Synthesis Documents

Common Framework on Market-Oriented Agricultural Advisory Services, Neuchatel Group 2008

    This Common Framework on Market-Oriented Agricultural Advisory Services has been prepared by an informal working group of the Neuchâtel Initiative (NI). The version on the right hand side is a draft which was endorsed by the affiliates of the Neuchâtel Initiative in November 2007. The final version of the document will be posted here when it becomes available in March 2008.

    The topic of market-oriented advisory service brings together many of the themes of advisory service policy and reform that have confronted the NI over the past decade. Starting with the first Common Framework for Agricultural Extension (1999) the Neuchâtel Initiative has called for greater market orientation. Subsequent common frameworks have dealt with related issues such as how to finance advisory services, how to en-sure that services benefit the poor, how to create a stronger demand orientation and how to monitor and evaluate advisory services. A running theme in all of these publications has been the importance of designing policies, priorities and intervention strategies within an awareness of the market context in which advisory services operate. This latest common framework draws together many of these findings from the past as well as more recent experiences with development efforts aiming at promoting more market orientation and commercial success for poor rural producers, and considers their implications within the perspective of the dramatic changes currently underway in markets for agricultural products and services.

    Methods for info gathering
    The conclusions presented here reflect the findings of over thirty case studies collected during 2006, as well as a literature review and experiences from diverse other sources. Initial findings were used to prepare a working paper that was discussed at the annual meeting of the NI in November 2006. The insights and conclusions were discussed further and validated with experts of the Natural Resource Institute (NRI) and the Regoverning Markets Project at a workshop in September 2007.

    Summary of results
    - MOAAS involves advisory support for producers as well as for other actors in the value chain.
    - MOAAS providers are varied and reflect the range of advisory needs for creating increased competitiveness.
    - MOAAS providers themselves need a steady flow of know-how services, technical and market-related as well as facilitation and communication skills as backup, if they are to provide relevant services in dynamic market environments and maintain the quality of their services.
    - The full range of MOAAS value chain services, including facilitation and brokering, as well as backup services, must ultimately be provided by local actors.
    - Together these factors suggest that a MOAAS should be designed as an integral part of the broader innovation systems that support the competitive strategies of producers and other value chain actors.
    - Policies for MOAAS must transcend a focus on "helping small farmers" to instead recognise the essential role of actors all along the value chains in providing access to markets for poor producers and rural employment including jobs for the landless.
    - MOAAS interventions and public investment should build local capacities for facilitation and brokering of market relations both within value chains and to service them.
    - MOAAS should be an essential part of public policies and investment strategies that ensure that rural markets benefit the poor.
    - MOAAS can only be effective if it is joined-up with broader policies intended to support the rural poor to engage more in market-driven economic development.