Scielo RSS <![CDATA[South African Journal of Agricultural Extension ]]> vol. 49 num. 3 lang. pt <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Socio-economic factors affecting home gardens as a livelihood strategy in rural areas of the Eastern Cape province, South Africa</b>]]> Home gardens have been identified as one of the possible ways of producing food and offer great solutions to some of the issues surrounding poverty alleviation and improving food security in rural areas. However, home gardens' potential as a living strategy has not been recognized and affected by many factors. Therefore, the study examines socio-economic factors influencing home gardens as a living strategy in rural areas of the Eastern Cape Province. The study was conducted in the Eastern Cape Province rural areas, where data was collected from 200 households using snowball sampling. The study made use of descriptive and logit regression models for analysis. The study results reveal that female households actively participated in home gardens with an average of 46 years. Households were landowners with an average farm size of 3 Ha and owning farm assets. Home gardens contributed immensely to households by providing food for home consumption and generating income from crops and vegetables. The study concludes that Socioeconomic factors were the factors influencing home gardens as the living strategy in rural areas. Therefore, the study recommends the provision of external personnel in rural areas to assist home gardeners in improving their productivity. <![CDATA[<b>South African government palliative funds for agriculture amid Covid-19: Challenges of implementation and suggestions for improvements</b>]]> The novel Corona virus pandemic has been extremely overwhelming at all levels causing massive economic setbacks for many countries including South Africa. The country witnessed an unprecedented scaling-down of its national economic activities, which called for an emergency response from the government. Several Covid-19 relief schemes were instituted by the government to ensure that farms of all sizes would survive. A support fund of R1.2 billion was allocated to the agriculture andfood sector through the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD). The fund was primarily meant to assistfinancially distressed small-scale farmers to ensure continued production and food security for the country. This study collated the conditions for financial Covid-19 stimulus support required from smallholders and analysed several factors that prevented some members of this vulnerable group from benefitting from the relief funds. These factors include complexities associated with satisfactorily categorizing smallholder producers, productivity, marketing and policy challenges, glitches in formalising smallholder producer operations, the farm-business record keeping pitfall, and the exclusion of subsistent producers. The paper suggests some possible corrective measures that could allow for more inclusive support to these categories of farmers; some of which includes a simple but robust financial traceability system for the farmers, and a need to continue to push for the completion of national registration process of smallholder producers. <![CDATA[<b>Towards an efficient post Covid-19 ICT based extension service delivery model for the sugar industry of eSwatini</b>]]> This study presents a designed ICT based extension service delivery system for the sugar industry of Eswatini. The model is an improvement of the current system and it presents a delivery system that is void of many limitations. This model emanates from findings of a survey which involved all smallholder sugarcane farmers (N=172) and their extension officers (N=17). The survey investigated how information and knowledge are currently managed within the sugar industry. Basically, the model revolves around the use of mobile phones to relay information among the sugar industry stakeholders in a timely, more organised, productive and cost-effective ways, without contravention of the COVID-19 pandemic protocols. Sugarcane stakeholders can now be able to exchange information using the model without having to meet physically, which is what most of the traditional approaches required. The exchange of information can be in a form of voiced, pre-recorded information in the form of texts, audio, or audio visuals. This would go a long way in enhancing smallholder farmer's productivity as it has the potential of empowering more rural sugarcane farmers with crucial information for improved productivity. The model has the potential to sustain itself as the participation of the stakeholders is promoted. <![CDATA[<b>Achieving the NDP 2030 agricultural agenda in UMzimkhulu: myth or possibility</b>]]> The South African Constitution has often been adjudged one of the most progressive constitutions ever written. However, transforming the theoretical content of the Constitution into a reality has proved to be a challenge. Considering that, the NDP 2030 is widely acknowledged as a well-thought-out and structured plan, the converting of the NDP 2030 vision into reality is discussed amongst cynics, who often consider it as an unrealistic vision based on the current circumstances and timeframe. In consonance with the afore-narrative, this paper explores the current circumstances of the Agricultural sector within the UMzimkhulu Municipality and gauges against the agricultural agenda set forth in the NDP 2030. To unravel this nexus, the paper pursues a qualitative approach wherein face-to-face interviews were conducted amongst 63 farmers. Prior to the interview, a pretest was conducted to ascertain the suitability of the instrument. The professional personnel were from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development; the Department of Water and Sanitation, alongside other key stakeholders within three farming projects in UMzimkhulu, KwaZulu-Natal, Province, South Africa. The conceding view amongst most of the respondents indicated that the agricultural plan outlined in the NDP 2030 was far from attainment considering the current resources, skills, personnel, and timeframe. Thus, the paper advocates several proactive mitigations such as capacitation, tailor-made investments, institutional reinvigoration, and formidable partnerships amidst other practicable recommendations. <![CDATA[<b>Unlocking the potential of value chains as climate change resilience strategies: can macadamia nuts <i>(macadamia integrifolia) </i>offer the gateway?