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Governmental Extension Services, their Generic Problems and Potential Solutions

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  • 1. Governmental Extension Services, Their Generic Problems and Potential Solutions Volker Hoffmann University of Hohenheim, Germany
  • 2. Utility of Extension for Society Extension is assistance to problem solving and informed decision making It aims to improve the welfare of the clients. Why should Governments engage financially to provide such a service? The welfare of the citizens builds up to the welfare of the society. Some reasons to convince policy makers to invest in extension and advice are proposed in the following. Introduction 8 Problems 8 Solutions 5 Tasks for Governments
  • 3. Utility of Extension for Society High rate of return At relatively low costs, extension can help to motivate and enable people to solve their problems. Thereby it mobilizes and sets free otherwise untapped human resources. Prevention Timely support through extension is cheaper than social security support to impoverished people who failed to solve their problems. Efficiency It is in the interest of a society to influence the voluntary behaviour of people through information, advise and education. In most cases that is cheaper and more sustainable than regulations, enforcement and control. Introduction 8 Problems 8 Solutions 5 Tasks for Governments
  • 4. Utility of Extension for Society Liberalism Extension has to support people’s self-development, citizens’ initiatives, decentralisation, participation, to make use of the left over space for free decision making and initiatives. Governmental social security/welfare services Poor people should have a right not only to satisfy their basic material needs, but also to solve their problems through advisory services, even if they can not finance it on their own. Principle that the responsible party is liable for the damages National governments can be expected to alleviate the negative consequences of structural reforms and policies, e.g. too low food prices. Introduction 8 Problems 8 Solutions 5 Tasks for Governments
  • 5. Extension and Rural Development Mosher, A., 1966 Introduction 8 Problems 8 Solutions 5 Tasks for Governments The essentials for rural development promotion The accelerators for rural development promotion Sound rural development policy Basic education “ Democracy” and peace Health services Legal certainty and reliability of institutions Credit availability Basic infrastructure specifically for agricultural development: markets for farm products availability of supplies and equipment new technologies to improve production and livelihoods Extension services Education and training Self-help promotion Community development work specifically for agricultural development: Production incentives (subsidies) Conserving, improving and expanding agricultural land Promoting farmers’ organizations (associations, groups, co-operatives)
  • 6. Generic Problems of Governmental Extension Conflicting interest Role conflict Inappropriate legal setup and structure Wrong incentives, administrative bias Top down quality control Finance by budgets, independent of tasks Inappropriate content Lack of efficiency, unaffordable cost Introduction 8 Problems 8 Solutions 5 Tasks for Governments
  • 7. Generic Problems of Governmental Extension Conflicting interest Governments want to see their policies implemented, and use extension as a means of getting their policies adopted. Farmers want to improve their livelihoods, and often it is better for them, not to take part in governmental programs or not to adopt recommended innovations. Extension used as a policy instrument destroys trust and thereby its working base Introduction Problem 1 8 Solutions 5 Tasks for Governments
  • 8. Generic Problems of Governmental Extension
    • Role conflict
    • In the „classical set-up“ field staff is organised in divisions like plant production, animal production, farm management and marketing, etc. In his field of competence, the field agent fulfils all tasks:
    • Administration
    • Training
    • Extension / advisory work
    • Enumerating statistically required numbers
    Introduction Problem 2 8 Solutions 5 Tasks for Governments
  • 9. Generic Problems of Governmental Extension
    • Role conflict
    • This implies different roles and relationships towards the clients:
    • Government representative
    • Policeman
    • Teacher and trainer
    • Adviser and consultant
    Role conflict handicaps true partnership good advisory work. Advisers and consultants lose their trustworthiness and credibility, if they are burdened with other roles than pure extension work. Introduction Problem 2 8 Solutions 5 Tasks for Governments
  • 10. Generic Problems of Governmental Extension Inappropriate legal set up and structure A bureaucracy is an ideal type ( after Max Weber ) of organisation, but only for the tasks of public administration Acting bureaucratically guarantees an equal treatment of any citizen with regard to the laws within a democratic constitutional state. But : for any service or production activities, bureaucracy is completely inappropriate . Introduction Problem 3 8 Solutions 5 Tasks for Governments
  • 11. Generic Problems of Governmental Extension Inappropriate legal set up and structure Task and special features Appropriate set up Public administration Bureaucratic, public service regulations high correctness, full transparency, equal treatment for equal cases, public justice, low efficiency staff regulations, budget regulations, strict division of responsibility, hierarchy, central management, non-performance oriented payment Service delivery Private legal framework client orientation medium correctness, special tailor-made treatment, no public transparency, no fairness to non-clients, high efficiency free contracts and arrangements, profit centres, flexible client oriented responsibilities, decentralized management, flat hierarchies, performance-oriented payment
