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Government and Private Sector Investments in EAS

Government and Private Sector Investments in Agricultural Extension and Advisory Services in Kenya: Comparative Analysis of The Ministry of Agriculture, Fresh Produce Association of Kenya (FPEAK) and Kenya National Federation Of Agricultural Producers (KENFAP)

The Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya (FPEAK) formed in 1975 is Kenya’s premier trade Association representing growers, exporters and service providers in the horticulture industry. They support growers and exporters by providing technical and marketing information and training, act as an information centre, and run active lobbying and advocacy programes to enhance the sector’s competiveness. The main activities is the development and implementation of Kenya Good Agricultural Practices (Kenya-Gap) protocol that is bench marked to the GLOBALGAP. In supporting the Small scale farmers, FPEAK is engaged in training programs targeted at small holder farmers compliance to Good Agricultural Practices and standards requirements. Kenya National Federation of Agricultural Producers (KENFAP) established in late 1990’s is an umbrella body of farmer’s organization representing interest of 1.8 million farm families and a legitimate farmers’ voice in Kenya. It is a member of Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), Eastern Africa Farmers Federation (EAFF), International Federation of Agricultural Producers (IFAP), and International Land Coalition (ILC) purposely to amply the farmers’ voice nationally, regionally and internationally. This is envisaged through Strategic partnership affiliation and coalition. Its mission is to empower members to make informed choices for improved and sustainable livelihoods. FPEAK and KENFAP apply various MEAS modules to embrace their projected organizational goals. However there are success stories and restrictions related to the modules implementation and future progress.

A general consensus exists that extension services, if properly designed and implemented, improve agricultural productivity (Romani 2003). The importance of agricultural extension in relation to the fight against poverty has been underscored in the Strategy to Revitalize Agriculture (SRA) (Republic of Kenya 2009). The declining effectiveness of the public extension service has been identified as one among the factors impeding agricultural growth in Kenya. The current number of extension service providers is inadequate to meet the needs of farmers. Consequently, high-potential regions and farmers who produce for the local market have not benefited from this service. In addition, most farmers are not commercial oriented and produce only for subsistence. Lack of operational programmes by other extension providers has hindered harmonization of extension messages.

Improving agricultural productivity, profitability, and sustainability in the developing world depends on the ability of rural people in those countries to adopt change and innovate in their use of technologies, management systems, organizational arrangements, institutions, and environmental resources. Expanding the people’s capacity to innovate depends on their access to knowledge and information services. International development agencies have provided several billions of dollars in programs to support and upgrade extension services in developing countries. Yet development scholars and practitioners have generally concluded that the performance of extension services in developing countries has been disappointing (Rivera and Sulaiman, 2009). The needs of farmers and rural communities have expanded, and consequently, in recent years extension scholars recognized that “traditional” public agricultural extension cannot be expected to meet all the challenges. A key cause of the inadequate performance of public extension is the ineffective incentive structures for public extension agents. Moreover, the lack of information and feedback on different farmer groups’ needs and priorities hinders the design of relevant and effective extension programs (Anderson and Feder, 2007).

Since agricultural extension is confronted with market failures, pure private-sector models where individual farmers contract the services of private-sector extension agencies have remained of limited relevance in Kenya. The entry of private actors in the agricultural extension provision has raised questions about their strengths and weaknesses.


The case study will explore the extension approaches employed by FPEAK and KENFAP and their sustainable agriculture development amongst the smallholders’ fraternity,

Importance to Modernizing Extension and Advisory Services (MEAS)

Agricultural extension is characterized by various market failures that generate an under-supply of extension services (Anim, 2010). Therefore, modified approaches will make extension demand driven and responsive to all segments of the community in meeting farmers’ knowledge demand in an efficient way. The case study will make it possible to avoid the attitudinal problems that are often characteristic of public-sector extension staff.

Moreover, farmers’ organizations can help reduce the transaction costs of providing extension, as in group-based extension approaches, thus relieving some of the problems emanating from the scale and complexity of traditional extension systems.

The private sector extension system lacks bureaucracies and long channels of communication common with the public sector extension systems. Their resources keep their extension personnel motivated and ensure efficient and timely delivery of extension services. The private extension was also found to tap the public sector extension expertise and experience by collaborating with government front extension workers. Unlike the private commercial extension providers, the non commercial providers employ more holistic and participatory approaches in extension delivery. Also, they were found to go beyond production promotion to support farm level processing and market linkage activities. Since they are not motivated by profits, they target all farmers irrespective of their social economic status in the areas where they operate.

Proposers’ involvement

We have been involved over the past fourteen years with the two institutions’ projects and programs planning and implementation, strategically as government consultants working for Horticulture regulatory body (Horticultural Crops Development Authority) and privately working for Paflor International Limited on extension. However, there is a great felt need to explore the lessons learned through MEAS practised by FPEAK and KENFA. 

This is in the following bases;
  • Employed demand-driven, participatory approaches and decentralized administration to improved effectiveness of the FPEAK and KENFAP Involved cost-recovery, fee-for-service, and cost-sharing to improve financial sustainability and ensure responsiveness to clients/ small-holder producers’ needs 
  • Provided market information, organizational development, and family services as well as agricultural production information and technologies to small-holder producers’ 
  • Involved local communities in problem identification and feasible solution search on Small-holder producers’ production and marketing 
  • Farmer groups approach: Delivering information services to large numbers of sparsely spread smallholder farmers and sometimes living in inaccessible areas. 
  • Income sources diversification promotion: encouraging households not only to grow high value crops but also to engage in diversified income generating activities by Small-holder producers’ 
  • Promoted productivity by enhanced technologies by Small-holder producers’ 
  • Promoted farm-level processing (value addition) by FPEAK and KENFAP to Small-holder producers’ 
  • Linked to markets: assist in markets search for the enterprises identified for commercialization through MEAS 
  • Provided effective advice to farmers on problems or opportunities in agricultural production, marketing, conservation, and family livelihood through extension 
  • Facilitated development of local skills and organizations and links with other programs and institutions by FPEAK and KENFAP to Small-holder producers’ 
  • Assess the contribution MEAS employed by KENFAP and FPEAK to capacity development, strengthening the innovation process, building linkages between farmers and other agencies, and helping to strengthen farmers’ bargaining position through appropriate institutional and organizational development (Sulaiman and Hall, 2002). 

