SDC A&FS Network: Rural Advisory Services

Rural advisory services and agricultural education

Context - Key resources - Projects - Community - Archiv


Belt-tightening measures such as the Structural Adjustment Programs of the 80’s and 90’s have led to a reduction of public finances for state run research and extension services in many countries. This left the rural population, who was often already insufficiently served before, without access to relevant knowledge.

In recent years, the international ODA system and stakeholders at country level have started to rediscover the crucial role of agricultural knowledge and innovation systems in rural populations’ capacity development, food security enhancement, income generation and poverty reduction.

It is the role of networks like the Swiss and the Global Forum on Rural Advisory Services (SFRAS and GFRAS) to:

  • foster evidence-based discussions on adequate policies and approaches for demand-oriented Rural Advisory Services;

  • provide guidance regarding investment priorities;

  • define a clear vision for individual and institutional, private and public capacity development;

  • to facilitate continuous sharing of experiences and learning at local, regional and global levels.

Key resources

Digital revolution for smallholders – truth or myth?
Outcomes of SDC learning event, 22 November 2018, Bern, Switzerland

Modernizing Extension and Advisory Services (MEAS)
MEAS is a Center of Excellence that works through action-oriented research and outreach efforts to strengthen extension systems in developing countries and ultimately to increase agricultural productivity and reduce rural poverty.

Worldwide Extension Study
The Worldwide Extension Study published by GFRAS and partners provides empirical data on the human and financial resources of agricultural extension and advisory systems worldwide.

The New Extensionist Learning Kit
This Learning Kit developed by GFRAS and its partners contains 13 modules designed for self-directed, face-to-face, or blended learning. It can be a useful tool for extension staff, managers, lecturers, non-governmental organisations and other training institutions.
Short video interviews on the learning kit

Access Agriculture
Platform co-financed by SDC showcasing agricultural training videos in local languages.

Study on Agricultural Technical and Vocational Education and Training (ATVET) in Developing Countriies PDF, 1449 KB
Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation and A+FS Network, January 2016
The study aims at offering a birds-eye overview of current trends and discussions in ATVET, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, with case studies in Benin & Ethiopia.

Rural Advisory Services & International Cooperation PDF, 16'339 KB
Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation and A+FS Network, 2016
A compilation of articles with insights and innovations about how to reach large numbers of agricultural producers with RAS in a sustainable way
Hanoi Statement on Rural Advisory Service Systems PDF, 892 KB
Multimedia story of the RAS CapEx process

Targeting Women in Rural Advisory Services PDF, 2122 KB
A+FS Network Brief No 1, December 2011
Summary of inputs from an e-discussion held in September 2011

Rural Advisory Services (RAS) and Making Markets Work for the Poor (M4P)
Synthesis paper of a joint e-discussion of the A+FS and e+i networks, June 2012
PDF, 675 KB [fr] [es]
Follow up to the E-Discussion on RAS and M4P, April 2013
PDF, 540 KB


South Asia

Nepal Agricultural Services Development Programme (NASDP) - Nepal
SDC South Asia Division
The project supports the strengthening of a decentralized and pluralistic extension and research system in Nepal. This shall improve their productivity, income and food security of small farmers.
SDC Project Database

Bangladesh Agricultural and Disaster Insurance Programme (BADIP) - Bangladesh
SDC South Asia Division
BADIP aims to sustainably increase poor farmers’ resilience by developing the market for agricultural insurance and related extension services.
SDC Project Database

Agricultural Services and Livelihood Improvement (ASLI) - Afghanistan
SDC South Asia Division
The ASLI project aims to improve the livelihoods of poor rural families in the Central Highlands of Afghanistan by strengthening the public extension system at subnational level to enable targeted, demand-driven agricultural service delivery.
SDC Project Database

East Asia

Lao Upland Rural Advisory Service (LURAS) - Laos
SDC East Asia Division
The Swiss Cooperation in the Mekong Region supports the LURAS project to facilitate an effective demand-driven pluralistic extension service delivery system in Lao PDR.
SDC Project Database

Support to the Reform of the Agriculture & Forestry Colleges in Lao PDR (SURAFCO) - Laos
SDC East Asia Division
SURAFCO Phase III supports quality teaching in all five Agriculture and Forestry Colleges of Laos: college management, needs-based infrastructure, teaching equipment, knowledge sharing and exchanges. This is a key contribution to implement the Reform Strategy towards 2020 aiming at an increased number of qualified agricultural and extension workers.
SDC Project Database

Quality apprenticeships for disadvantaged populations - Myanmar
SDC East Asia Division
The SDC funds apprenticeships for disadvantaged groups in different fields including agriculture.
SDC Project Database

