Accepted 20th March, 2018.
Ethiopia is a country whose economy is deep-rooted on agriculture sector. This is indicated by the development philosophy of the country which is Agriculture Led Industrialization (ADLI). The country has undergone various development strategies, where agricultural extension program takes the highest responsibility and consumed highest resource over years. Since the last six decades, when it was formally institutionalized under Ministry of Agriculture, extension services remained a public good focusing on crop production, where the marketing part of the systems was missing. During these periods, the system has been reinforced by the public sector without having someone accountable to farmers in cases of failures in services provided including inappropriate input supply. Farmers have been lacking guarantee in trying new technologies. The risk and cost of trying innovations remain with the farmers. Despite this, achievement in increased production is the success of extension roles with the support of research system. However, the follow up challenge is finding better market and improving access to inputs. This is the concern needing policy attention. Today’s extension should focus on quality, cost of production, value addition, and market orientation. These economic activities call for active involvement of private sector in the system. The purpose of this study was hence to identify available alternatives with the capacity to discharge the responsibility of agricultural extension services and suggest the gradual withdraw of the public sector in extension service delivery. The existence of potential private sectors to deliver extension services in some form of commercialization is evident due the current technological advancement, increased farmers awareness, increasing need of inputs, and market orientation. Growing number of private input traders, farm business, farmer cooperatives, growing number of graduates to offer advisory service, and NGOs are potential institutions that necessitate the transfer of public roles of extension to private sectors whose complementary role improves the efficiency of service delivery, while modernizing agricultural production. The growing digital resource in transfer of information and maintaining the important technological database is an added opportunity for the system. This implies the call for private sector involvement in the extension service delivery in Ethiopia.
Keywords: Privatization, public extension,commercialization, private sectors, system, liberalization