In Nepal, bureaucrats’ local knowledge and motivation make a difference in serving rural farmers

The villages of Barbote and Pyang are located in neighboring districts in the far west region of Nepal. Despite many similarities between the villages, their citizens receive remarkably different levels of public services. Residents of Barbote, who farm rice for their livelihoods, are confident that they can find a crop extension agent when they need one, and a third of them have within the past year. Anuj, the official in charge of agricultural extension services for Barbote’s district, provides these services with a staff of only five agents serving over 82,000 farmers. However, Anuj has lived in the district for 24 years and deeply understands local agricultural conditions; he also leaves the district capital for field visits at least every other week.

Photo: Neil Palmer/CIAT