FARMD (June 2013) | Small-scale agricultural production has always been a risky business. What do extension and advisory services (EAS) have to do with agricultural risk and risk management options? This article will look at various ways that extension services can help mitigate risks before they occur and contribute to management after a risk has been realized, giving some examples from around the world.

To start, a definition of EAS is needed. We define extension and advisory services as consisting of all the different activities that provide the information and services needed and demanded by farmers and other actors in rural settings to assist them in developing their own technical, organisational, and management skills and practices so as to improve their livelihoods and well-being. The definition recognises the diversity of actors in extension provision (public, private, civil society). It envisions much broadened support to rural communities (beyond technology and information sharing), including advice related to farm, organizational, and business management; and facilitation and brokerage in rural development and value chains.

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