Bart (1993 pp. 508–509) writes that an agronomist was appointed in each commune, assisted by several agricultural monitors. Their task was to teach modern agricultural techniques to farmers and to convince them to adopt these techniques. The adopters were then officially called ‘progressive farmers’. Most often, these farmers were among the well-off who had the means (land, inputs) to experiment with or implement new techniques. Newbury (1992) points out the ambivent role accorded to these agricultural monitors.51 One the one hand
they were agents of the state and in this capacity they were required to implement the directives of the Ministry of Agriculture. This included, among other things, to police the farmers who were not observing the orders of the ministry. When farmers, eg would not plant and maintain their coffee trees, they could be fined by the monitors (as explained in Chap. 4
). On the other hand
, the monitors witnessed the hard life of many farmers, the lack of inputs available to them such as fertilizer, seeds and land. In this capacity they could have served as the voice of the farmers informing the communal council and the ministry of these difficulties and asking that action be taken in favour of the farmers. Most of the available evidence shows that the agronomists and the agricultural monitors subscribed to their first task, not to the second. Bagiramshi, Bazihizina and Barnaud (1986) list five reasons why this was the case (p. 422): 52
the message of the agricultural monitors is not based on an analysis of local conditions and as a result not adapted to these conditions;
extension services were conceived in isolation of other policies such as access to credit, commercialisation, taxation, price policies or manufacturing and would only bear fruit when considered together;
seldomly, the experience of the farmer was taken into account. As a result monitors were surprised to encounter resistance from the side of the farmers when introducing innovations;
operational procedures changed according to the source that financed an innovation, handicapping effective planning;
monitors nor farmers were supposed to question the directives given by their superiors and as a results did not take responsibility for their actions.
As a result, extension work in Rwanda was considered as a top–down mechanism where the agricultural monitor told the farmer what to do (p. 426). Frequently, agricultural monitors combine their job with a position as responsible de cell or conseiller de secteur, the two administrative levels below the level of the commune.