Farmers are increasingly asked to pay for agricultural research and extension (ARE) services in many developing countries. Although, farmers participate diversely in funding these services, their motivation is rarely sustainable. This paper addresses the question whether this financial participation is the reflection of the development of a sense of appropriation of services or rather an adaptation strategy of farmers who may have been coerced to share the costs of services. We conducted a qualitative inductive analysis based on three case studies in Benin to develop a framework for understanding farmers’ motivation to finance ARE. The analyses show that farmers’ subjective interpretations of service organizations triggered and guided the motivation to finance ARE. Motivation processes could turn to diversion processes or congruence processes. Conversely to diversion processes, motivation congruence processes ensured a sustainable farmer financial participation. These findings could be useful for designing or analysing ARE funding systems, especially with respect to their effectiveness and sustainability.