Article Index

Best-fit considerations

Although MAFF is better suited for contexts where farmers are already active in markets and benefitting from various economic opportunities, it can be adapted to a large  range of farmers. For example, in Myanmar, fisherfolk and livestock breeders are joining MAFF, along with rice producers and subsistence farmers.

MAFF farmers have some specific personal characteristics. First, those who join MAFF do it on a volunteer basis  (incentives are inefficient), reflecting their desire to change and to improve their farming and management practices. Second, MAFF is mostly based on record- keeping – even if there are interesting experiences with illiterate farmers – so participants are generally literate or involved in functional literacy programmes. MAFF tends to more easily reach proactive and literate farmers, as they are the ones who will more easily adopt a management mind-set and use record-keeping tools. When introducing MAFF in a new area, service providers may rely on these categories of farmers for quick adoption. Then they can adapt the approach to reach other categories (e.g. non-literate or less innovative farmers) with the use of specific management tools and facilitation methods. However, in some cases, service providers started with illiterate farmers.


Many actors are involved in providing MAFF: donors, government agencies (either implementing and/or coordinating advisory services), projects implementing or supporting service providers, NGOs, producer organisations, etc. As a result there are numerous governance mechanisms in order to fund, monitor, and assess the service provision. To a large extent,      such governance mechanisms depend on the nature of the main organisation providing advice, the history of the advisory service, and the funding arrangements.

Producer organisations play a special role in the implementation of MAFF. Advisory services implemented by producer organisations can be expected to be more in line with farmer needs. However, in some countries, producer organisations do not have the human and financial capacities to provide such services. 

Various mechanisms are used for coordination between the various actors (contracts, steering committees) and usually one actor plays the role of broker to facilitate the interactions.

Finally MAFF is generally linked to other advisory services such as specialised advice and it is therefore part of the wider advisory system where coordination is needed but often is still lacking.