The Kamayoq in Peru: Combining
Farmer-to-Farmer Extension and
In the past, governments were largely responsible for both research and extension services. During the 1990s, however, structural adjustments and cuts in fiscal deficits led to a dismemberment of classical agricultural research and extension services. These services are now unable to address the needs of farmers living in complex, diverse and risk-prone environments.
In Peru, for example, the government-funded agricultural extension program run by the Instituto de Investigación y Promoción Agropecuaria (INIPA) employed 1400 extension officers in 1986. By the year 1992, there were fewer than 100 officers. Similarly, during the last decade, the Peruvian national research organization, Instituto Naáonal de Investigación Agropecuaria (INIA) also reduced its size and coverage. Several agricultural research stations have been privatized and primarily address the needs of middle and large-scale farmers.
Faced with a decline in government-funded research and extension, there are examples throughout the world where private research and extension provision has grown. The problem to date has been that few resource-poor farmers are able to pay for this private service. As a result it has generally been directed at larger commercial farmers (Chapman and Tripp, 2003). Less known are a number of initiatives that better complement smallholder farmers’ needs and ability to pay. The defining characteristic of these initiatives is the training of farmer-to-farmer extension agents. In the case of the most successful of these initiatives, the extension service is largely unsubsidized.