Efforts to transfer agricultural technologies to farmers are more effective when the state (GO), non-governmental (NGO), and private (PO) sectors work in partnership. This conclusion is based on information obtained from 123 farmers and 17 agency personnel during a 21-month field study in east Chitwan, Nepal.
The partner agencies maintained a dialogue while they selected research sites, drew up the research agenda, chose appropriate technologies and decided upon a range of partnership patterns. They assigned responsibility for the tasks required for effective technology transfer to each partner in the various patterns and documented their agreement through a memorandum of understanding (MOU).
Guided by these needs, availability of technology, and the interests of the individual agencies, technologies relating to farmer-preferred rice varieties (developed through a participatory plant breeding process), plus hybrid maize and sunflower were selected for extension. To compare the effectiveness of the various extension patterns, the research was conducted with a quasi-experimental design and information was collected using both qualitative and quantitative methods.
The study revealed differences in the results obtained by the various agencies and patterns of collaboration. The most effective partnerships proved to be GO+PO and GO+NGO.
This study provides lessons on how to promote partnerships and argues that establishing the right partnerships and strengthening them through information obtained from in-depth periodical reviews greatly enhances small farmers’ access to improved and relevant sustainable agricultural technologies. Such access is necessary to increase productivity, ensure food security, and reduce poverty.