Towards an appropriate system of agricultural extension for Samoa Primary tabs
“TOWARDS AN APPROPRIATE SYSTEM OF
AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION FOR SAMOA”
Faletoi Tuilaepa Suavi, PhD
Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries
• Role of gov’t funded extension has been challenged by many people (policymakers) due to
high costs of providing such services.
• Hence, many countries have restructured /privatized their services. This paper addresses
the question of what form of extension is most appropriate for Samoa.
• Many countries have learned lessons from their past experiences with centralized /fully
subsidized ‘Top-Down’ extension approaches that put their gov’ts in a difficult financial
• These systems are expensive to be sustainable, demanding more financial support with
limited farmer participation in decision making processes. Some countries have adopted
‘Bottom-Up’ extension approaches to incorporate socio-economic issues in a decision
making process & reduce gov’t spending/ intervention.
• Over the last two decades, some countries (NZ, Netherlands, Chile, etc) have adopted the
Private Extension Systems due to growth of agric commercialization as part of macro-
economic reform / economic restructuring .
• Gov’t role concentrates upon policymaking, human resource dev, infrastructure dev &
environmental issues, while private firms provide extension services.
• However, there are concerns that privatization of extension service could impose socio-
economic costs upon rural people.
• Over the last 4 decades, Samoan gov’t has spent approx $8 million to strengthen the MAF
extension function by introducing various systems.
• In 1984, T&V system was introduced but was not financially sustainable & meeting farmers’
• In mid 1988, T&V system was temporarily suspended due to financial constraints.
• In 1994, T&V system was re-modified in favor of contact with farmer groups instead of contact
• Meanwhile, T&V system & FSD approach have been incorporated to improve a technology
transfer but the question ‘Is this manevour financially sustainable in the long run?
• Samoan economy has suffered from low world market commodity prices & natural disasters
(TLB, cyclones). Two consecutive cyclones in 1990/91 resulted in low agric exports /foreign
earnings that borrowed from abroad for rehabilitation work that aggravate its external debts.
• Gov’t has reduced its budgetary allocations to MAF extension in compliance with its new output
performance budget system.
• Thus, Gov’t is exploring other options for extension & intends to privatize the ASC prior to
elimination of all subsidies.
Aim and Objectives of the Paper
• To investigate alternative strategies for agric extension via
consultations with policymakers & farmers using Survey and Case
• To investigate Samoan people’s experiences with, and general
perceptions towards MAF’s extension service.
• To assess the impact of MAF’s extension programs on rural people’s
life and identify the factors influencing a technology adoption & their
views on ways of improving the MAF’s extension service.
Study Methods and Data Sources
• Survey Approach for Policymakers
• Case Study Approach using the RRA/PRA techniques
• Literature Review
• Open-ended Interviews for Officials
• Village Case Study:
– Site & Sample Selection (Siufaga village, 5 h/holds)
– Pilot Study (village trip, key informants identified/met)
– PRA Procedure for Village Case Study
• Two phases of data analysis:
phase – transcribe the interview & read the written notes;
phase – intensive data analysis
• “Time Series Analysis” - investigate trends in budgetary
allocations to MAF & Extension Div in last 3 decades.
• “Chronological Structure” - by presenting the case study
evidences in chronological order that indicate past/ present/future trends
in agric extension experienced by farmers/policymakers in Samoa.
• “Comparative Methodology Analysis” - allow policymakers to
compare the MAF’s extension service in Samoa with other countries’
public extension restructuring & privatization.
Perceptions of Policymakers
Inefficiency of Public Extension System:
• Staffs are poorly motivated, work performance is low due to poor mgt));
Alternative System of Agric Extension:
• New gov’t policies support the private sector’s role, NGOs, farmer assoc.);
• Privatization of MAF’s extension service;
• FSD approach can be unsuccessful w/out gov’t support & strong coordination with other
• Recruit female EOs to resolve women complaints of no contacts with male EOs & to improve
business skills of women.
Promotion of Private Extension:
• New gov’t policies create opportunity for private companies (if ASC is privatized) to provide
service & relieve financial pressure but costs may be unaffordable & not benefit all farmers;
• Private extension service is effective/affordable by com farmers but most of local farmers are
semi-subsistence & rely on gov’t assistance.
Privatization of ASC:
• New gov’t policies abolish all state incentives /subsidies that aggravate its budget deficits;
• ASC is a state enterprise / monopoly supplier of inputs/outputs but must be closed to allow a
• Bonus scheme is necessary to boost export crop prodn’t but it’s unnecessary to continue.
Development of Commercial Agriculture:
• New gov’t policies promote agric commercialization to resolve socio-economic issues where
Impact of MAF’s Extension Service on Village Development
• B4 the FSP, 75% of h/hold incomes from agric/fishing, 25% from salaries. Now, village
lands are intensively planted with short-term / perennial crops by > 60 h/holds;
• High demand for p/materials
• Land shortage is overcome by clearing of senile c/nut trees
Crop Diversification/Sustainable Farming Systems:
• Crop diversification system adopted by farmers, e.g. fallow has been decreased (> 6
mnths compared to the present - < 3 mnths)
• 12 cassava varieties are grown by 2 farmers as taro substitute.
