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A KEY CHALLENGE OF REFORMING
NATIONAL AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION
SYSTEMS IN AFRICA
THE CASE OF UGANDA’S EXTENSION REFORM
PROCESS 1996 – 2011
Patience B. Rwamigisa and Regina Birner
Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries,
P.O. Box 102, Entebbe, Uganda
Paper Outline
 Introduction
 Problem statement
 Methodology
 Results
 Discussion
 Conclusions and Recommendations
Introduction
 One of the key challenges facing the agricultural
sector in Uganda is the lack of an efficient farmerextension-research-linkage
 In response to this challenge, Uganda in 2001
adopted the most far reaching agricultural extension
reform in Africa, spearheaded by NAADS program
 The NAADS Program adopted a decentralized,
farmer owned and private sector serviced contract
extension system; a complete departure from the
centralized public extension system
 This reform model was in line with the neoliberal
policies promoted by the World Bank
Problem Statement
 Studies conducted over NAADS implementation
period showed mixed results regarding the
performance of the program.
 Some studies showed favourable evaluation
(Adipala et al. 2003, Friis-Hansen et al. 2004, Scanagri
UK Ltd 2005, IFPRI 2007, ITAD Ltd 2008 and IFPRI
2011)
 Other studies were critical (Musemakweri 2007,
Parkinson 2009, World Bank 2010 and Feder et al.
2011, Mangheni et al. 2003, Ramirez 2003 and Obaa et
al. 2004)
Problem Statement Cont..
 However,
agricultural production statistics
consistently showed a steady decline in real
growth in agricultural output ( 7.9% in 2000/01 to
0.7% in 2007/08)
 The national service delivery surveys conducted
over the same period also revealed that only
about 10% of the farmers received extension
services
 This study therefore, sought to establish why the
NAADS reform program, which consumed over
40% of the national agricultural budget, appear
not to have yielded satisfactory results
Methodology
 The study focused on the policy process involved
in the planning and implementation of the
agricultural extension reform
 The theoretical framework adopted for this study
was derived from the Advocacy Coalition
Framework (Sabatier and Jekins-Smith 1993). The
framework was enriched by the works of Birner and
Resnick (2010); and also by the discourse analysis
approach developed by Hajer 1995
Methodology Cont..
 The
study was qualitative and applied
interpretive approach.
 Four attributes in the policy process were
selected: approach to extension reform; farmer
empowerment; the role of the state and private
sector; and self perception of the policy actors
 The main input into the study was from 56 semistructured interviews drawn from key policy
making organs of the state, participant
observation and review of documents
Results
 Two discourse coalitions, referred to as interest
coalitions of policy actors, were distinguished with
regard to the extension policy reform process in
Uganda
 The two coalitions differed fundamentally in their
policy beliefs about the way in which extension
should be reformed.
 For the purposes of this study, the first coalition was
referred to as “Interest Coalition A” and the second
“Interest Coalition B”.
Results cont...
Attribute
Approach to
Extension
Reform
Interest Coalition A
Interest Coalition B
Improving agricultural
Extension can only
extension through
be achieved through
reforms within the
a gradual reform
public sector is
within the public
impossible; new
sector; outsourcing
approaches involving
model is not
the private sector and
appropriate in its
civil society are
presentation
needed
situation
Results cont..
Attribute
Interest Coalition A
Farmer
Believed that the farmer had
Empower- not been given opportunity to
ment
participate in decision making
with regard to the kind of
extension services he/she
needed. There was need to
create avenues for the farmers
to be heard in decision making
processes; and to liberate
them from the bureaucratic
top-down decision making
process that characterized the
public sector.
Interest Coalition B
Also subscribed to the
farmer
empowerment
concept, but did not
believe that the way the
NAADS program was being
implemented was in effect
empowering the farmers.
They thought that the
farmers groups that had
been formed perceived
themselves as belonging
to NAADS, but not NAADS
belonging to the farmers.