  • 12. Generic Problems of Governmental Extension Wrong incentives, administrative bias For a good advisor, there is no upgrading foreseen. But the career ladder is high for administrators. Client orientation creates trouble, loyalty to the employer (the state) pays off. Top down quality control What are the higher levels in the extension hierarchy doing? The official answer is planning, monitoring and evaluating. As field level does not dare realistic reporting, the superiors confirm their plans. The clients have no say, their feedback is not heard, the extension work fails. Introduction Problems 4,5 8 Solutions 5 Tasks for Governments
  • 13. Generic Problems of Governmental Extension Finance by budgets, independent of tasks Strategies for channelling finances: Private Public Independent of the task Dependent from the task Budgets Levies, dues, contributions Programmes, projects, contracts, vouchers , Fixed fees and variable charges, shared added value Introduction Problem 6 8 Solutions 5 Tasks for Governments
  • 14. Generic Problems of Governmental Extension Inappropriate content, supply driven The mass of small farmers must stay in subsistence, for intensification and market production they lack capital and access to affordable credit. Extension field workers preach raise of production, but ignore the economic situation and the risk for livelihoods. Emerging and commercial farmers do not get appropriate entrepreneurial training and special agricultural advice to cope with market requirements. Essentials for viable and competitive agricultural value chains are not assured. Finally both groups do not get what they want! Introduction Problem 7 8 Solutions 5 Tasks for Governments
  • 15. Generic Problems of Governmental Extension Lack of efficiency, unaffordable cost In total, government extension is not demand led, inefficient, and too expensive. The high potential return on investment cannot be realised, as T&V has clearly demonstrated, especially when the contents are not appropriate, no country can afford to maintain such a system for longer time. When it would be profitable, then extension in private interest could be privatised and charged on the clients at full cost. That this is not working in most countries, is the proof for inefficiency. Introduction Problem 8 8 Solutions 5 Tasks for Governments
  • 16. Potential Solutions Conflicting interest Governments use all means of policy implementation, except extension work, to get their policies implemented. Advisers can point to these measures as frame conditions, and help clients to realize their own interest and projects, by respecting laws and taking the frame conditions into consideration. Then, e.g. increase of production is no more an objective per se, but only if the client can make a profit at acceptable risk. Governmental interest and client’s interest are allowed to diverge, and the clients welfare has first priority in advisory work. Introduction 8 Problems Solution 1 5 Tasks for Governments
  • 17. Potential Solutions Role conflict Smallest solution: Geographical division. One person is adviser to farmer/village/district A and fulfils the conflicting tasks to farmer/village/district B. Small solution: Separate line of command and only extension. Radical solution: Private legal framework with public (co-) funding, Best solution: Full privatisation in a (non-profit) farmers´ organisation Introduction 8 Problems Solution 2 5 Tasks for Governments
  • 18. Potential Solutions Inappropriate legal set up and structure Gradual shift from monopolistic governmental extension towards a pluralistic system of providers. Extension in private interest gradually is charged with fees up to full cost recovery. Farmer’s organizations are supported to gradually take over services for agriculture and rural development. Government gradually withdraws from service delivery, and outsources it to private providers, subsidized if in public interest. Government advertises extension programmes in public interest, planned and monitored with client participation, and gives contracts according to best offer to private providers Introduction 8 Problems Solution 3 5 Tasks for Governments
  • 19. Potential Solutions Wrong incentives, administrative bias Top down quality control Finance by budgets, independent of tasks Lack of efficiency, unaffordable cost All these problems are finally solved in a pluralistic system with competition among private providers, mixed finance and public-private partnerships Introduction 8 Problems Solution 4-6, 8 5 Tasks for Governments
  • 20. Potential Solutions Inappropriate content Concentrate on applied and adaptive research Install competitive research funds with advisers’ and farmers’ participation in the selection process Check any recommendation derived from research first for economic viability and social and environmental sustainability Encourage transdisciplinary research like on-farm research and farmer’s experimentation Foster regular exchange between researchers and advisers Encourage agricultural journalism and comm. of practice Introduction 8 Problems Solution 7 5 Tasks for Governments
  • 21. Finally Governments should: Foster agricultural development by sound agricultural policies, and finance extension in public interest Create the essentials of rural development as enabling environment for entrepreneurship and development Provide education and training in entrepreneurship and management at any education level Build up capacities for farmers’ organisations, to whom then gradually all service tasks should be handed over Assist the formation of professional associations of rural advisors in a bottom up manner Introduction 8 Problems 8 Solutions 5 Tasks for Governments
  • 22. If you like, read more… Thank You !