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The agricultural council strategic in the heart of the transition agro-ecological

Le conseil descendant _top down_ seul n'est plus suffisant

The counseling agencies agricultural development since twenty years, the methods of strategic guidance at the operational level. In a context of transition agro-ecological, the ministry of agriculture commissioned a study to better know the tools and methods available.

Find the full study here and the summary note here.

Both formats of the council proposed to farmers

The analysis shows that two types of support "live together" :

  • The council tactical and a descendant of the type " an elementary problem → a standardized solution ". In this type of support, the problems faced by the farmers are segmented by domain : agronomic, economic, tax, legal, organisation of work... The advice coming from experts, organizations, or with various devices.
  • The council's strategic and participatory deals of the problems faced by the farmers in their entirety. This support is closer to the operating is the minority. It aims to support the decisions of the farmer, while strengthening the capacity of the steering system.

Both of these board types have different objectives but are complementary. A farmer engaged in a strategic approach may need a board tactics on a technical point precise. It can quickly acquire knowledge of agro-ecological.

Many of the tools available, but sparsely deployed

The analysis shows the range of tools currently available for the council to farmers (figure 1). These tools are developed by different actors in the agricultural council : cooperatives, chambers of agriculture, the technical institutes, the National Agencies in the Agricultural and Rural Vocation (ONVARs) as well as independent consultants.

Figure 1 – The methodological guides analysed in the study

Figure 1 - Les guides méthodologiques analysés dans l’étude
Source : study authors : Charles-Antoine Winner and Olivier Thiery

The analysis shows that the approaches of the strategic council remain in the minority. The tools developed by the chambers of agriculture are made locally and by a few committed people. In cooperatives, the tool Cassiopeia was still in the testing phase in 2018.

Two actors of the agricultural council stand out in their advanced in terms of the strategic advisory board :

  • the ONVARs (National Agency for Agricultural and Rural) which, thanks to successful collaborations with public research, propose a strategic accompaniment, often in connection with agriculture with low levels of inputs.
  • The network CER France, including the organization and management allow him a good deployment practices of strategic consulting.

What are the levers to actuate in order to develop the strategic council ?

According to the authors, the two levers to actuate in order to develop the strategic council are at the level of the individual activity of the counselor, as well as at the level of organizations of the agricultural council.

Establish an overall diagnosis requires a technical vision transverse. The areas of expertise of the advisors must therefore be larger. And currently it is difficult to recruit or train advisors covering all of the skills. In addition, it is a real challenge of change of scale : pass the parcel to the operating system, and the efficiency of the redesign.

The implementation of a process of strategic consulting involves a change at the level of organizations (rethinking of the mandates given to councillors) and the need to work as a network within organizations as well as with other stakeholders in the agricultural world. The deployment of a strategic advisory board meets the current organisations that are very siloed management descendant.

The council descendant "top-down" alone is no longer enough !

The council descendant "top-down" alone is no longer sufficient, it must be complemented by a strategic advisory board and participatory at the farm level. In spite of some exceptions, the analysis shows that despite a range of tools is important, the deployment of the strategic advisory board remains low.

Enhance the drive capability of the farmer in the accompanying closer to its exploitation will allow it to meet the challenges of transition in which it has to face. The challenge therefore is safe for the organizations of agricultural advisory : there is a need to rethink the training of counsellors, and the organization of their structures to adapt to the new needs !

We agree !

It is the sense of the ambition of Neayi. Our web-based platform Triple Performance it was precisely the goal to help the agricultural world to accompany the strategic evolution of the farms, provoking the contributions and flows in a “bottom-up”. If this topic interests you, please do not hesitate to send a message for a chat !