Agricultural Extension and Advisory Services in Bosnia
SINISA BERJAN, HAMID EL BILALI, ALEKSANDRA DESPOTOVIĆ, JASMINA SIMIĆ, MIRKO KULINA, NOUREDDIN DRIOUECH
International journal of environmental and rural development
Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) consists of two governing entities; the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH) and the Republika Srpska (RS). Agriculture employs almost a fifth of the total labor force. Around 61% of the population lives in rural areas. Easy and timely access to reliable and updated information provided by extension services is crucial for agricultural and rural development. The paper aims at analyzing the public agricultural extension and advisory services (AEAS) in Bosnia.
... n particular, it analyses governance; human resources; gender; cooperation projects; decentralization; financing; role in building social capacity as well as advisory approaches, methods and media. Some recommendations to improve the AEAS performance are made. The paper is based on a literature review and semi-structured interviews as well as focus group discussions carried out in March 2011 with agricultural advisors in the RS. Modern AEAS started to exist in BiH in 2002 and are organized on entity level: the Agency for Providing Services in Agriculture in the RS and cantonal agricultural extension services in the FBiH. The National Extension Services for BiH project helped establishing cantonal and regional offices. The Advisory Services Agency has five regional offices. Advisors use many group (e.g. lectures, seminars, field days) and individual (e.g. farm visits, phone calls) extension methods and media (e.g. internet, leaflets, posters, brochures, mass media). Advisors focus mainly on crop and animal production, processing and marketing. They also assist producers to gather in cooperatives. Advisory services face many financial, management and technical problems. The traditional top-down approach is still widely used. Bosnian AEAS should be supported by providing them with the necessary means and resources as well as technical, managerial and soft skills to fully assume their crucial role. That is necessary to develop a well performing pluralistic, participatory, bottom-up, decentralized, farmer-led and market-driven advisory system.