What is distinctive about the reform of agricultural extension in Germany and what lessons emerge for other countries? This article describes the organisation and financing of agricultural extension in the sixteen German states from two perspectives: that of the provider and that of users. The main extension providers in Germany include government ministries, Chambers of Agriculture or private individuals and organisations. Among the users, two forms of group extension are becoming increasingly popular in Germany – one requires legal registration, the other does not. Various trends in how the organisation of extension is changing in Germany and lessons learnt from the reforms are described. The article shows that the quality of advisory services can be improved through greater participation of farmers in financing and controlling extension and that the state still has an important, though changing, role. Many of the principles emerging from the German case are applicable in transitional and less industrialised countries. However, appropriate strategies need to be locally defined.
Volker Hoffmann, John Lamers and Andrew Kidd