The Ethiopian Agricultural Extension System and Its Role as a Development Actor: Cases from Southwestern Ethiopia

The Ethiopian Agricultural Extension System and Its Role as a Development Actor: Cases from Southwestern Ethiopia

Smallholder agriculture forms the backbone of the Ethiopian economy, supporting about 85% of the country’s population. Since the late 1960s, the state has been actively pursuing agricultural extension as a key means of agricultural and rural development as well as economic transformation. Over the years, the state has introduced several reforms to update and validate its agricultural extension agenda. However, despite reforms, the effectiveness of the extension service in promoting technology transfer and enhancing its adoption has remained low. Top-down planning and poor technology transfer have been identified as the main bottlenecks. In 2010, as part of its recent reform process, the Ministry of Agriculture has adopted the participatory extension system, which is characterized by the formation of farmer groups. Development agents and model farmers are key actors in the implementation of the participatory extension system.

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