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Management advice for family farms in West Africa : Role of producers' organizations in the delivery of sustainable agricultural extension services

Faure G., Kleene P.. 2002. In : World Bank, USAID, Neuchatel Initiative. Workshop "Extension and rural development: A convergence of views on International approaches?", November 12-15, 2002, Washington (USA). Washington : World Bank. Workshop "Extension and rural development: A convergence of views on International approaches?", 2002-11-12/2002-11-15, Washington (Etats-Unis).

The emergence of Management Advice for Family Farms in West Africa is closely related to the increased integration of farmers into an open market economy. This is creating a strong demand from farmers for advisory support services, focussing on management of the farm. These should go beyond the technical aspects of farming and include the organisational, economic financial and technical implications of farm management. With the gradual withdrawal of Government from extension services delivery, a stimulating context exists for reviewing approaches and systems of support delivery facilities for producers. In response to these developments, several experiments on advisory services for family farms are going on in West Africa. Beyond the variety of objectives and implementation procedures analysed in this paper, common features and a considerable degree of consensus on concepts emerge. Strengthening the producers' capacity for assessment, decision making and management of their farms is a common objective. Differences exist between procedures for delivery of advice, methods and tools used, emphasis put on different aspects of management. All experiments stress the importance of training, enhancing group dynamics and individual learning. They are all farmer and farm family targeted. Expression of farmers' objectives, needs and demands is essential. Advice is based on data gathering and assessment by the farmers themselves. Group dynamics is an important element in formulation of advice. Extension workers become advisors and facilitators. In all cases, Farmers' Organisations are involved in governing delivery services, though at different degrees. In several cases priority is given towards strengthening farmers' capacity in the management of delivery at both local and global levels. Significant improvements in farm performance have been reported. However, to reach sustainability for farmers' driven and governed advice support delivery, innovative agricultural policies and public finance are needed.

Mots-clés : vulgarisation; aide à la décision; exploitation agricole familiale; méthode; organisation paysanne; afrique occidentale; conseil de gestion

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