A growing variety of public and private rural advisory services (Box 1) are available today, leading to increasingly “pluralistic service systems” (PSS), where advisory services are provided by different actors and funded from different sources (Wongtschowski et al., 2013). This is generally regarded as an important step forwards, away from reliance on monolithic, mostly state-led service systems.
PSS have the potential to overcome constraints related to funding, staffing and expertise, and to make advisory services more demand-driven. But are they really able to reach the hundreds of millions of small-scale farmers in need of services?
Reality seems to indicate that too many farmers still fall through the cracks between service providers and remain without any services at all. The inclusive aspect of PSS thus warrants closer attention.