Achieving large-scale adoption of agricultural innovations among resource poor farmers has taken many forms through development history. Many successive approaches have all won pockets of success, yet all have largely been abandoned (or soon 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?
Paul McNamara and Brent Simpson, Project Director and Deputy Director of the USAID Modernizing Extension and Advisory Services (MEAS) project, spoke on the sustainable financing of extension services for scaling the adoption of agricultural innovations. The presenters provided 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 explored: the challenges of the uniqueness of agricultural and small-holder systems to scaling efforts; and the contribution of sustainably financed extension services to small-holder farmers access and adoption of new agricultural technologies at relevant scales.