Research & Extension

New directions for inclusive Pluralistic Service Systems: Expert consultation (11-13 May 2016)

FAO's Research and Extension Unit, together with FAO's Social Policies and Rural Institutions division (ESP) and in collaboration with the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) organized a three day expert consultation at FAO Headquarters in Rome, Italy, from 11th to 13th May 2016.  Experts came together to discuss the issue of “Inclusive Pluralistic Service Systems (PSS)”.

Nowadays pluralism in advisory service systems is progressively characterizing most countries, meaning that, although at different degree, a variety of non-state providers such as FOs, NGOs and private sector co-exist with public actors and provide services to farmers. This raises the concern whether PSS can effectively respond to multiple and divergent needs and demands of heterogeneous farmers, across gender, regions, commodities, age and communities, in contexts where small-scale agricultural systems increasingly need to adapt to changing market requirements.  

How to ensure that small-scale farming households do not “fall through the cracks” amidst a variety of service providers? What coordination mechanisms have ensured inclusiveness of advisory service systems and what are the roles of the different actors in coordination? How can coordination for inclusive service provision be promoted and incentivised? How do aspects of governance, accountability, coordination and financing influence inclusive service delivery to small scale farming households? And how can policies and transformative investments make PSS more inclusive as well as needs- and demand-driven?

These are some of the questions that guided the discussion during the expert consultation.