</b>]]> The consequences of climate change threaten existing agriculture systems across Zimbabwe. The researchers examined the possibility and potential for developing a smallholder farmer driven macadamia nuts value chain. Using the case of Chipinge district, Manicaland province, Zimbabwe, the study evaluated the potential of macadamia nut value chain functions as a climate change resilience strategy in Zimbabwe. Challenges faced by actors and positive developments made in incorporating smallholders into the macadamia nuts production sector were explored. The role of local markets and producers in the international trade in macadamia nuts were also examined, using a modified stakeholder analysis framework. Triangulation, a mixed methodology, was used to adequately capture the various quantitative and qualitative dimensions along the macadamia nuts value chain pillars. A sample of 220 farming units including Estates, A1 and A2 farmers was proportionately selected for the study. Primary data were collected from Key Informants through interviews and personal communications. Secondary data were collected from Agritex officers, buyers, and the Macadamia Association of Zimbabwe farmers ' records. The production-marketing interface for macadamia nuts is weakly coordinated in the study area as shown by the rudimentary production systems especially for the A1 and A2 farmers. Results show that the major missing links are the limited application of extension driven production enhancers and the limited visibility of farmers in more rewarding export markets. Production scales have, however, been increasing with more farmers allocating land towards the macadamia nuts trees. Decentralization of macadamia nuts markets and localized value addition needs to be done to realign domestic and export market prices. <![CDATA[<b>Assessment of climate change training needs of agricultural extension agents in Abia state, Nigeria</b>]]> The study assessed the agricultural extension agents' climate change training needs in Abia state. Eighty-three extension agents were chosen for the study using a simple random sampling procedure. Questionnaire was used to collect data, which was then summarized using percentages, frequency counts, and the mean. The findings indicated that male agricultural extension agents comprised a majority (53%) of the state's agricultural extension agents. The average household contained between one and five members (60%). Only 10% have a master's degree, while the majority (69%) have a bachelor's degree. The average length of employment was 15 years. The study's findings indicated that there are still extension agents who are unaware of climate change (1%). Agricultural extension agents in the study area have a limited understanding of all six climate change statements. Extension agents provide significant climate change services to farmers, including technical advice on climate change (χ =2.0), the establishment of Small Plot Adaptation Techniques (SPAT) to monitor the impact of climate change (x=2.1), and educating farmers on appropriate agrochemicals for climate change adaptation (weed and pest control) (x =2.2). Additionally, the results indicated that understanding fundamental climate change concepts (x =3.7), utilising cultural practises to mitigate and adapt to climate impacts (χ =3.4), and environmentally friendly management practises to mitigate and adapt to climate change (χ =3.4) were the primary areas of need for climate change training among extension agents. Inadequate funding for training (x=3.4), a lack of financial support from organizations (x =3.3), and an inability to access financial support from funders (x=3.3) were the major barriers to attending climate change training for extension agents. Regular climate change seminars and training workshops for agricultural extension agents at the federal and state levels will help to improve their overall knowledge of climate change issues. The Agricultural Development Program should utilize Forth nightly training (FNT) meetings to educate extension agents about climate change issues. <![CDATA[<b>Review of plant health clinics: a recent phenomenon for effective plant pests and diseases diagnosis</b>]]> Plant health clinic is a mechanism in which farmers are able to access basic plant healthcare and services from relevant authority in relation to infested or suspected infested plants and plant products for diagnostic purposes. Plant health clinic is an integral part of the plant health system which provides early pest diagnostic and advisory services to farmers. In this paper, it can be further defined as a basic plant healthcare rendered to farmers to enhance and improve plant production thereby diagnosing plant pests and diseases with the aim of employing appropriate pest management strategy. In many countries, plant health clinics operators are extension experts, plant doctors, inspectors and scientists within government and NGOs. Extension support in particular is critical in the operation of plant health clinics. The purpose of