Towards Inclusive Pluralistic Service Systems: Insights For Innovative Thinking FAO (2017)
A growing variety of public and private rural advisory services are available today, leading to increasingly pluralistic service systems (PSS) – in which advisory services are provided by different actors and funded from different sources. PSS have emerged in many countries as a response to a decline in public sector extension and the increasing demand for tailored, diverse and market-oriented services. Private companies, non-governmental organizations and producer organizations, today play more active roles alongside traditional public sector providers. The diversity of service providers in PSS has the potential to make services more inclusive, responsive to demand, context-specific and based on multiple knowledge sources. This is particularly relevant, as farmers are highly diverse, differing in resources, gender, market access, crops and livestock systems, and therefore require different types of information and services to achieve sustainable productivity growth and better livelihoods. Based on extensive literature review, the paper provides an overview of the current state of knowledge on “inclusive pluralistic service systems”, examining the need for demand-driven service provision, the diverse providers and approaches to service delivery, and the policy considerations and institutional challenges constraining the operation of inclusive PSS.