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Are farmers in Ethiopia ready to embrace cost-sharing agricultural extension approach?

Muluken Gezahegn Wordofa (Department of Rural Development and Agricultural Extension, Haramaya University, Dire Dawa, Ethiopia)

International Journal of Social Economics

ISSN: 0306-8293

Article publication date: 4 October 2019

Issue publication date: 4 October 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate perceptions of smallholder farmers toward the cost-sharing agricultural extension service provision.

Design/methodology/approach

The study used data from a cross-sectional survey, key informants interviews and focused group discussions conducted on 384 farm households from six Kebeles of Eastern Ethiopia.

Findings

The authors find that flexibility and credibility, ability of development agents to address neglected aspects in agricultural production, and reaching diversified groups of farmers as the perceived advantages of the cost-sharing approach. Furthermore, improved knowledge and attitude, enhanced research–extension–farmer linkages, and improved food security and poverty reduction are found to be the three most important impact areas associated with the approach. On the contrary, poor economic status of farmers, high cost of administration and absence of a clear guideline/legislation are found to be the most important constraints. The authors find that increasing farmers’ awareness about the cost-sharing approach and preparing a clear definition of the form, modalities and principles of the cost-sharing extension approach can be a part of the practical solutions to overcome the challenges.

Research limitations/implications

The current research is limited to the investigation of farmers’ perceptions toward paid extension services. The willingness to pay for extension services – using discrete choice experiments – is dealt with in another paper.

Originality/value

The first of its kind in the country, the paper tried to assess farmers’ readiness to try a new extension service delivery. The findings have important implications for policy makers and local level implementers of extension programs.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This research was funded by the International Foundation for Science (IFS), Stockholm, Sweden, through research Grant Agreement No. S/5892-1.

Citation

Wordofa, M.G. (2019), "Are farmers in Ethiopia ready to embrace cost-sharing agricultural extension approach?", International Journal of Social Economics, Vol. 46 No. 9, pp. 1119-1136. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSE-04-2019-0278

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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