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Module 3 - Uganda: Extension Decentralization, Privatization, and Reform

What’s innovative? A decentralized, private extension system that allows farmer groups to contract their own extension service providers and researchers in technology development and marketing.

In Uganda, current real incomes of rural people and real agricultural GDP remain below levels of the 1970s, yet recent agricultural growth (more than four percent annually over the past 10 years) provides momentum for rural development. This growth has been accompanied by a profound reorientation of the public sector role in the agricultural economy and public institutional reforms. However, agricultural productivity is still low.

Low productivity is in part a consequence of inadequate communication among researchers, extension, and farmers. Farmers’ needs, both agricultural and socioeconomic, such as the impact of HIV/AIDS on farming households, are not sufficiently reflected in research and extension efforts. Research and extension are overly dependent on donor funding and require a more stable institutional base of both financial and political support.

Project Objectives and Description

The National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) project, part of the Plan for Modernization of Agriculture, is based on strong government commitment to decentralization and private sector development. Its objective is to improve farmers’ productivity and livelihoods by establishing a relevant and responsive contract-based agricultural advisory service. This effort involves transforming the existing public national extension service to a decentralized, largely farmer-owned, private advisory services system. Components of the project are:

  • Advisory and information services to farmers. NAADS provides funding and training for initiatives from farmer groups, working in conjunction with local government, to contract for private agricultural advisory services.

  • Technology development and linkages with markets. NAADS provides funds to farmers to contract researchers to work with them in their fields on technology and market development and adaptation.

  • Ensuring quality of services. NAADS funds the development of a regulatory framework and service standards for service providers.

  • Promotion of private sector institutional development. NAADS provides limited funding on a competitive basis for retraining and technical upgrading for service providers. In addition, the project provides a comprehensive package of benefits, including training, which will enable public sector extension providers to transition to employment in the private sector.

  • Program management, monitoring, and evaluation. NAADS establishes and supports national and district-level entities to coordinate, monitor, evaluate, and administer the project.

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