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The governance model for agricultural advisory services that is still dominant in West Africa is the one where the service is run by the public sector. But over the past ten years, the emergence of new actors has been affecting governance models, which are becoming more complex with
Agricultural advisory services such as “training and visit” schemes used to operate —except in rare cases— like a stream flowing from the “wise” (researchers and technicians) to peasant farmers in order to fulfil the priorities of the State and its financial partners. Those days seem far away. Austerity and structural-adjustment measures brought an end to most of the State-run schemes that operated those services. A number of development actors then began providing advisory services to farmers: professional agricultural…
The aim of this introductory section is to provide general information on the concept of agricultural advisory services. It contains infographics, definitions and maps. All the data presented allow to introduce the subject and to give some reference points.
Agricultural advisory services are crucial for strengthening the capacities of farmers and improving the performance of their farms and organisations. The diversity of approaches and types of advisory services is a reflection of the many different visions of agriculture held by actors in agricultural value chains and in different geographic areas.
This article analyses agricultural advisory services in Burkina Faso that utilise information and communication technologies. Whether they are a niche innovation or just a fad, how are these technologies helping meet agricultural advisory needs?
One of the lessons learned through AVSF’s farmer field schools in northern Togo is that this type of agricultural advisory service (which requires human resources and time) allows farmers to look for solutions to their problems on their own and acquire new skills.
After a period of withdrawal from agricultural advisory services, West African States appear to be renewing their engagement through agencies and national funds for agricultural development. In Benin the government is reforming the agricultural sector, and the country offers a prime example of these institutional changes regarding agricultural advisory services.
Traditionally, funding agencies have been involved in funding projects and strategies for agricultural advisory services. But over the past few years, their roles and strategies appear to have evolved towards supporting private advisory schemes.
In Madagascar, farmers’ organisations are involved in designing, monitoring and implementing agricultural services policies. This interview explores the new challenges and roles of those organisations, which are both beneficiaries and providers of agricultural advisory services, in a context where the State has withdrawn from its former role.
The diversity of agricultural advisory service providers in West Africa over the past 20 years was the result of several factors and presents an opportunity to improve the offer of advisory services. But challenges are arising, and strategic orientations need to be (re)defined in order to enable agricultural advisory services to help transform agriculture.
Agricultural advisory services have responded to State withdrawal by allowing the private sector to play a greater role. This article explores how that change has affected the market gardening sector in Biskra, Algeria, where suppliers and input retailers are the main advisory operators.
This article discusses an advisory scheme with multiple actors focusing on milk-collection centres in Niger. It highlights the challenges resulting from the growing participation of advisory actors from the local private sector (milk collectors, private veterinarians and livestock assistants, service centres) in the milk value chain.
Since 2010, agricultural advisory networks are being set up at global, continental and sub-regional level. These differences in scale could raise questions about the consistency of the networks’ activities. We questioned representatives of those networks to find out more about the situation.
Pilot farmers, peasant-farmer instructors, animal-health assistants, peasant-farmer relays—for nearly ten years, farmers belonging to FOs have been providing advisory services to their peers. Feedback from experiences in Burkina Faso, Kenya and Madagascar.
The governance model for agricultural advisory services that is still dominant in West Africa is the one where the service is run by the public sector. But over the past ten years, the emergence of new actors has been affecting governance models, which are becoming more complex with multiple actors.
Funding agricultural advisory schemes to ensure their longevity
On the whole, funding for agricultural advisory services is insufficient, non-sustainable and non-virtuous. But in order to ensure the longevity of the service, those three conditions must be met. “Innovative” funding mechanisms have been developed, some of which are demand-driven and depend on contributions from farmers and value chains.
In 2019, France is preparing to enact a statute to separate the sale of phytosanitary products from agricultural advisory services. The measure aims to make advisory services less dependent on sales objectives and raises the question of longevity with respect to cooperative business models. This article takes a closer look at the situation.
With the State’s withdrawal from agricultural advisory services, monitoring and measuring the impact of advisory services for family farms is important. Doing so involves examining the evaluation methods used, their scope and their limits. This article presents an example in Burkina Faso.
Agricultural training —like advisory services— aims to assist farmers and help them become more independent in the management of their farms. It also addresses practical and technical needs. And yet, the few existing training programmes reach few people and are often not well adapted. This article proposes a number of ideas for discussion.
One of the challenges when it comes to agricultural advisory services is ensuring that gender is taken into account. This article looks back at an experience where gender was taken into account when providing advisory services for family farms in Senegal with regard to the joint management of dairy production, and highlights the challenges that were encountered.
Giving purpose to agricultural advisory services in West Africa today requires examining the different types of services offered, the needs they address, and the visions of agriculture they support. Given the future challenges advisory services will face, the actors interviewed in this article are urging for participatory holistic approaches.