Pluralism of agricultural advisory service providers - Facts and insights from Europe

Andrea Knierim*, Pierre Labarthe, Catherine Laurent, Katrin Prager, Jozef Kania, Livia Madureira, Tim Hycenth Ndah

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Citations (Scopus)


Agricultural advisory services (AAS) have regained importance for policy makers worldwide and especially in the European Union (EU), because of increased attention to food production and related innovation processes in rural areas. However, a systematic overview of AAS in the EU is missing, and there is a lack of evidence about their diversity and organisational pluralism. With this paper, we systematically explore the variety of advice providing bodies in Europe regarding organisational features, characteristics of service provision and the targeted client groups. The results show a pluralism of organisations that is a widely represented phenomenon across the EU. It implies a variation of service provision quality and targeted clients within and among countries. Moreover, we identify groups among the farming population that apparently are not served by any type of provider. We conclude on impacts of organisational pluralism and especially privatisation of AAS for various client groups, and point out further research needs with the evaluation of AAS performance in general and the potential of farmer-based organisations in particular. (C) 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-58
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Rural Studies
Early online date29 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017

Bibliographical note

We are grateful that this research was funded in the frame of the EU FP 7 project PRO AKIS (grant agreement 311 994), and we wish to thank two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments.


  • Agricultural advisory services
  • Privatisation
  • Farmer-based organisation
  • Farmer-advisor ratio
  • Extension evaluation
  • Europe


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