This article argues that, in Ethiopia, the aim to transform the performance of smallholder agricultural production is driven by the twin imperatives of economic growth and political control. The agricultural extension programme – the largest and fastest growing in the continent – has been central to this strategy, and the unparalleled investment in the extension system has been driven by these twin imperatives. However, there are tensions between the objectives of stimulating agricultural growth, on the one hand, and extensively penetrating society and winning elections, on the other, and these may reduce the returns to this investment. Implications are drawn for wider debates on the reform of agricultural extension.
Berhanu, K.; Poulton, C. The Political Economy of Agricultural Extension Policy in Ethiopia: Economic Growth and Political Control. Development Policy Review (2014) 32 (s2) s199-s216. [Special Issue: The Political Economy of Agricultural Policy in Africa] [DOI: 10.1111/dpr.12082]