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Formal farmers'organisations in the agricultural technology system: Current roles and future challenges

Briefing/policy papers

Farmers organisations (FOs) need to be relatively sophisticated and well-funded to become involved in agricultural technology development and transfer. This is because of the complexity of understanding members technological needs and of building productive partnerships with other technology suppliers. Only small-scale initiatives are likely to be possible for organisations which have limited capacity. Such initiatives usually rely on leaders existing knowledge of or access to improved technologies. Organisations with relatively homogenous membership and with close links to the market (which helps both to set quality standards and to generate money for the organisation itself) are generally better able to get involved in technology than their larger, more political counterparts. The attitude of the public and private technology suppliers is also likely to be a critical factor in determining whether farmers organisations will be successful in their technology-related activities, as is the support of donors and/or NGOs on the capacity-building and financial sides.

Diana Carney