This position paper raises awareness of the roles of producer organisations in rural advisory services, and to contribute to discussions about how their effectiveness in these roles can be increased so that they contribute to improved livelihoods and poverty reduction. It is aimed at all actors involved in the provision of rural advisory services, including producer organisations themselves.
We argue that rural advisory services will contribute to improved rural livelihoods and poverty reduction if they are demand-driven and pluralistic. Demand-orientation ensures that services meet the expressed needs of farmers. Pluralism – the co-existence of a variety of rural advisory service providers with specific comparative advantages – ensures that services can match the diversity of rural livelihoods.