A note on private farm management consulting services: The case of Argentina
The paper discusses the evolution and perspectives of private farm management consulting in Argentina. In the first part, recent developments in consulting services are presented. Because of its importance, particular emphasis is placed in the evolution of consulting work done in the framework of the CREA (Consorcios Regionales de Experimentaci6n Agricola) association of farm producers. Rough estimates show that: (a) private consulting represents 10-15% of total manpower devoted to direct farmer advice, and (b) demand for consulting work has grown considerably faster in areas where farms have mixed (crop-livestock) production systems. The possible incentives for farmers hiring consulting services are summarized. The widespread (in Argentina) opinion that consultants allow higher yields from a given input mix is not fully supported by the empirical data presented in this paper: there is evidence that yield differences found on farms are caused not only by the presence or absence of consultants but also (and perhaps primarily) by differences in land quality. The fact that the average farmer may be (at least on a yield basis) as efficient as the 'top' farmers should be further studied, as it has important implications from a policy point of view.
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