Results cont..
Attribute
Role of
State and
Private
Sector
Interest Coalition A
The
be
The public sector should
limited to public financing,
continue to play an active
coordination,
role as capacity of private
and
state
Interest Coalition B
should
facilitation
regulation.
Service
sector develops.
delivery should be by the
Private
sector
private sector, which they
participation
viewed as more efficient.
limited
to
should
areas
be
with
demonstrated
competence. Contracting
them not sustainable
Results Cont..
Attribute
Self
Perception
Interest Coalition A
Interest Coalition B
True reformers; defending
True understanding of the
farmers’ interests
system; able to identify
what can work
Other
Perception
Defending
vested
Captured by donor and
interests of bureaucracy
their reform models; not
and politicians
open to locally adapted
solutions
Members
Ministry of Finance,
Ministry of Agriculture,
Donors led by World Bank,
Local Governments,
NAADS leadership
NARO, PMA, Academia
Timing and sequencing of events
Coalition A dominates and is able to exclude Coalition B from the
process of creating NAADS
Agriculture high
Movement Manifesto
highlights
“Transformation of
agriculture “
National
elections
PMA
MAAIF
Steering
starts
work on Committee
chaired by
PMA
MFPED
Feb. Aug.
1996
1997
on the agenda
of both candidates
WB
Extension
projects
ends
(failure)
Work on
design for
NAADS
starts
National
elections Parliament
passed
NAADS Act
Paper by
Kizza Besigye
criticizes lack of
achievement
1998
1999
Cabinet
passed
PMA
Secretariat
established
in MFPED
NAADS
World Bank
Loan
approved
Implementation
starts in
trailblazing
districts
Dec. March May June July
2000 2001
2001
Coalition B is able to increase its influence, but no consensus is achieved;
this situation facilitates increasing direct political influence by the President
Sequence of events from 2004 to 2010
First multi-party elections
Opposition criticizes
government for lack of
achievement,
incl. agriculture
NRM’s platform
“Prosperity for All” (PFA)
Input
subsidy
program
starts
2004
NAADS ends;
bridge
funding;
Design of
ATAAS starts
National
elections
NAADS
Mid-Term
Review
shows
positive
results
2005
Cabinet decides
to strengthen
Model
extension
outside NAADS approach
introduced
(fill vacant
; donors
positions –
stop
3 extension
funding
agents / subPresident county
suspends
NAADS
Feb.
2006
Sept
2007
MAAIF
presents
policy
position
against
conversion
Oct
2007
2007
Prime Minister
directs MPS to
stop
conversion
PMA moved
to MAAIF to
implement
PFA
MFPED
requests that
all sub-county
staff placed
on contract
2008
June
2009
President
stops NAADS
funding;
ATAAS Project
Appraisal
Document
ready
Nov March June
2009 2010 2010
Discussion
 The established view for the failure of the
agricultural extension reforms in Uganda, is that
the NAADS program was politically captured.
 This study shows that the extension reform
process was shaped by the interaction of two
advocacy coalitions with conflicting belief
systems.
 The inability to achieve a consensus between
these coalitions played a key role for the failure
of NAADS, as it was associated with lack of
ownership and lack of participation in NAADS’
design and implementation.
Conclusion
 This study provides an insight into the reasons
why a reform program that received worldwide
attention (Chapman and Tripp 2003), could not
meet expected results
 As a way forward, the findings of this study
suggest a need to build consensus among the
policy actors to ensure ownership of the reform
program, leading to its legitimacy and enhanced
commitment by key institutional actors.
 This need to build consensus, ownership and
legitimacy in the extension reform process, may
be of relevance elsewhere in Africa
Acknowledgement
 The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries of





the Republic of Uganda
The United States Agency for International Development
The International Food Policy Research Institute
Dr. Prossy Isubikalu
Professor Arseni Semana
Associate Professor Margaret N. Mangheni
THANK YOU

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