The role of advisory services in farmers’ decision making for innovation uptake: Technology innovation

Norway, Sogn og Fjordane


Giurgiu County, Romania, is an agricultural district neighbouring Romania’s capital city.

Fertile soils and relatively abundant water resources have created favourable conditions for crop
production in this region for hundreds of years.

Almost 2% of the UAA in Giurgiu County is occupied by vegetable production with open field vegetables (including potatoes), protected cropping and large kitchen gardens. Plastic greenhouses are particularly common in some villages and with good management have very high production potential.

The district of Giurgiu was selected as a focus region for the direct marketing arrangements because of
its proximity to the country’s largest consumer market of Romania, namely Bucharest, which has been
developing an upper middle class of consumers, with busy lifestyles, but interested in acquiring healthy
local foods through convenient alternative marketing channels (online orders or specialized food

Study focus

The study focus on the flow of knowledge to and between farmers that are both active in – and considering entry to – the full range
of new fruit and vegetable marketing initiatives that exist in
Giurgiu County.

Particular attention is paid to distinguishing the knowledge systems of the pioneers and early adopters from the non-adopters.

For direct marketing arrangements between farmers in Giurgiu and consumers in Bucharest, considering
the fact that many of the adopters interviewed pioneered new markets, they rely primarily on advice
from business contacts (including customers, supermarkets, contractors or traders). Nevertheless,
farmers balance their commercial advice with advice from family members, or other members of the
community, and, occasionally, from the public advisors of the agricultural directorate in Giurgiu (DAJ). Nevertheless, as mentioned in previous sections, few farmers have access to these commercial
networks, and therefore a significant part of the farmers interviewed in Giurgiu were largely non-
adopters (43%, n=16). Furthermore, the AKIS interviews revealed that public advisory services offer no
services to help farmers to adopt the innovation.

Giurgiu county market

Direct marketing either online, through supermarket contracts or physical farm shops requires considerable knowledge about marketing, website ranking, quality standards, but also resources to build shops or be able to deliver products to consumers and supermarkets in the conditions warranted by them. Due to this, the great majority of adopters were able to adopt the innovation and be successful because they benefitted from the right personal knowledge with various types of expertise (marketing, IT, design, agronomical, gastronomy), networks and resources that allowed their new business channels to be profitable.

Full report is available here

Partner and responsible person contact

Highclere Consulting (HCC)

Raluca Barbu,


HCC has a vast experience in working with the farmers and rural areas. Especially in the Giurgiu region HCC implemented already one other project on small farmers (SALSA) since 2016 and was implementing in this region also an AgriLink Living Lab.


Lessons learned


The advisory landscapes reflect the weak and fragmented nature of the Romanian advisory system.


National Agency for Agricultural Consulting (ANCA) since 2010 have crippled their ability to play a meaningful role for Romania’s over 3 million farmers.

Currently, they have low staffing and resource endowments, particularly in what concerns their ability to travel to the field and be present in the proximity of farmers. Furthermore, considering their priority mandate of supporting the implementation of the RDP, the DAJ offices are also limited in their ability to be responsive to farmers’ actual needs.