Effects of inclusive public agricultural extension service

Results from a policy reform experiment in Western China

Ruifa Hu, Yaqing Cai, Kevin Z. Chen, Yongwei Cui, Jikun Huang
ifpri discussion paper

The top-down public agricultural extension system in China and its early commercialization reforms during the 1990s have left millions of farmers without access to extension services. A pilot inclusive agricultural extension system was introduced in 2005 to better meet the diverse needs of small-scale farmers. Three key features of the experiment are (1) inclusion of all farmers as target beneficiaries, (2) effective identification of farmers� extension service needs, and (3) an accountability system to provide better agricultural extension services to farmers. This paper describes design of the reform initiative and examines its effect on farmers� access to extension services. Based on farmer-supplied data from six counties for the years 2005 to 2007, this paper shows that inclusive reform initiatives significantly improve farmers� access to and acceptance of agricultural extension services as well as their adoption of new technologies. Implications for further reforms to the agricultural extension system are also discussed.