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18 CHAPTER 3


The farmer group survey collected data related mainly to the conditioning factors at the local and community level (LC), including access to financial services, roads, and markets; agricultural advisory service providers (S); char- acteristics of the NAADS program (particularly farmer institutional capacity development, type of advisory services received, mechanisms of provision, and beneficiaries) based on the perceptions of farmer groups; and empower- ment of farmers to organize to demand and manage advisory services (EMP), also based on the perceptions of farmer groups. These data, in addition to the secondary data discussed next, were collected primarily to assess progress toward implementation of the NAADS program.


Secondary data were also collected from the subcounty officials to obtain more information on the conditioning factors at the local and community level (LC), including infrastructure development and provision of other public goods and services in the subcounty; implementation of the NAADS pro- gram in the subcounty related to farmer institutional development (e.g., type of training and number of farmer groups benefiting), type of services provided, and mechanisms of provision (e.g., number of technology develop- ment sites and demonstrations); service providers (S), including number of contracts; and budgets and expenditures for the NAADS program and other agricultural sector programs.


Estimation and Determinants of Outcomes and Impacts The main challenge with estimating the impacts of any investment program such as the NAADS program lies with attributing change in an indicator of interest to the program. Due to methodological challenges arising from the complex and often contradictory ways that many factors influence the rela- tionship between extension inputs and outcomes, as well as data quality issues, the existing evidence of the impact of and returns to investment in agricultural extension is often viewed with skepticism. One of the most com- prehensive reviews of the impacts of agricultural extension is found in a metastudy of several case studies: 80 of them on the economic returns to agricultural extension only and 628 on the combined returns of agricultural research and extension, with an average rate of return of 85 and 48 percent, respectively (Alston et al. 2000). The former ranges from zero to 636, the latter from –100 to 430. This wide range of negative to positive rates of return, although positively skewed, has increased the level of skepticism among policymakers and development practitioners on the effectiveness of agricultural extension in increasing agricultural productivity and incomes and reducing poverty, among other expected outcomes. The metastudy by Alston et al. (2000) and reviews by others (e.g., Evenson 2001; Anderson 2007) high-


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