Accepted 29th August, 2016
Many different research-extension linkage arrangements have been practiced in Ethiopia. In this paper, the authors review the history and evolution of different linkage mechanisms and show their relative efficacy in developing collaborative learning and action among agricultural development stakeholders. The paper finds that organizational and institutional challenges characterized the history of research-extension linkages in Ethiopia. In recent times, however, informed by many years of experience and new development approaches, linkage mechanisms in Ethiopia have begun to shift from a traditional, technology-oriented research-extension linkage system to a more dynamic, multi-stakeholder innovation platform. Driven by research for development projects, innovation platforms emerged as inclusive and equitable multi-stakeholder forums aimed at developing innovation capacity of a range of development actors in a more market-oriented development system. The paper concludes that linkage facilitation appears to be a key function of extension services in Ethiopia and that extension agents need to have a set of skills to facilitate interactions and learning among farmers, service providers, and processing and marketing actors.
Keywords: Linkage facilitation; multi-stakeholder platforms; extension services; Ethiopia