Setting-up a farm advisory network in the agricultural university of Athens: an exploratory analysis
The current situation in Greek advisory/extension services is that of a highly fragmented and ineffective system. More specifically, after the transformation of the Greek Extension Service into a bureaucratic organization, especially since the country’s accession into the European Union (EU), none of the attempts to reorganize the institution of agricultural extension has been successful. The aim of this paper is to investigate the possibilities of creating a Farm Advisory Network (FAN) based in the Agricultural University of Athens (AUA), which will provide high-quality, specialized advisory services, covering the entire spectrum of current farmers’ needs. To this end, a SWOT analysis was carried out to analyse the overall position of AUA and its external environment, regarding farm advisory. In addition, a financial analysis for the establishment and pilot operation of the FAN was carried out in four Prefectures to determine the cost for the provision of the advisory services per farmer. Results of SWOT analysis, overall, indicate that AUA is capable of supporting such a project (i.e. the setting-up of a FAN in the university), due to its distinct competitive advantages of subject expertise and the strong, foreseen linkage between extension, agricultural research and education. Results of the financial analysis indicate that the cost for the provision of the advisory services per farmer is not high considering the high-quality of the Network’s advisory services and the multiple benefits each farmer can derive from them.
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