Women in Tajikistan at the RAS needs assessment.
Photo: S. Kägi

05.01.2016

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Despite a wide range of approaches and actors, advisory services still fail to reach many potential addressees. What needs to be done to ensure that as many farmers as possible benefit from these services? And above all, how can this be accomplished in a poverty-oriented, sustainable way? This article summarises a selection of what has been learnt in seven studies to capitalise experiences of rural advisory systems in Asian countries.

Current rural advisory service (RAS) systems are becoming more and more pluralistic. This is due to an increasing number of private companies involved in agricultural activities and a rising civil society providing RAS. Despite the growing number of actors, the potential for outreach of today’s RAS systems is not yet fully used. Public extension services remain the backbone of RAS systems, while private and civil RAS providers as yet only complement public services. Inter-sectorial collaboration between public, private and civil society stakeholders still rarely takes place. Thus, there is an unused potential for scale in public-private partnerships, as well as in collaboration between civil society and private agencies. This is just one of the insights gained from seven studies on advisory practice in Bangladesh, China, India, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Nepal and Vietnam. The studies derive learning and recommendations on how RAS systems reach out to large numbers of farmers in a poverty-oriented, ecological and sustainable way.

Who pays for RAS – in theory and in reality?

In pluralistic RAS systems, a multitude of service providers interact with agricultural producers, and these service providers are funded from various sources.

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