Posted March 1996
Case studies on the organization and management
by Luciano Montesi,
of agricultural services to small farmers in Albania:
General conceptual framework
Senior Officer, Rural Development Organizations
Rural Institutions and Participation Service (SDAR)
FAO Rural Development Division
FAO's Rural Development Analysis and Organization Service (SDAR) and the World Health Organization/European Centre for Environment and Health (WHO/ECEH) have decided to conduct case studies in Albania in the area of improving and strengthening rural services for small farmers and other rural operators and their organizations. The research aims at analysing the present situation, identifying priorities, and formulating conclusions and relevant recommendations that will be presented and discussed in a national workshop in 1996.
Outline of the study
The objective of the case studies is to assist the Albanian Government to provide better services to small farmers and other rural operators, who are both the poorest and the largest population components. The study, therefore, sets out to gather empirical evidence of Albania's experience in organizing and managing its agricultural services, particularly to small farmers, taking into consideration the differing conditions in the country's agricultural areas.
An analysis of the outcome of the study and the consequent national workshop will lead to the formulation of policy issues and follow-up activities and programmes which may assist the government in implementing rural development organization in selected areas and in improving the organization and management of its delivery system of agricultural services, with the contribution of interested members of the donors community, partners of the Albanian Government.
Field of research
The main questions which the study will address are:
The following aspects will receive particular attention during the study:
- How are agricultural and supply services organized and how do they function in the field?
- What are their defects and failures, and how can they be remedied? Which are their resources (human, financial, material) and how can they be improved?
- Are the benefits provided by them accessible to the great mass of small farmers, and do they meet their priority needs?
- How can these systems be brought closer to their beneficiaries and how can the provision of these services be ensured at the right time and place?
- What simple but efficient measures should be adopted to guarantee the proper functioning and coordination between essential services at the different levels for the benefit and development of small farmers?
1. The institutional system at local level closest to the small farmers (both men and women) offering a variety of services and farm input supplies (including those provided by ministries and parastatal organizations, by farmers associations or other non-governmental organizations, and by private enterprises and marketing channels); the place and functioning of these local level systems within the national organizational and institutional framework.
2. Access facilities, which means the ease by which small farmers get access to the services and farm input supplies at the right time, and place and at reasonable prices.
3. Effective coordination between various agricultural services and supplies of farm inputs, implying better management.
4. The characteristics and efficiency of the "receiving system" and the degree of participation of individual small farmers their associations or groups and the means for channelling their demands and for receiving the services.
5. The problems as perceived by the small farmers and as recorded by the governmental "listening systems" and interpreted by government representatives.
6. Analysis of the impact of PESAP on the delivery system of agricultural services.
These aspects, taken together, aim at providing a clear and empirical insight into the way small farmers are assisted, the main problems which exist, as well as the measures needed to improve the system in order to raise productivity, the quality of production and the income levels of the small farmers.
Level of analysis
The analysis will be carried out at local, regional and central levels and will focus on systems of public and private institutions whose principal activity is to provide services and farm inputs to small farmers at the grassroots level. The analytical approach includes the services provided at field level and the administrative units with which they form a local system.
Survey activities will be carried out in three selected areas with agricultural potential for market-oriented production systems (the areas of Durres, Lac, Elbasani, Lushnia, Shkoder, Fieri are tentatively considered). The analysis will then take account of the context and integration of the broader (provincial, regional and national) supporting organizational and institutional framework.
The delivery system
The delivery system consists of a network of services provided by the government or semi-public organizations and agencies, by non-governmental organizations such as farmers' associations, and by private enterprises or market systems at the different levels, particularly close to the small farmers. It covers the supply of services and farm inputs needed to increase the productivity and income of the small farmers, such as:
By identifying critical problem areas and priorities and highlighting eventual institutional innovations which can be adapted to local conditions, the synthesis of the outcome of the study and of the National Workshop could be very helpful to the Albanian Government in reorienting its policies and in preparing programmes aimed at strengthening the administrative capability and promote private sector capabilities in rural areas. It could also help identify ways of assisting small farmers through their own organizations to assume greater responsibility on a sustainable basis in the agricultural development process.
- agricultural services, viz: research and development, dissemination of appropriate technology and market information; farmers training (extension) and technical support, including plant protection and animal health, agricultural credit, marketing (including prices, quality control, financing), transport, storage and conservation, processing;
- farm input supplies, viz: seeds, fertilizers, tools, agricultural equipment, phytosanitary products, irrigation schemes and facilities, etc., or services related to the environment as well as health components needed for the safety and welfare of local communities, such as, for example:
- water quality and supply; food processing, transport, delivery and safety; housing and working environment; disease control; etc.