AGRICULTURAL KNOWLEDGE & INFORMATION SYSTEMS (AKIS)GOOD PRACTICE NOTE
Lessons and Good Practice
The World BankRural Development FamilyAgricultural Knowledge & Information Systems (AKIS)
Work in progressfor public discussion
Prepared by the AKIS Thematic Team with inputs fromGary Alex, Chris Gerrard, Derek Byerlee, C. Annor-Frempong, Daniel Moreau, David Nielson, DelyGapasin, Eliseo Ponce (Philippines), Graham Kerr,Jaakko Kangasniemi, Jaakko Kangasniemi, Joko Budianto(Indonesia), Mahamood Kamara, Marie-Hlne Collion,Matthew McMahon, Melissa Williams, SolomonBekure, and Willem Zijp
Agricultural Knowledge & Information Systems is a thematic team focusing on agriculturalextension, education, and research within the Rural Development Department of theEnvironmentally & Socially Sustainable Development Network of the World Bank.
List of Acronyms v
Executive Summary 1
The Case for Decentralization 2Principles in Decentralization Reform 3Coproduction of Goods and Services 4Regional Governments vs. Local Communities 5National Frameworks for Decentralization 5
Issues with Decentralization of Public Sector Extension 6Recognizing Multiple Extension Functions 7Administrative Decentralization 8Decentralized GovernanceIntroducing Accountability 9Fiscal Decentralization of Extension Services 10Transition to Decentralized Systems 11
Good Practice for Decentralization in AKIS Projects 13Centralize or Decentralize Programs As Appropriate To the Service 13Adapt Strategies to Local Institutional Environments 14Strengthen Central Support Services for Extension 14Provide Mechanisms for Policy Formulation in Mixed Systems 14Expect to Continue Public Sector Financing 14Fiscal Transfers for Research and Extension 15Plan for Transition and Local Capacity Development 15Ensure Monitoring and Evaluation of Decentralized Systems 15
Additional Readings and References 16
AKIS is the Agricultural Knowledge and Infor-mation Systems Thematic Team, composed ofWorld Bank staff working in or interested inresearch, extension, and education programs.The overall team objective is to enhance the ef-fectiveness of Bank support to agriculturalknowledge and information system develop-ment, and thus contribute to the Banks objec-tives of alleviating poverty, ensuring foodsecurity, and improving sustainable manage-ment of natural resources. The AKIS team em-phasizes policy, institutional, and managementissues associated with agricultural research,extension, and education, recognizing that otherthematic teams will focus on technical issues.The Team mission is to promote the develop-ment of sustainable and productive agriculturalresearch, extension, and education systems inBank client countries.
In 1999, the AKIS Thematic Team identifieddecentralization as an important issue in agri-cultural research and extension systems, andmade it one of the topics for the 1999 AKIS Re-treat. As input to the retreat, Graham Kerr andMahamood Kamara summarized data on thestatus of decentralization of extension systems,drawing from a Study on Decentralization,Fiscal Systems, and Rural Development. In theretreat, C. Annor-Frempong and SolomonBekure (Ghana), Eliseo Ponce (Philippines), JokoBudianto (Indonesia), and Matthew McMahon(Latin America) shared experience with coun-try decentralization initiatives. A discussionpaper was prepared by Gary Alex drawing onthe 1999 AKIS Retreat, review of other experi-
ence with decentralization, and discussions intwo AKIS team shared learning seminars.This Good Practice Note summarizes the find-ings and implications for decentralization ofagricultural extension services, and is intendedas a contribution to the exchange of ideas andexperience within the AKIS Thematic Team.
AKIS Good Practice Notes are designedto disseminate views, experiences, and ideasthat may assist World Bank Team Leaders, na-tional counterparts from Borrower counties, andother partners to prepare and implementprojects to strengthen agricultural research, ex-tension, and education programs. The GoodPractice Notes contain lessons learned from in-novative experiences in World Bank projectsand elsewhere, and make this informationreadily available for comment and use byproject teams.
