The complex of organisations within countries that provide advice to agricultural producers has become increasingly diverse since the Second World War. This study aims to (1) improve the understanding of the process of development of such Extension Complexes in relation to changes in agricultural policy and production and (2) to relate this understanding to the development of policies with regard to agricultural extension institutions in Estonia.
A detailed analysis of the evolution of the Extension Complex in the United Kingdom is undertaken that forms a background for elaborating a Conceptual Framework characterising qualitative changes in the complex of extension institutions in relation to changes in policy orientation. In order to validate this Conceptual Framework, relevant changes in Denmark, Finland and the Netherlands are first described and then compared to the Framework
Data about developments in Extension Complexes, for background and validation studies, w ere gathered from a variety of sources using different methods: (1) a review of official publications to obtain information about changes in public advisory organisations and agricultural policies; (2) in-depth interviews with senior staff in private advisory organisations; (3) a mail survey of small independent consultancy operations; (4) an open ended questionnaire was mailed to senior representatives involved in advisory work in the countries chosen for validation of the framework.
The Conceptual Framework has been validated against conditions in a variety of European countries and it is concluded that it can be of relevance in assisting decision making concerning development of the Extension Complex in Estonia. A number of implications are identified from the Conceptual Framework about likely developments in the Extension Complex of Estonia after identifying the current situation and its origins.