Increased Livestock Production:
• No of cattle/domestic animals (pigs, chicken) are increased for consumption /sale.
• Village affected by cyclones with roads, housing, electricity, water supply all damaged.
• 70% of houses are upgraded by farm income which make the village attractive to tourists.
• 1 vehicle in the village but now, 11 second-hand pick-ups owned by farmer group
members, bought from taro income
• Most children attend schools & people see doctors
• Many h/holds afford the luxury goods from shops
Results (continued …..)
Revival of Traditional/Cultural/Religious Values:
• FSD approach has educated villagers to preserve forests/cultural trees.
• Trees have medicinal values to save rural lives & used for land boundaries to avoid land
• Tourism industry is beneficial in terms of landscape/scenery & benefit women via sales of
Higher Household Income:
• B4 the PRA exercise in 1993, major income sources, beside the farm sale, are Wages, Fish
Sales & Remittances,
• But now, 90% of h/hold income is derived from sale to meet social obligations, church,
education. FSD approach increase family income & save money as result of PRA exercise.
Farmers’ Self Reliance & Education:
• Informal training motivate farmers to adopt agric commercialization & crop diversification
Women and Agric Activities:
• B4 the FSP, women tend to concentrate upon h/hold activities (weaving/fishing) as major
• But the adoption of crop diversification technology (gardening) increases their productivity &
participation in farming business.
• Women productive workload increases as they join the farmer groups.
• E.g. women become full time farmers by spending half men’s time on gardening, while men
engage in off-farm jobs.
Past Trends in Samoan Agric Extension
• In 1960s, MAF’s extension service had been decentralized with establishment of district
extension stations that were equipped with improved facilities, suitable transportation systems &
GAE approach was used, technology transfer was achieved via individual visits, group
methods, mass media com, but technology adoption was low due to farmers’ lack of access to
• In 1970s, state-owned enterprises, lending institutions (DBS), input suppliers (ASC), price
supporting schemes (bonus scheme) were developed to channel the state subsidies to
Few private companies were in operation & were mostly short-lived due to unfair market
competition (e.g. ASC has hindered the private sector dev).
• In 1972, rural dev projects were introduced/administered by RD Div in
association with other gov’t agencies, NGOs, etc.
• Projects were fully subsidized with credit schemes, free state services
&subsidized farm inputs.
• These were successful in terms of increased farm prodn’t, higher income &
better social welfare, but limited financial sustainability due to:
– lack of market opportunities,
– limited community consultation,
– lack of accountability/transparency leading to corruption
• In 980s, small extension services were developed within the MAF by various
projects which resulted in additional resources & increased budgetary allocations
to MAF (Figure 1).
• However, linkage among research, extension and farmers was inadequate as
the EOs were poorly trained, inexperienced/overworked & using ineffective
Figure 1. Budgetary Allocations to MAF and Extension Division (1973-97)
• In 1984, T&V system was introduced to improve staff supervision, logistical support & narrow
the extension focus to concentrate upon technology transfer despite the fall in MAF budget.
• National research / district stations were upgraded & new vehicles were bought which led to
higher recurrent costs.
• Technology transfer was channeled thru contact farmers, but it is most applicable to
progressive farmers as technology cannot be shared with subsistence counterparts.
• In mid 1988, T&V system was temporarily suspended due to financial constraints.
Present/Future Trend in Samoan Agric Extension
• In the early 1990s, MAF’s operating expenditures fell significantly due to negative impact of
devastating cyclones & the adoption of new govt policies.
• As part of its macro-economic restructuring/reform, govt launched its SES & its new output
performance budget system to improve efficiency, free market competition, public sector’s
rationalization with clearly defined career paths, strengthen the middle mgt /incentives &
maximize the private sector’s role.
• Budget estimates& performance reports of gov’t ministries have focused on planned outputs
rather than on inputs which led to an efficient allocation/utilization of limited budgetary
Search for Other Systems of Agric Extension:
• Extension systems introduced in the past are inapplicable in Samoan context as most
farmers are semi-subsistence & have little access to better supporting environment.
• Limited integration of social issues in the past extension efforts with emphasis upon
progressive farmers due to low participation of small farmers in decision making process.
• Extension systems initiated by donors have placed the gov’ts of dev countries in a financial
• Thus, Samoan Govt is exploring other options to resolve these issues by prioritizing
‘bottom-up’ extension approaches / expanding the private sector ‘s role to provide service
to farmers while reducing the state spending.
Private Extension Development:
• Arguably, the promotion of private extension service is an option which is consistent with its
new economic platform to have an effective public service while boosting the private sector’s
leading role in sustainable econ growth & establishing a mutual partnership.
• Private sector would sustain the econ growth in terms of employment creation, effective
delivery of service, abolition of state incentives/subsidies & reduction in state spending on
physical resources/operating expenditures.