This AKIS Good Practice Note was pre-pared by the AKIS Thematic Team with inputsfrom Gary Alex, C. Annor-Frempong, SolomonBekure, Joko Budianto (Indonesia), DerekByerlee, Marie-Hlne Collion, Dely Gapasin,Chris Gerrard, Mahamood Kamara, JaakkoKangasniemi, Graham Kerr, MatthewMcMahon, Daniel Moreau, David Nielson,Eliseo Ponce (Philippines), Melissa Williams,and Willem Zijp.
Marie-Hlne CollionChair, AKIS Thematic Team
AKIS Agricultural Knowledge and Information SystemsIGFT Inter-Governmental Fiscal TransferNGO Non-Governmental OrganizationLGU Local Government UnitMOFA Ministry of Food and AgricultureNAES National Agricultural Extension System
Over the past two decades many coun-tries have undertaken to decentralizegovernment functions and transfer au-thority and responsibilities from central to in-termediate and local governments, and often tocommunities and the private sector. Decentrali-zation is potentially important to agriculturalknowledge and information systems, but decen-tralization is not an end in itself, and successfuldecentralization strategies must address threechallengesestablishing a national frameworkfor decentralization, developing subsector ap-proaches, and enhancing capacities of variousparticipants for coproduction of decentralizedgoods and services.
Agricultural extension services are underincreasing pressure to become more effective,more responsive to clients, and less costly togovernment. Decentralization is an increasinglycommon aspect of extension reforms. Field ex-tension advisory services are well suited to de-centralized approaches, but a comprehensiveextension system requires a range of extensionsupport services and programs, some of which(strategy formulation, training, monitoring andevaluation, specialized technical support) areoften best carried out at the central level.
Decentralization strategies appropriate toAKIS projects frequently include institutionalarrangements that: Decentralize extension services where
possible, with emphasis on giving users con-trol over program planning, implementa-tion, and evaluation.
Provide for adequate centralized supportsystems for decentralized extension ser-
vices, especially support for training, sub-ject matter specialists, and production ofextension materials.
Adapt strategies to local institutional envi-ronments to accommodate country legalframeworks, political traditions, adminis-trative structures, and social and agro-ecological conditions. Extension strategiescan emphasize decentralization when thereis already a strong political decentralizationin the country, but should proceed cau-tiously when decentralization is not yet wellestablished.
Determine on a case-by-case basis whetherdecentralized services should be managedby local governments, community/pro-ducer organizations, or local governmentsin conjunction with producer/communityorganizations.
Provide clear division of responsibilitiesbetween the different levels of governmentand other program participants.
Develop procedures for policy formulationand priority setting in mixed systems to rec-oncile central government financing andpolicy objectives (poverty alleviation, foodsecurity, and environmental conservation)with local peoples priorities that emergefrom the decentralized program gover-nance.
Provide for needed fiscal transfers fromcentral government to decentralized imple-menting agencies to finance decentralized ex-tension services, recognizing that over theshort term decentralization rarely reduces re-quirements for central government financing.
2 Decentralizing Agricultural Extension
Structure fiscal transfers to give users maxi-mum influence over programs and to pro-mote institutional pluralism in serviceprovision. This empowers users and de-velops capacities in a range of public andprivate providers, such that the most com-petent institutions are able to provide theservices.
Provide for extensive planning, promotionof the rationale and principles behind re-forms, and training in new operational pro-cedures before launching decentralizationreforms.
Provide for needed investments in develop-ment of local capacity (local governments,executing agencies, community or producergroups), as such implementation capacity iscritical to success of decentralization reforms.
Establish effective systems to monitor andevaluate decentralized programs, and en-sure that the data are available at all appro-priate levels. Central monitoring should besensitive to equity issues and the possibil-ity of local elites capture of programs, thusexcluding services to the poor, women, orminority groups.
Decentralization (see Box 1) as transfer of au-thority and responsibility for government func-tions from central government to intermediateand local governments, and often to communi-ties and the private sector has become wide-spread over the 1980s and 1990s. Countries withdiverse systems and traditions of governmenthave pursued decentralization initiatives formany reasons, including especially the failureof government to meet expectations under cen-tralized approaches to economic managementand service provision. Decentralization is acomplex phenomenon involving a variety of
The Case for Decentralization
In a decentralized system, the folks atthe bottom are in charge. This is very