Quality standards in agricultural advisory services
Improving the quality of public and private sector agricultural advisory services by introducing quality standards for the advice given. In this context it is important to also define good agricultural practice in respect to soil, water, climate and air and biodiversity in collaboration with scientific and research institutes and advisory services.
Safeguarding quality standards for agricultural advisory services improves the efficiency of these services and clarifies the roles of the various public and private sector actors involved, improving knowledge transfer to the agricultural sector, usually in coordination with farmer organisations, etc. Improved public and private sector agricultural advisory services may diffuse innovation along the entire value chain and hence boost production levels, secure food supply and improve farmers’ incomes. They may also contribute to safeguarding the natural resource base.
Public and private sector agricultural advisory services must undergo a constant process of renewal in order to incorporate scientific and research results and to translate them into effective practices. Farmers’ interest groups and cooperatives in particular need to create a climate of openness to advice or set up their own advisory services (e.g. advisory boards).
- A properly functioning country-wide administration and monitoring system with access to the relevant information and sufficient technical and human capacities for its design, implementation and monitoring
- Clear responsibilities in public authorities
- Close cooperation and knowledge sharing with farmers' organisations
- Close cooperation and knowledge sharing with research institutions
- Definitions of good agricultural practice in respect of soil, water, climate and air, as well as biodiversity
- Dialogue with private sector and (civil) society on study content and research priorities to ensure their practical relevance
- Training opportunities for advisors that reflect the definitions of good agricultural practices and agricultural policy
Possible Negative Effects
- Failure of standards to meet the needs of the target group
- Lack of practical relevance and too much emphasis on theory
- Farmers have no access to the farm inputs recommended by the standards (e.g. due to a lack of funding instruments)