Our objective

Farmers in developing countries need rural advisory services (RAS) —activities which empower them with knowledge, strengthen their capacity and promote innovation. This need is particularly acute for agroforestry practices, which are knowledge-intensive and often require specialized skills such as raising seedlings in a nursery and pruning trees. Helping farmers access the information and services they need are therefore key priorities in agroforestry and, more generally, in programs aimed at improving rural livelihoods.

Mr. Jjemba, a volunteer farmer trainer shows farmers how to raise seedlings in a nursery and pruning trees in Wakiso District, Uganda

World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) uses an action research approach to develop and apply frameworks and tools that assess the effectiveness of various RAS approaches. A main objective is to determine which practices work best in different socioeconomic and ecological contexts, for different enterprises and practices, and for different target groups.  Improving women’s access to rural advisory services is a critical element of our goal. Another main objective is to improve the effectiveness of approaches.

Below we present our assessment of four types of RAS: Farmer-to-farmer extension; Rural Resource Centres and rural institutions; Community nurseries and agroforestry farmer field schools; and Civil society campaigns, radio and social network analysis. We provide two examples— from Africa and Southeast Asia—of successful agroforestry extension programs, and conclude with a list of partners and a selection of the projects profiled in this brief.


Steven Franzel, Leader, Research on Rural Advisory Services: s.franzel[at]cgiar.org

The brochure on the link below gives an overview of our research results