Overcoming Constraints to Agricultural Innovation Through the Market: Insights from the Peruvian Andes
This paper discusses possible ways to overcome the situation of physical isolation and the multiple failures that pervade Andean villages. Specifically, it studies a training program developed by a Peruvian NGO, which aims at triggering the development of a market for agricultural services that reach the rural poor. First-hand data is used to identify the scope of the market so-created. It is then looked at determinants of successful intervention, through different indicators. The empirical tests developed show that training farmers as on-the-field consultants is a relevant strategy in the adverse environment under study, provided that the practical implementation is well designed and that some particular constraints are properly taken into account. In particular, training specialists on one relevant topic is much more effective than training generalists. Hence, our results should be viewed as one building block in the debate over the design of successful innovative schemes for agrarian extension in the context of isolation traps and cultural constraints.
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