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Abstract

The top down public agricultural extension system in China and its early reforms during the 1990’s has left millions of farmers without access to extension services. An inclusive agricultural extension system was introduced in 2005 to better meet the diverse technology needs of small farmers. Three key features of the experiment are 1) inclusion of all farmers as target beneficiaries, 2) effective identification of farmers’ technology needs, and 3) establishment of an accountability system to provide better agricultural advisory services to small farmers. This paper describes design of the reform initiative and examines its effect on small farmers’ access to extension services. Based on the data randomly collected from 950 farmers in six counties from 2005-2007, the paper shows that the inclusive reform initiative significantly improving small farmers’ access to agricultural extension services. The implications for further reforms to the agricultural extension system are then discussed.

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