The paper addresses the public sector’s role in agricultural extension. The first part of the paper subtitled ‘Extension in Transition’ reviews the ideological and technological changes that have occurred since the 1980s and stresses the importance of educating producers and establishing a climate where they begin to organize themselves for profitable purposes. The second part of the paper subtitled ‘the Extension System as National Commitment’ examines the current reform measures affecting public sector extension and differentiates two distinct reform pathways, commercialization and democratization. Highlighted is the tension between the privatization of public sector extension systems and the call for institutional pluralism. The third part of the paper subtitled ‘Enhancing Capacities for What’ raises the question of the purpose of modern (public) extension services.
Keywords: Public Sector Extension, Agricultural Extension, Europe, Institutional Change