farmers Process innovations—should be a new role for extension in the 21st Century, especially in serving small-scale men and women farmers and other rural households (i.e. the rural poor)
Building Social Capital: a key element todevelop a successful, market-driven extension system To create an effective market-driven extension system, then small-scale men and women farmers must get organized into groups (i.e. build social capital): In India, small-scale male farmers began as farmer interest groups and then transitioned into producer groups based on resources; Rural women began as self-help groups (SHGs), including micro-credit, and then transitioned into producer groups (primarily using community property resources) Under the ATMA approach, most groups were organized by local NGOs; then extension would take over and provide technical assistance on specific HVC/Ps; Subsequently, local farmer group leaders would begin organizing other producer groups in nearby communities; thereby linking them with both extension and markets.
Extension’s Role in Serving the Needs of Small-scale Men and Women Farmers Public extension should focus more attention on: process innovations, where extension personnel serve as “facilitators” or “knowledge brokers.” Process innovations are especially location specific, due to: Access to markets for different high-value products Local agro-ecological conditions, and the Specific interests and resources of small-scale men & women farmers, including the rural poor. Finally, innovative farmers can play a key role in identifying and scaling up process innovations
Key Players in Agricultural Innovation Systems: Most Agencies and Firms Play Different Roles Ag Innovation Systems (AIS) Exporters Agricultural Knowledge and Information Systems Agro- Processors Agricultural Producer Research Organizations System Input Supply Providers Farmers Credit Agricultural Agricultural Agencies Extension Education Services System NGOs
Key Functions of an Innovative, Market-DrivenExtension System in Helping Small-Scale Men ANDWomen Farmers Increase their Household Income 1 Expanding High- Value Markets 6 2 Develop Identify Market PRA Innovative Chains Farmers Research on An On-farm Innovative research re: HV Markets Extension HVC/Ps & Value System recommend- Chains 5 3 ations Train Organize Interested Self-Help Farmers 4 Groups NGOs can help Farmer-to organize SHGs, Farmer especially rural Assess- women ment
Why Should Extension Systems become more Decentralized and Bottom-Up?1. Both markets for high-value crops/products and agro-ecological conditions are location specific: a. First, extension workers should identify which HVC/Ps have the highest potential of success in each area b. One approach is to identify innovative farmers who are already producing and marketing specific products2. In addition, to make extension systems more farmer-driven, they must formally establish Steering and/or Advisory Committees to identify the specific needs and priorities of representative poor farmers, especially rural women!
ATMA Model in India was Designed to Reach the Rural Poor and to Become more Farmer-Driven Agricultural Technology Management Agency (ATMA)District Governing Board (30% women farmers) ATMA Director and Deputy DirectorLevel ATMA Management Committee (AMC) F W U O N R ZRS KVK D DOA DOH DAH K DOF Other Depts. F P L L O A W NBlock Farm Information & Advisory Centres (FIAC)Level Farmer Advisory Block Technology Committee (30% women) Team (BTT)Village Different socio-economic groups of men & women farmers were organized intoLevel Farmer Interest Groups (FIGs) and Self-Help Groups (SHGs)
Basmati Rice-40 FIGs Dairy – 125 FIGs (25) Major Urban CentresExample of how the ATMA approach was Implemented Oilseeds - 10 FIGs Poultry/Fisheries - 35 FIGs Vegetables - 46 FIGs (20) Mushrooms – 152 FIGs (120)In the Patna District in Bihar, -India Pulses 25 FIGs Potato/Onion - 35 FIGs HMACs – 140 FIGs Vermi-compost – 52 FIGs (28 Diara =Ganges river-basin Floriculture 19 FIGs Beekeeping – 13 FIGs Silt builds-up in the diara, which Post-harvest – 26 FIGs (17) is good for post-monsoon = 45 (39) Micro-credit SHGs horticultural crops FIGs = 763 (249) TOTAL Tal = wetlands good for post- monsoon (rabi) pulse crops Number and type of Farmer and Self-Help Groups in different blocks in Patna District, Bihar (Slide developed by K.M. Singh, 2008) (Slide developed by K.M. Singh, 2008) Swanson, Singh & Reddy, 2008
Other Key Extension IssuesCurrently, there are over 1 million public extension workersbut, with the exception of China (600,000+), most are largelyineffective due to the T&V approach (top-down) and total lackof public funding to provide advisory services to farmers.Long-term public financing (and short-term donor financing)of public extension systems is essential.In a decentralized extension system, local extension staff Must be able to work with farmer groups, But to do so, they need adequate program & operating funds, but most donors are unwilling to invest in public extensionTo address this problem, the donor community mustreconsider investing in public extension to ensuresustainability!
Strengthening Advisory Services forNatural Resource Management (NRM) Overuse of water & climate change are serious problems in most developing countries Soil and land-use management practices must help maintain sustainable cropping systems Most farmers should use fewer pesticides (IPM) Farmer field schools (FFS) is an effective method for IPM and NRM practices (but costly and not sustainable over the long-term) A key problem is that most Value-Chain projects do not address these important NRM issues! Donors needs to address these critical issues!
Role of Non-Governmental Organizations Providing Agricultural Advisory Services The role of NGOs in providing extension services has changed substantially over past 20+ years Originally, most NGOs focused on “social skills” Now, with expanded donor resources being invested in value-chains, “entrepreneurial NGOs” are hiring away the best public agricultural extension advisors, and Most new agricultural NGOs are very successful in both competing for and carrying out donor-driven projects, especially those focused on “value chains.” But, are these new NGO advisory service providers sustainable after donor funding ceases? There is a need for Public-Private Partnerships!
Conclusions Public extension should give priority to process innovations, especially focused on the rural poor Public extension must also give high priority to natural resource management (NRM) practices To make these institutional changes, public extension systems must become more decentralized, farmer-led and market-driven. Finally, pluralistic extension systems can become more sustainable if donors start building public-private partnerships
This presentation was given: By Burton E. Swanson on behalf of MEAS at the Global Learning Exchange on Best Fit Approaches in Extension and Advisory Services in Washington, D.C. on June 6, 2012
Disclaimer:This presentation was made possible by the generous support ofthe American people through the United States Agency forInternational Development, USAID. The contents are theresponsibility of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect theviews of USAID or the United States Government.www.meas-extension.org