Extension approaches adopted by FPEAK and KENFAP

For sustainability the two organizations have adopted the following;

Capacity building: -
This is through trainings conducted at the Practical Training Centre (PTC) situated at Thika County funded by the Dutch government. Training at the farmers groups’ premises/ locality

Demonstrations: -
At the farmers’ groups and also at the two organizations’ premises
Involvement of other stakeholders on demonstrations in trade fairs/ shows

Field excursions:-
Organised visits to other farmers/ exporters/ importers/ Exhibitions/ trade shows etc.

Office consultations:-
Where farmers visits the respective offices for information

Telephony consultations:-
Where the farmers send their requests/ problem and it is answered through the certain program

Computerised consultations:-
Where the farmers are empowered to use the internet systems to access information from the organizations’ sites

Dynamic publications:-
Relevant and updated publications that are coded in the Language that the farmers can decode

Auditing and certification of Good Agricultural Practices, social accountability and environment management:-
The organizations are members of the Kenya National Taskforce on implementation of GLOBAL GAP. Hence they audit the farmers who are to be certified on the KENYAGAP that is bench marked to GLOBLGAP. The GAP contains all the requirements for Good Agricultural Practices for sustainable production, Social accountability based on the Kenyan small-holder producer’s scenarios and Environmental management practices.

Demand driven:-
All the organizations have embraced this technique to address the needs of small-holder producers’ however the impact is not well documented.


  • To identify and as needed facilitate the conditions under which such models can work, considering the market failures characterizing extension. 
  • There is a tendency of companies to concentrate activities in areas of higher potential, or on higher-value crops, and on farmers who have better performance to begin with. Thus, these arrangements may not meet poverty-alleviation objectives, or may not provide equitable access to information. 
  • There is a rather thin market of qualified service providers, and the situation is exacerbated by the vulnerability of the accreditation mechanism to corruption and political manipulation. 


There will be three instruments that will be used in data collection exercises. This includes; Questionnaires, interview guides and checklist and are discussed as follows;

Questionnaires: Semi-structured questionnaires will be used to collect primary data from the farmers and the extension officers. In order to ensure uniformity in response and to encourage participation, the questionnaires will be kept short and structured with mostly multiple-choice selections in a likert scale. Observations & Checklist: This will be done in line with the prepared checklist. The observations will be done along the agriculture value chain benchmarked to an economic scale known as gross margin analysis. Interview guides: Interviews are often used to collect primary data for qualitative research as they capture the respondent’s actions, attitudes, intentions and motivations in a flexible manner. A major advantage of using interviews for research is that the interviews provide both verbal and non-verbal communication to the researcher from the stakeholders. Desk Research: This will be conducted by sourcing information from various literatures that has been done in the field of  extension  addressing particularly the smallholder’.

Lessons illustrated

1. Sustainable extension approaches by both private and government staff: - FPEAK and KENFAP employ different approaches that are employed by  extension  when compared with the government staff. This is as a result of donor funding against specific  extension  approaches. FPEAK has been funded by the Dutch government to implement Practical Training Center (PTC), Ministry of Agriculture has been funded by IFAD to implement Commercial Villages (CV), Horticultural Crops Development Authority has been implementing Produce Marketing Organizations (PMOs) just to mention a few. The case study would be aimed at evaluating various  extension  approaches and determining the degree of sustainability.

2. Projects expansion gaps identification: - The case study would evaluate the gaps that have existed long after the projects were implemented and the possibility of future up-scaling while closing the gaps for the mutual benefit of all parties.

3. Viable allied and direct agriculture business projections: - The MEAS projects are aimed at enhancing the income generation and alleviating poverty of the small scale growers hypothetically. Agriculture production and Marketing or Agribusiness has various players along the value chain that are aimed at providing various goods and services. In this case study, viable agribusiness projections would be evaluated.

4. Create funding avenues/ gaps that attract high turnover: - Avenues created by justification of this study evaluations and recommendations would attract funding on high value products destined for high value market outlets for income generation and poverty alleviation.

5. Create a changed agriculture attitude amongst the value chain players: - The study results targets the value chain players by providing valuable information. This information would empower them to make viable decisions hence change of attitude.

6. Sustainable Good agriculture practices addressing social and environmental issues: - Since the extension staff from public and private sector work around or aim at promoting Good Agricultural Practices in agricultural production, processing, manufacturing, and marketing, the study would evaluate the sustainability of the disseminated information and the approaches used. The evaluation would be on social and environmental issues that are currently important in fair trade where credits are generated from water miles, Social miles, and carbon miles amongst others. The higher the credit factor the higher the sustainability of implemented GAP and the higher the level of social and environmental issues implemented. This sustainability is made possible through MEAS approaches implemented by the value chain players where small scale growers play a major role. FPEAK has been funded to implement Kenya-GAP and utilizes the farmer associations/ groups established by KENFAP. Hence they implement the project in collaboration.