Clash of beliefs

In Uganda, during the process of setting up National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS), there was a crucial split between two groups: a ‘radical’ coalition (associated with the World Bank and Ministry of Finance) which advocated radical reform to extension services – and a ‘gradual’ coalition (including the Ministry of Agriculture and local government) in favour of more gradual reform.

There was also a stark contrast in how the two groups saw themselves – unsurprisingly, in a favourable light – and each other. The radical group saw the gradual group as defending vested interests, while the gradual group saw the radical group as being captured by external donors and their reform models. At one point, the conflict led to the gradual group being virtually excluded from the policy process.

The research shows the impact of values, ideology and ownership on policy – factors which are sometimes under-recognised in discussions of the political economy of agriculture.

This blog was co-written by Fran Seballos, IDS and Nathan Oxley, FAC.