Public sector, private sector, non-governmental organisations, producer organisations are all involved in RAS and contribute through various arrangements to the provision and financing of RAS, though to varying degrees according to context.
Public extension services remain very important in many regions and often provide an overall policy and regulatory framework within which RAS function. They directly organise extension activities and are often driven by the national agricultural development goals.
Private sector RAS have the advantage of being fast, flexible, and often high quality. They benefit from the private sector’s financial resources and competitiveness. However, companies’ interests lead to a neglect of public goods and a marginalisation of producers’ interests.
Non-governmental organisations are usually driven by donor priorities and/or local interest, and in general possess a very valuable in-depth knowledge on the community and play a crucial role in building social capital.
Producer organisations are mainly shaped by their member concerns, and, in addition of organising the demand side, are also increasingly involved in the supply of RAS to their members.
Aside from these actors directly involved in RAS, there has been an increasing overlap between activities of RAS, education and training, as well as research, and individual consultants have started playing a significant role in responding to the demand for specific services.
Roles and capacities of these different actors vary significantly across countries, value chains and other contexts and very often the individual actors are working isolation, focusing on their geographical and thematic scope and amongst specific types of clients.
However, for rural advisory services to be effective in facing current challenges need to go beyond providing information and services related to an increase of production and income, but take up a more holistic approach by looking at value-chains, livelihoods, and overall community development. But a single service provider cannot be fully inclusive and holistic, and a range of services and providers that meet a variety of needs are better suited to respond to these needs and challenges. This in turn, requires an increased coordination and collaboration between the different actors in order to use each actor’s comparative advantage to provide inclusive and demand-based services to their clientele.
On day 1, the 2018 GFRAS Annual Meeting provided a unique opportunity to explore, learn, discuss and make recommendations on the thematic focus of the meeting. In plenary sessions, participants discussed and developed a common understanding of the topic, learned from evidence and gained insights from some innovative examples.
Dr. Kristin Davis kicked off the day with a video input on partnerships, accessible here. A transcript of her input is also available.