Journal Article

Cofinanced Public Extension in Nicaragua

Gabriel Keynan, Manuel Olin and Ariel Dinar

in The World Bank Research Observer

Published on behalf of World Bank

Volume 12, issue 2, pages 225-247
Published in print August 1997 | ISSN: 0257-3032
Published online August 1997 | e-ISSN: 1564-6971 | DOI:
Cofinanced Public Extension in Nicaragua

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How effective is agricultural extension? Is it worth the vast sums governments spend to provide it, mostly as a free service, to farmers worldwide? Relatively few studies exist that measure and compare the benefits of extension activities against their costs. In the absence of such data, this pilot activity concentrated instead on demand. Would demand for extension services be high if they were no longer free? The existence of solid demand would presuppose some benefits from the service. Further, might charging for the service actually improve its quality and sustainability?

The pilot program in Nicaragua described here set out to test whether a truly demand—driven extension system aimed at farmers with small-and medium-size holdings could be developed. The principal mechanism was a contribution by the farmer paid as a bonus to the extensionist: the aim was to introduce incentives for providers to improve the service through rewards linked to the quality of their work and to establish direct accountability of extensionist to client. The outcomes showed that the cofinancing concept can be successful. The article describes the design, implementation, and results in the expectation that the lessons learned may be of interest elsewhere.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Development Planning and Policy

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