Linking Farmers and
Policymakers: Experiences from
Kabale District, Uganda
One of the envisioned outcomes of more participatory, demand–driven agricultural research and development is direct input from farmers into policy formulation and implementation. This represents a significant challenge from the standpoint of organizing farmers and civil society to lobby for policy change given a long history of top–down policy formulation and implementation. Similarly, policymakers are challenged to enhance their responsiveness to civil society.
The National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) was first implemented in 2002 as part of Uganda’s Plan for the Modernization of Agriculture (PMA). Broadly, it aims to decentralize agricultural services and to foster a farmer–owned and private sector–serviced extension system.
During the pilot phase of NAADS, farmers and stakeholders at the country level selected non–government organizations (NGOs) to help in sensitizing people about NAADS, in group formation and registration, and in agroenterprise selection. Upon completion, the contracted organizations felt that the process had created more questions than answers. Farmers voiced concern over financial management of service contracts and
NAADS envisions a decentralized,
farmer–owned and private sector–
serviced extension system that
contributes to a more market–
oriented, specialized and
privatized agricultural sector.
Principles intended to guide the
implementation of NAADS
include: (a) a pro–poor focus;
(b) more effective service
delivery; (c) market–oriented
production; (d) farmer
empowerment; (e) gender
mainstreaming; and (f)
sustainable natural resource