of AKIS in Europe
Different countries have
adopted the AKIS system and have adapted it according to the contribution of
the private and public organizations, national institutions and laws and
policies of the agricultural sector within the country. European AKIS are considered to be complicated
or even intricate and differ significantly from one country to another. Each country
has built the system according to its goals by taking into account the participating
stakeholders. As example, the AKIS of federal and devolved countries such as
Germany, Belgium and UK can face certain arrangements and modifications
according to the administrative division of the nation. The public sector of
most EU countries acts as a source of funds for the agricultural sector,
supplies official information, and coordinate between the different entities.
Both private and public research programs and educational institutions are in
charge of ensuring the transfer of knowledge, ensuring education and providing
consultative services. There is a significant presence of the private sector in
AKIS of certain EU countries acting either as independent consultants or as
part of extension services.
The AKIS diagram compiles all
the potential actors and organizations and draws the connection between each entity.
It helps in identifying the network that enables the exchange of agricultural
knowledge, gives an overview of the organizational structure and facilitate the
detection of gaps and missing connections. One example of such diagrams is the
AKIS system in Denmark illustrated in figure….
the 19th century Danish agriculture has played an important role in
earning foreign currency and still considered as an important sector. The
Danish AKIS combines a strong category of farmers in rural areas whose needs
are being closely followed and controlled by the advisory system. Moreover, the
collaboration between Danish farmers and agricultural research programs has
strengthened the connections between the different organizations, hence,
empowering the AKIS system of the country. The main feature of the Danish AKIS
is the solid network and connection created between the different entities (farmers,
organization, institutions and companies).
It is reported that Denmark
AKIS is well-performing with a solid connection between the different members
of the system. Moreover, the active involvement of farmers and the bilateral
connections between farmers and the rest of the system enhances the efficiency
of the Danish AKIS.
Characterisation of AKIS
It can be difficult to directly
compare between the AKIS of countries due to the differences in national
institutions, laws and agricultural policies. A measurement scale was defined
from week to strong and from fragmented to integrated to typify the
agricultural knowledge and information system of countries.
Among the criteria that define
the strength of the AKIS of a given country are:
The efficient and potential contribution of entities
and organizations to the AKIS system to ensure the transfer of knowledge.
The availability of resources, funds and
investments to enhance the exchange of information and the development of
The involvement of Farmers in the system and the
evaluation of their feedback about the contribution of the concerned
Thus, an AKIS strength relies
on the compliance with different features.
The integration level is
defined by the degree of correlation between the AKIS members. The system entities
can operate in parallel without any relevant connection with other AKIS
members, thus separate knowledge networks. This characterizes a fragmented AKIS
which usually display uncoordinated and uncooperative operating entities that
can create conflicts within the system. An integrated AKIS is usually characterized
by corroborative and coordinated entities supported by national policies for
which a public institution is in charge of connecting the AKIS network.
Figure…gives an overview of
some countries according to their strength(weak to strong) and integration
level (fragmented to integrated). Romania, Portugal and Greece are an example
of a weak fragmented AKIS. For such countries very low investments are
dedicated to the agricultural information system, in addition to uncoordinated
and uncooperative actors that hinder the development of the knowledge system. On
the other hand a strong and integrated AKIS is reported in Denmark, Austria and
Ireland for which there is potential public and networking support.
Netherlands is a distinct
example of a strong yet a fragmented AKIS in which the required resources are
available and parallel structured information systems are operating and providing
the the knowledge needs of farmers.
One can conclude the each
European country has different approaches in defining their AKIS and
integrating the different organizations to the system.