ISMAIL MOUMOUNI MOUSSA
Humboldt-University Berlin, Rural Sociology, Germany
The assessment of the performance of agricultural services for sustainable poverty alleviation in the context of globalisation and liberalisation should take the multi-functionality of agriculture into consideration. This multi-functionality forces to an interdisciplinary analysis of the impacts of the liberalisation of research and extension on agriculture. This paper aims at investigating the impacts of the withdrawal of the state and the involvement of private stakeholders, NGOs and farmer organisations in delivering and financing research and extension on the farming for subsistence and income, the social cohesion and collective action, the agriculture as source of prestige and the environment protection in Banikoara. Semi"=structured interviews were carried out with local government leaders and workers of public research and extension organisations, development projects, the district farmer organisation and NGOs in Banikoara district. The study provided the evidence that the liberalisation of agricultural research and extension in Benin tends to (i) orient farmers towards the production of cash crops to the detriment of food availability and quality, (ii) destroy the social cohesion through the dismemberment of families, tensions and conflicts in villages, and (iii) damage the environment. However, its impacts on the agriculture as sources of prestige are mitigated. Any reform of agricultural research and extension to fit into the globalisation and the liberalisation context should serve all of the functions of agriculture, if it has to drop local communities from poverty and to ease the transition into the globalisation. Strengthen the ability of research and extension workers to take into account the multi"=functionality of agriculture may be useful in the context of globalisation.
Keywords: Agricultural research and extension, Benin, Liberalisation, Multi-functional agriculture