• Privatization of the MAF’ extension function in NZ creates an opportunity for private
consultancy services to employ the redundant staff s. Hence, they are employed on a
contractual basis which improves efficiency/accountability & reduce state expenditure.
• T&V system in India effectively deliver a technology to increase crop prodn’t by recruiting
highly qualified staffs & by providing credit. However, it aggravated the budget deficits. India
gov’t is exploring the role of private sector in extension to share the costs & responsibility
• Concerns about unaffordable services & urban migration of rural labour force that might lead
to lower agric prodn’t, income, national food security, foreign earnings, social inequity, social
costs as a result of lower technology adoption.
• E.g. Privatization of MAF’s extension service in Netherlands cause social problems
Abolition of Gov’t Incentives/Subsidies:
• Since the 1960s, Samoan gov’t is offering the subsidies/price controls on farm inputs/outputs
which reduce efficiency/productivity to benefit small farmers.
• Farm inputs are subsidized & price supporting schemes are developed to provide a favorable
environment to farmers.
• Privatization of ASC will eliminate subsidies & abolish schemes. However, latter is appropriate
to boost export crop prodn’t in a short period of time but it’s unnecessary to continue.
Promotion of Agric Commercialization:
• Samoan gov’t has moved towards privatization to implement its macro-economic
reform/restructuring policies which reduce its budget deficits.
• New gov’t policies promote agric com & crop diversification technology to resolve socio-
economic issues faced in agric sector thru farmer training & promotion of the private sector’s
role, farm assoc /cooperatives.
• Adoption of market liberalization policies strengthen a mutual partnership between gov’t &
private sector -- lead to a complementary extension service.
• Restructuring/privatization of MAF’s extension service in Netherlands as part of
macroeconomic restructuring/reform was to have costs/responsib shared by private sector &
• Findings support the “Community Dev (CD) Approach” initiated by AusAID FSP.
• Extension system is not sustainable w/out complimentary supporting services, farmer
participation & good national extension policy.
• Ineffective extension systems adopted in the past are characterized as being over-
ambitious schemes, high recurrent expenditures & limited com dev.
• “Participatory Farmer Approaches” is the major extension systems that serve the
needs/priorities of diverse clients.
• However, social collective system, land tenure system, limited market
dev/opportunities, limited access to centralized supporting services & unreliable
extension service, demand “Integrated Approach” to attain community dev.
• “CD approach” is a mechanism to achieve com dev thru multidisciplinary,
comprehensive holistic approach;
• It’s success will result in less gov’t intervention & expenditure.
• Promoting the private sector’s role, NGOs, farmer ass/cooperatives is recommended.
Community Participation Strategies:
• Full participation of key players create more employment & establish socio-economic
activities --- lead to self-sufficiency, self-reliance, self-empowerment.
• Multidisciplinary team for PRA exercise must share responsibility of MAF staffs.
• PRA team must avoid the high expectations amongst villagers - avoid ‘Faasamoa’
but only a kava ceremony).
Community Agric Training Strategies:
• TNA of both EOs & target groups should be undertaken to identify what kind of
training is needed & who needs training.
• Group method is much cheaper.
• Mass media com (TV, radio, press) should be promoted to disseminate info.
• Public /mobile phones should be used to contact the EOs, leads to ‘demand-driven’
Enhancing Women Participation Strategies:
• More female EOs should be recruited /trained work with women group motivators.
• Group motivators should be nominated by group to act as village contacts for EOs.
• Gender training should be developed/implemented for male EOs to work effectively
with women groups.
Marketing / Market Dev Strategies:
• If com agric is to be successful in Samoa, private sector should play a key role in
identifying/meeting the needs of domestic/international markets.
• Strong linkage between gov’t & local entrepreneurs should be developed thru better
comm / coordination to ensure that on-farm prodn’t decisions are market-led.
• ASC should not compete with private sector in prodnt & marketing of agric products
-- ASC should be privatized.
• Gov’t agencies should identify the market constraints & potential markets; provide the
weekly market prices of produce to farmers & establish the quality mgt systems.
Rural Infrastructure /Institutional Dev Strategies:
• Adoption of agric com by farmers has been declining due inaccessibility to centralized
supporting services .
• Thus, services must be decentralized thru the dev of regional com centers.
• Access to productive farm lands is limited due to impassable roads:
– Road maintenance must be tendered rather than inequitable distribution of money among
– Tar-sealed roads, electricity & extension of water supply to farm lands would lead to new
village dev, increased agric prodnt & better transport system for inputs/outputs.
Some Possible Alternative Extension Systems:
• Public Cost Recovery System as practiced in Chile & Norway should be initiated thru CBOs &
progressive farmers, leading to 50:50 cost sharing arrangement.
• Sharecropping (or joint venture) as experienced by farmers in Educator is another option
where the prodn’t / transport costs can be shared.
• MAF’s extension service should be sub-contracted to private sector as practiced in Zimbabwe
& Chile to provide service with small degree of cost-sharing between gov’t & farmers.