CRISP is currently involved in developing a Policy Paper “Tailoring Rural Advisory Services for Family Farms for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
The UN General Assembly declared 2014 to be the International Year of Family Farming and invited the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to facilitate implementation of the International Year, in collaboration with its partners. Among its other initiatives for the International Year, FAO has worked with the Global Forum on Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS) in setting the spotlight on rural advisory services for family farms. This has been done by jointly organizing two recent side events on the topic - in Buenos Aires on 26 September 2014 during the 5th GFRAS Annual Meeting and in Rome on 27 October 2014 during the Global Dialogue on Family Farming. To continue and expand the dialogue to a global audience, FAO hosted an e-mail conference on "Tailoring rural advisory services to family farms" from 1 to 18 December 2014 which allowed several participants to share their knowledge, ideas and experiences on this topic. Results of the two side events and the e-mail conference have been used in the preparations of this document that elaborates how RAS cold support family farming and where its capacity to support family farmers could be strengthened.
During 18 August to 30 September 2014, CRISP in association with AESA, the Indian Veterinary Research Institute and the Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS) organised an e-discussion on “Role of Producer Organisations in Strengthening Ex tension and Advisory Services in the Dairy/Livestock Sector in India”. This discussion was followed by several rounds of face-to-face discussions with the officials and member producers of dairy producer cooperatives in four states of India. The findings and recommendations from these consultations are compiled and published in this document.
CRISP led the development of the Global Position Paper “The New Extensionist: Roles, Strategies and Capacities to strengthen Extension and Advisory Services” for the Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS).
Extension and advisory services (EAS) play an important role in agricultural development. However, these services need new capacities to address the current challenges in agriculture and to contribute better to agricultural innovation.The new extensionist is a global view of extension and advisory services that reinvents and clearly articulates the role of EAS in the rapidly changing rural and agricultural context. It argues for an expanded role for EAS within Agricultural Innovation Systems (AIS) and the development of new capacities at different levels to play this role. CRISP is also partnering with the GFRAS Consortium on Extension Education and Training which is currently developing learning materials based on the New Extensionist Document.
While facilitating access to technology is important in putting research into use, it has value only when it is bundled together with other innovation-management tasks such as: developing networks, organising producers, communicating research needs, mediating conflicts, facilitating access to inputs and output services, convening innovation platforms, and advocating for policy change and other negotiated changes in practice and action. This has several implications for developing the capacity of extension and advisory services. First, the focus of capacity-building should shift from strengthening technical expertise to developing innovation management expertise. Second, some of these skills and expertise can only be learned by actually doing them on the ground and therefore the approach to building capacity has to be designed in an action-research mode, involving experimentation, reflection and learning. Third, extension and advisory services need to be staffed with people with expertise in some of these tasks.
CRISP has also been associated with the preparation of the Module on “Investment in Extension and Advisory Services as part of the Agricultural Innovation Systems” for the World Bank Publication “Agricultural Innovation Systems: An Investment Source Book”.
Extension-plus is a framework for investment in strengthening and reforming extension to be a strong partner in the AIS. It is especially relevant in the context of reforming public extension organizations in developing countries, where extension is struggling to find a relevant role to deal with contemporary rural and agricultural development challenges. The key elements of extension-plus are:
1. A broad scope of service provision (beyond technology transfer).
2. The extensive use of partnerships to fulfill an expanded mandate.
3. A learning-based approach.
4. Negotiations with a wide range of stakeholders for developing workable and effective service arrangements.
5. An institutional mechanism to represent clients’ interests at the management level, so the program remains accountable to its clients.
CRISP was involved with the evaluation of ATMA during 2011. CRISP led research in two states, Maharashtra and Himachal Pradesh for the quick evaluation of ATMA.
Agricultural extension in India has undergone several changes since independence. Still, a large number of smallholder farmers and other vulnerable groups remain unreached by the public extension system. A number of organizational performance issues hinder the effectiveness and efficiency of public extension system. These include inadequate staff numbers, low partnerships, and continued top-down linear focus to extension. This paper has presented a critical review of the current state of agricultural extension reforms in India and based on the field case studies in four states —Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu —has identified policy priorities and strategic options for further refining the on-going reform process and effective implementation of the public agricultural extension system.
CRISP partnered with the FAO India office in developing priority areas and strategies for funding the “Agricultural Knowledge Generation and Management” sector in India. This research was done for the preparation of the National Medium Term Priority Framework, a joint planning document of FAO, India and the Government of India in 2008.
How To Develop And Implement Extension Policies? Lessons From Four Australasian Countries
CRISP Contributed a chapter to the GFRAS Policy Compendium (2015) analysing the experience with development and implementation of extension policies
We should view extension policy as something beyond a statement of intent. It must be a means to develop strategies, procedures, and working relationships among a large number of other actors in the wider system where extension is situated. This note reviews the extension policy development process in four countries and examines some of the implementation challenges. It also highlights the need for more clarity on the purpose of policy, the importance of policy learning, and why efforts to achieve policy coherence are important for extension.
This research explored the procurement operations of organized corporate retailers in one of the major vegetable growing clusters in Andhra Pradesh, India and its impact on producers. Several Indian companies entered into organized retailing of fresh fruits and vegetables (FFVs) in the last 3 years. This paper explores the procurement operations of these retailers and its impact on producers of fruits and vegetables at Vontimamidi (a vegetable growing cluster that is a major procurement hub of organized retailers in Hyderabad, India). The study found that those selling their produce through organized retailers are benefiting by way of higher prices than what is offered to them by the local market. The major gain in this arrangement comes from the savings on mandi commission charges and the cost of packing materials. However, the organised retailers, being more conscious of quality, currently procure only the first grade produce in limited quantities to meet their front-end demands. A majority of the producers, therefore, continue to depend on local mandis to sell bulk of their produce. The procurement arrangements (yet to evolve fully) are based on trust, and without any written or binding contract. Some of the organized retailers have set up demonstration farms, nurseries and technical support teams to enhance producer’s capacity for quality production. However, a few farmers have benefited by ways of access to new seeds and right technical advice. While the demand for better quality fruits and vegetables is growing rapidly, both the government and the retailers are not doing enough to support farmers.