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Assessing the Impact of Participatory Extension Programme Membership on Farm Business Performance in Northern Ireland

Adewale H. Adenuga (), Claire Jack (), Austen Ashfield () and Michael Wallace ()
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Adewale H. Adenuga: Economics Research Branch, Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, 18a Newforge Lane, Belfast BT9 5PX, UK
Claire Jack: Economics Research Branch, Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, 18a Newforge Lane, Belfast BT9 5PX, UK
Austen Ashfield: Economics Research Branch, Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, 18a Newforge Lane, Belfast BT9 5PX, UK
Michael Wallace: School of Agriculture and Food Science, University College Dublin, 4 Dublin, Ireland

Agriculture, 2021, vol. 11, issue 10, 1-12

Abstract: This paper evaluates the impact of membership of the Business Development Groups (BDG), a participatory extension programme in Northern Ireland on the economic performance of participating farmers for dairy and sheep enterprise groups. The study employs the conditional difference-in-differences approach which combines a non-parametric matching estimator with a difference-in-differences analytical technique to obtain a credible best-estimates of the causal effect of BDG membership on farmers’ economic performance assuming that BDG participation is as good as random after controlling for observable farm characteristics and that the parallel trends assumption holds between BDG participants and non-participants. The results of the analyses showed that membership in the BDG programme has a statistically significant impact on the economic performance of participating farmers. Specifically, the results showed that farmers who are members of the dairy and sheep BDGs increased their gross margin by £109.10 and £17.10 per head respectively compared to farmers that are non-members of the BDGs. The results of the study provide robust evidence to inform policy development around the area of participatory extension programmes. It also supports the design of efficient agricultural education and extension systems that incorporates the ideas of the farmers themselves through peer-to-peer learning thereby maximising the economic and social benefits accruable from such programmes.

Keywords: impact assessment; participatory extension; conditional difference-in-differences; matching; Business Development Groups; Northern Ireland (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q1 Q10 Q11 Q12 Q13 Q14 Q15 Q16 Q17 Q18 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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