Factors influencing improved agricultural extension through public-private partnership in Kinango District, Kenya
Wairoma, Julius O
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Kenya has a long history of public agricultural extension services. In the past, the government was solely responsible for the provision of extension services through the Ministry of Agriculture. The number of technical staff involved in extension in 2004 was about 8000, distributed countrywide. This is a drop in the ocean considering the fact that a majority of Kenyans are smallholder farmers. Public extension services linked with production objectives and general recommendations can no longer meet farmers' expectations. Therefore, extension practitioners need to meet this challenge by seeking private sector participation in the funding and delivery of extension services. The findings of the study are that extension services provided by the private sector, even when it is funded by government, is a positive feature and government can play a strategic role in identifying gaps in the provision of extension services that can be filled through a brokerage role or by contracting service providers. It then concludes that the sustainability of private sector participants in extension service delivery requires a new orientation among staff This will require some investment in staff training and reorientation. The recommendation of this study is that PPP will improve agricultural extension services and should be employed in boosting agricultural productivity. It also recommends that building of institution capacities should be a priority before the establishment of a PPP. Accountability and good governance among the operating institutions is important to eliminate suspicion and increase trust for smooth interorganizational operations. The PPPs must be pro-active in resource mobilization through fundraising from donors. The study focused mainly on the impact of PPPs on the delivery of agricultural extension services. It would also be interesting to research on two areas firstly, on the impact of commercialization in improvement of agricultural productivity among small-scale farmers and secondly, on the role of women in the enhancement of agricultural productivity in smallholder farming.