this paper is to provide a global overview of plant clinic as a recent ways of plant diseases diagnosis. This paper concluded that plant health clinics are valuable tools which need to be adopted by various countries for smallholder farmers to understand more about plant pests and diseases as well as management strategy. To the contrary, many countries are dependent on national diagnostic services as opposed to basic plant healthcare which is more accessible to the smallholders. This review paper further revealed that plant health clinics ' knowledge, awareness, accessibility and satisfaction of the smallholder farmers are very important. Plant clinics may not efficiently and effectively operate in the absence of the aforementioned aspects. Plant clinics were found to be the most efficient way to reach smallholder farmers for advice. <![CDATA[<b>Characterization of women and youth smallholder agricultural entrepreneur's in rural irrigation schemes in Vhembe district, South Africa</b>]]> The purpose of the study was to characterize irrigated smallholder agricultural enterprises (ISAEs) in selected areas of Vhembe District, Limpopo Province. The characterization focused on the geophysical environment and on participants in ISAEs. Precipitation was at most 460mmpa for villages along Madimbo Corridor and 701-1380mmpa for those along Mutale Valley, and temperatures were 38.1X-44.0X (Madimbo) and 30.0X-40.0X (Mutale). Groundwater supplemented surface water and was utilized more at Madimbo Corridor compared to Mutale Valley. The study area was characterized as semi-arid to sub-humid, hence technologies for efficient irrigation should be promoted. Participants in ISAEs were female (94.9%), and adult (52.72%) with low education levels (67.7% < secondary education). The majority (88.65%) were not formally employed (54.61% self-employed, 34.04% full-time farmers). Participants experienced some level of poverty, 68.03 per cent received low household incomes (R1001-R5000/month), 77 per cent received social grants. Interestingly, the majority (65.31%) stayed in multiple-roomed houses, had cement brick walls, and corrugated iron roofs (54.42%), and all had electricity, a stove, and a fridge. Also, majority-owned radio (96.67%), DSTV (87.45%), vehicles (65.56%), and cellphones. Participants mostly provided adequate food supply (91.84%) with three meals/day (79.38%) except during hard times where 49.56 per cent provided fewer meals mostly due to delayed readiness of farm produce. Strategies to empower ISAE participants to be more effective should consider their gender, age, education, and economic status estimated by income, asset ownership, and food security. <![CDATA[<b>Determinants of professionalisation of extension service delivery: A confirmatory factor analysis approach</b>]]> The need for agricultural extension services in Nigeria to attain a higher ethical and professional status of registering and certifying its service providers like other disciplines for effective service delivery has led this study to examine the factors influencing extension professionalisation in Nigeria. 356 extension agents from both public and private extension organisations were selected through a two-stage sampling procedure. A structured questionnaire was used to elicit information on the knowledge, attitude and perceptions on the effects of the components of professionalisation (i.e. accreditation, registration, and certification) on service delivery. The Cronbach alpha reliability values for the constructs used in the different sections of the instrument were knowledge (0.78), attitude (0.94), accreditation (0.92), registration (0.89) and certification (0.96). Data was analysed using IBM AMOS version 24 to conduct a confirmatory factor analysis to determine the interrelationships that exist between the extension agent's knowledge, attitude, and the components of professionalisation. The findings revealed a significant and strong positive correlation between the constructs of the extension agent's knowledge, attitude and the professionalisation components of accreditation, registration, and certification. These findings have implications for educating and training extension agents on professionalisation and its components to ensure its institutionalisation in the agricultural extension sector for the provision of a more ethical, competent, accountable, and efficient rural and advisory service delivery. <![CDATA[<b>Low-cost soil conservation technique for controlling gully erosion in the semi-arid area of the Free State province</b>]]> In South Africa, soil erosion is a major problem confronting natural resources. Gully erosion has a huge negative impact on soil productivity and potable water supplies, while measures to control it are expensive. Sannaspos farm which has been threatened by gully erosion was selected as a demonstration site for controlling gully erosion using low-cost control measures. The main aim of this study was to control gully erosion resulting in improved rangeland production. The technique entailed the use of old tyres and bags filled with soil. Three reference points were selected along a 240 m gully in August 2016 and monitored over 42 months. After 17 months (January 2018), gully depth decreasedfrom 70 to 34 cm, 45 to 20 cm and 35 to 19 cm at the three reference points. After 24 months (August 2018) gully depth further decreased from 34 to 27 cm, 20 to 14 cm, and 19 to 10 cm for the three points. Thirty months after installing control measures (February 2019), the gully was sealed at all reference points. By February 2020 (42 months after initiation of the trial), the entire gully was sealed and covered with various vegetation types. Use of this low-cost method to control gully erosion is recommended under similar conditions.