Indicator 14. Number of agricultural extension workers per 1000 farmers [or share of farmers covered by agricultural extension programs and services]

Rationale and definition:

It will not be possible to increase sustainable agriculture yields in all countries without a functioning public and/or private agricultural extension system. The proposed indicator has been developed by FAO to track the total number of qualified agricultural professionals across different sectors that provide training, information, and other extension support and services to farmers and small-to-medium enterprises in rural value chains.


This indicator can be disaggregated at sub-national scales, by sex, and by public vs. private sector extension workers.

Comments and limitations:

The current indicator has a few limitations. First, the indicator does not distinguish between levels of training of extension workers. It should only include professionals with a minimum level of education, training, and certification. Second, the indicator does not measure the effectiveness of the agricultural extension system in terms of actually reaching farmers with new information, knowledge and services. Therefore, an additional indicator could be developed to measure the percentage of farmers who are effectively and regularly covered by quality agricultural extension or similar programs.

Preliminary assessment of current data availability by Friends of the Chair:


Primary data source:

Administrative data, and/or agricultural-based household survey.

Potential lead agency or agencies:

Data for the indicator is collected by the FAO.1

  1. Dobermann, A. and Nelson, R. et al (2013). Solutions for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems. Technical report of the SDSN Thematic Group on Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems: Paris, France, and New York, USA.