This paper summarises a recent AgREN email discussion on privatised extension. The discussion highlighted the fact that private extension delivery is subject to a range of interpretations. A number of experiences in both industrialised and developing countries provide opportunities for examining the advantages and limitations of a privatisation strategy for extension. The examples include instances of purely market-based extension service, extension service linked to the private provision of inputs or purchase of outputs, cost-recovery schemes for public services, and public programmes that provide a partial subsidy for private extension providers. No single model is adequate to describe private extension, and the empirical evidence illustrates a range of experience regarding the adequacy of private providers, the ability of farmers to take advantage of a privatised system, and the capacity of governments to manage the transition.
Robert Chapman and Robert Tripp