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How to promote institutional reforms in the agricultural sector? A case study of Uganda's National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS)

Patience B. Rwamigisa, Regina Birner, Margaret N. Mangheni and Arseni Semana

Development Policy Review, 2018, vol. 36, issue 5, 607-627

Abstract: This study provides alternative explanations to the limited success of the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) programme in Uganda, which was considered a role model for a demand‐driven, decentralized and market‐oriented agricultural extension reform in Africa. The analysis shows that the reform process was shaped by the interaction of two coalitions of actors: a donor‐dominated coalition that pushed for radical reform and advocated the total overhaul of the existing structures and the creation of new ones, with the aim of changing the mindset of the extension workers and managers towards the adoption of a more efficient, farmer‐oriented and performance‐based system. The other was a domestic coalition that believed in a “gradual” or “incremental” approach to promote changes and adjustments in the existing system to make it more efficient and accountable. This group was opposed to the complete overhaul of the existing extension system—taking an apparently more conservative stance. The study shows that the exclusion of the gradual reform coalition in the design and early implementation of NAADS increased the vulnerability of the programme to political capture and governance problems.

Date: 2018
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