Southern Africa, East & North Africa, Occupied Palestinian Territory

Promoting Market Oriented Skills Training in the Great Lakes region (PROMOST)
SDC Southern Africa, East and North Africa, Occupied Palestinian Territory Division
The program aims to improve the access to quality and market-relevant vocational training for the rural population of the Great Lakes Region.
SDC Project Database

West Africa

Better training to facilitate the integration of youngsters in rural areas into the labour market - Niger
SDC West Africa Division
The project aims to improve the education and vocational training system in Niger. This shall enable young people to successfully enter the job market which eventually contributes to the socio-economic development of the region and strengthens the food security of the population.
SDC Project Database

Middle East and North Africa

Vocational skills development in Tunisia - Tunisia
SDC Middle East and North Africa Division
This SDC programme aims to boost the employability of young Tunisians through training in vocational skills in different professional fields including agriculture.
SDC Project Database


Modernising vocational education and training (VET) related to agriculture - Georgia
SDC Eurasia Division
SDC is helping the Georgian government to develop a more modern VET system that integrates theory and practice and allows a long-term increase in farm productivity and rural incomes.
SDC Project Database

Market Opportunities for Livelihood Improvement (MOLI) in Kakheti - Georgia
SDC Eurasia Division
The project aims to substantially improve the income of target farmers through better access to markets, services and inputs for the dairy and meat value chains.
SDC Project Database

Global Programme Food Security

Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS)
SDC Global Programme Food Security
The Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS) is a global network of 16 continental and regional RAS federations currently covering around 130 countries. With SDC’s contribution, GFRAS supports these federations to develop better and more effective RAS at the benefit of millions of smallholders, many of them living in poverty.
SDC Project Database

Smallholder farmers boost their incomes thanks to mobile phones
SDC Global Programme Food Security
Agricultural, financial and advisory services provided via mobile phone and public-private partnerships have the potential to reach millions. SDC supports Agri-Fin Mobile, a provider of agricultural and micro-financed services via mobile phone in Indonesia, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
SDC Project Database


Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS)

The mission of GFRAS is to provide advocacy and leadership on pluralistic, demand-driven rural and agricultural advisory services within the global development agenda. GFRAS is co-financed by SDC.
more information

Swiss Forum on Rural Advisory Services (SFRAS)

SFRAS is an informal group of experts from Swiss development, research, education and private sector organisations, who are involved in Rural Advisory Services (RAS) in developing countries.
more information


10 challenges faced by Swiss actors in Rural Advisory Services projects PDF, 451 KB
A+FS Network Brief No 2, January 2012.
Summary based on the below study "Capitalisation of experiences in Rural Innovation and Advisory Services"

Capitalisation of experiences in Rural Innovation and Advisory Services - Overview document PDF, 820 KB
Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation, December 2011

E-Discussion on Rural Advisory Services with participants from different countries, organisations and projects:
Synthesis paper round 1 (April 2010) [fr] [es] PDF, 105 KB
Synthesis paper round 2 (June 2010) [fr] [es] PDF, 68 KB   

Making Extension Work for Herders - PDF, 1573 KB
SDC, University of Queensland, Association for Sustainable Rural Development, 2014
A participatory assessment of needs and opportunities for the Green Gold - Agricultural Extension Component (Mongolia, 2013-2016)

Modes of sustainable delivery. Documentation of the Symposium on Rural Advisory Services PDF, 1423 KB
GIZ, March 2013

Agricultural extension: A time for change: Linking knowledge to policy and action for food and livelihoods PDF, 3052 KB
CTA, 2012

"Voice and Choice" Rural Advisory Services in Kyrgyzstan  PDF, 528 KB
SDC, HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation, July 2012.
Presentation of main findings and discussion of A+FS Network members with study author Peter Schmidt

Agricultural Innovation Systems: An Investment Sourcebook PDF, 7984 KB
World Bank, 2012

Effectiveness of Rural Advisory Services (RAS) PDF, 1857 KB
Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation Kyrgyzstan.
Highlights from an assessment of the outcomes of RAS services in the farmers' fields and pockets.
Issue Sheet PDF, 1990 KB

Supporting grassroots democracy and improving public services  PDF, 314 KB
Issue Sheet of Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation Vietnam / MARD / SDC, 2011

Quand les greniers se remplissent PDF, 18'671 KB
Les bénéfices du partenariat entre la recherche agronomique, la vulgarisation agricole et des organisations paysannes au Mali
Syngenta Foundation and CDE, 2011.

Five Key Areas for Mobilising the Potential of Rural Advisory Services PDF, 405 KB
GFRAS Brief #1, October 2010