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is a not-for-profit and nongovernmental policy and research organization established in 2003 to conduct research, develop policy recommendations, and implement activities in the field of the rural development.

Rural Development Fund

is a not-for-profit and nongovernmental policy and research organization established in 2003 to conduct research, develop policy recommendations, and implement activities in the field of the rural development.

Rural Development Fund

is a not-for-profit and nongovernmental policy and research organization established in 2003 to conduct research, develop policy recommendations, and implement activities in the field of the rural development.

Rural Development Fund




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Survey on Level of Ownership of Kyrgyz Farmers towards the Rural Advisory Service Network


Fast Facts


Realization period: 2006


Areas:  Chui, Talas, Naryn, Issyk-Kul, Batken, Osh and Djalal-Abad oblasts


Donor: Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation


Contact: general@rdf.in.kg


 RAS System

The Rural Advisory Service system is an advisory service consisting of seven legally independent RAS organizations at oblast level (Regional RAS) that are governed by the Steering Councils and managed by the Regional Managers.  Each regional RAS is registered or being registered as a Public Association.


RAS was established and started its activity as a donor funded Project in 1998.  Since then it has been in the process of constant institutional development.  This process was driven first by donors who wanted to see RAS as an association of seven independent regional extension services with farmers playing a steering role in it.  Later, with the prospect of the end of donor funding, RAS management has started to steer it towards further decentralization and reduction of cost.


Project aim

This survey was conducted with the aim to review and assess level of ownership of farmers towards Rural Advisory Service (RAS) through their own perception.  The Rural Development Fund (RDF) conducted extensive interviews with more then 600 people in 97 villages of all seven oblasts selected randomly.  In addition the team reviewed various materials such as bylaws, program documents, reports, manuals, guidelines, and minutes of council meetings.  These materials helped to understand RAS procedures related to farmer ownership and see how they are being understood and exercised in practice.


Project objective

The major objective of the survey was "to assess in a neutral and objective way how far the Rural Advisory Service' (RAS) network is really steered and owned by farmers".


Main project activities

Qualitative survey was conducted through semi-structured and in-depth interviews, and focus group discussions. Semistructured interviews involved 227 people in all seven oblasts. In-depth interviews were conducted using special guides for representatives of donors, projects, NGOs, aiyl okmotu and aiyl keneshes, and private sector.  More then 30 people were interviewed in Bishkek and in regions. Focus Group Discussions (FGD) were conducted with farmers, including RAS members and non-members, RAS staff and Council members. There were 10 focus group discussions held around the country with more then 70 people participating in them.


Project results

The Study encompassed about 700 people in 15 rayons (which make more then 37% of all rayons) in all seven oblasts of country.  Selection of rayons was done randomly by selecting every second rayon of the oblast in the alphabetical order.  The Study covered 97 villages (30% of villages of selected rayons where RAS is active).  Selection of villages in these rayons was made from a list of RAS clients and members provided by regional and rayon offices of RAS.  Villages were selected randomly, using similar principle of every second or third village in the alphabetical order depending on the number of villages in rayon with the consideration of availability of RAS clients and members in the same village.


From the results of the survey it is clear that for farmers-members of RAS the quality, access and responsiveness of its services are more important then participation and control over governance.  Farmers mostly see themselves as recipients of services from RAS as an external entity, not as a farmer association.  The survey showed that more than 75 percent sought membership to have access to its services for a discount and less then 7 percent wanted membership in order to have a say in its policy and activities.  Passive membership of course is common to many associations; however the weakness of formal channels for members to control activities and the lack of any observed effort to do so suggests that this element of "ownership" is insignificant.


Among interviewed farmers there is a perception that RAS beneficiaries are dominated by groups of middle income farmers.  RAS works with poor layers mainly under the mandate of other donors or under special tasks such as formation of Self Help Groups for KAFC lending.  This focus is driven by the different targets (outcome and output indicators) in annual mandate program such as successful understanding and adoption of advisory message by farmers, growing income from clients.


Overall satisfaction of farmers with RAS work is high.  Farmers value the advice and knowledge given by RAS staff. RAS is seen as the single most important source of information for farmers.


However, in the course of semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions, RAS clients raised various problems they faced in obtaining its services, such as limited access, inflexible planning, shortage of innovations, and in some cases low quality.


Whatever the organizational structure, one of the issues of demand by farmers is that access to extension services needs to be improved. One way proposed is to make it located closer to the village level, but at the same time to ensure that those skills and knowledge available at the national level can be available if and when needed.

Rural Development Fund

143, Isanova Street, Office 1

Bishkek, 720033, Kyrgyz Republic

Mob. phone: +996 (770)330106 

Email: general@rdf.in.kg

© RDF 2008 - 2015

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