Scielo RSS <![CDATA[South African Journal of Agricultural Extension ]]> vol. 37 num. 1 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Socio-economic determinants of farmers' adoption of rotational woodlot technology in Kigorobya sub-county, Hoima District, Uganda</b>]]> Understanding the factors affecting farmers' adoption of rotational woodlot technologies is critical to the success of implementing tree planting programmes. This paper evaluates, using logistic and multiple regression analyses, the socioeconomic factors that influence farmers' decisions to adopt rotational woodlot technology in the farming systems of Uganda, based on a survey of 120 farmers in Kigorobya sub-county, Hoima district. The analyses demonstrate that farmers make decisions about woodlot technology based on household and field characteristics. The factors that significantly influenced adoption decisions included: gender, tree tenure security, seed supply, contact with extension and research agencies, soil erosion index, size of landholding, fuelwood scarcity, and main source of family income. To promote greater adoption of rotational woodlot technology, particular attention should be placed on the use of appropriate socioeconomic characterization, to better target technologies to areas with greater adoption potential. <![CDATA[<b>Cultural variations regarding the nature and determinants of opinion leadership</b>]]> This paper compares the findings from different countries regarding the nature and determinants of opinion leadership. The differences between white and black farmers in one country far exceed the differences between black cultures in different countries. White communities tend to have a bigger percentage of opinion leaders and socio-economic status is an important barrier to accessibility. Socio-psychological accessibility is a major constraint amongst white farmers, but not a factor whatsoever in black communities. In black communities, on the other hand, distance or physical accessibility is a serious constraint with the result that about 80 percent of the opinion leaders consulted live within a 2 km radius. This and the fact that most of the determinants normally associated with opinion leadership show a negative relationships (as opposed to the positive correlations in white communities), creates the suspicion that opinion leaders in black rural communities are neighbours or, more likely, members of the extended family. <![CDATA[<b>Women and leadership positions in the Malian Ministry of Agriculture</b>: <b>Constraints and challenges</b>]]> This study is based on a comparative analysis of female and male employees in leadership positions in the Malian Ministry of Agriculture. Special emphasis is placed on the obstacles and challenges limiting women attaining leadership positions within the Ministry. It provides insights into gender and cultural bias within the Ministry. Leadership positions within the Ministry of Agriculture in Mali are male-dominated considering the low number of females in management ranks, and little is done to help women fit into these positions. This is especially true when female officials perceive that they make more contributions such as focusing on process rather than just results, paying attention to details, showing compassion and care in decision making, expressing willingness to "go the extra mile," being sensitive in human relations, and offering fresh perspective to administrative problems. However, the male officers claimed to be more committed than their female counterparts. <![CDATA[<b>Assessment of adoption gaps in the management of aflatoxin contamination of groundnut <i>(Arachis hypogaea</i> L.)</b>]]> Groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L.) is an important oil seed crop of India. It has great potential for diversification to food uses due to its nutritive virtues. One of the major impediment for diversification is aflatoxin contamination. Aflatoxins are the toxic substances produced by strains of fungi belonging to Aspergillus flavus and A. parasiticus. The present study was undertaken during the 2005-06, rainy season in Junagadh, Gujarat, India to assess the adoption gaps in aflatoxin management practices of groundnut (AMPG) and the farmers characteristics influencing this gap. The district was selected because it was identified as one of the high risk area for aflatoxin contamination in rainy season. The results indicated that majority of the farmers were in high adoption gap category as most of the farmers had not adopted the harvest and post-harvest management practices. Farmer's characteristics knowledge, market orientation and innovativeness influenced the adoption gap significantly. Based on the results, it is suggested to formulate strategies to increase the knowledge of farmers through various extension approaches. The selection of innovative farmers for groundnut production and differentiating the contamined and afltoxin free groundnuts by the markets will help in reducing the adoption gap. <![CDATA[<b>Towards an improved agricultural extension service as a key role player in the settlement of new farmers in South Africa</b>]]> South Africa (SA) finds itself in a region where the rich countries perceive it as a sustainable and viable proposition for investment. The prospects for the future are bright but a warning light is burning: high food prices; shortage of essential food and the import of it; 50% of land reform projects have failed. Can the SA Agricultural Extension service play a role to address these issues? Research in SA clearly indicates a new concept of Extension and identifies 13 essential principles underlying any Extension approach, ranging from an educational and pro-active approach to an advisory and reactive approach. By means of consultation, discussion and dialogue extension practitioners and trainers developed an Agricultural Landscape for Extension, identifying specific concepts, study fields and essential knowledge/skills areas that form the "playing field" for the extension agent. An effective extension service is based on certain fixed principles namely: The interrelationship between agricultural development and human development; Development being needs based; Participation being essential for all role players; and Any intervention program being focused on behaviour change. The Landscape highlights the following concepts as being necessary to improve Agricultural Extension: - Technical competency (the extension agent must be an expert in at least one field of agriculture); - Communication skills (verbal; non verbal; written and mass communication); - Group facilitation skills (group dynamics and leadership); and - Extension management (program planning, management functions, ethics. monitoring and evaluation and leadership development). Land reform in SA is a priority program with efficient productivity as its ultimate outcome. The settlement of new farmers and specifically post settlement support become decisive. Guidelines to support the extension agent are: The selection of new farmers by means of an effective screening instrument; The farmer, or group of beneficiaries, need to work cohesively. The new farmer must have a clear understanding of the farm as a business; Where possible the new farmer should be linked to a mentor; The farm needs a viable and sustainable business plan; The farm and farmer need financial support as prescribed in the business plan; and The production of produce needs to be market driven. To-day's clients demand a professional service. The professional registration of extension agents should in own interest and in the interest of the industry be implemented as a matter of urgency. Extension in SA needs a vision that is focused on the future. <![CDATA[<b>Production systems of traditional leafy vegetables</b>: <b>Challenges for research and extension</b>]]> Traditional leafy vegetables (TLVs) have formed part of rural household food security strategies for generations. The role and production of TLVs (morogo/miroho/imifino) were determined in three culturally and agro-ecologically diverse rural communities in South Africa. A questionnaire survey was combined with qualitative methodologies to access the indigenous or local knowledge associated with the production of these crops. This paper focuses on factors that are unique to TLV production systems. TLV production is dominated by women farmers in an attempt to sustain immediate household food security. The cultural environment within which the women find themselves, their ability to access needed resources and the use of technical knowledge (predominantly local knowledge) are interlinked. Research and extension need to recognize the potential role of TLVs in food security strategies of households and the influence of the cultural environment on this female dominated production system. These factors play a significant role in the women's ability to produce and maintain household food security. <![CDATA[<b>The influence of decentralization on effectiveness of extension organization in Oromia state, Ethiopia</b>]]> Against the background of frequent organisational changes and restructuring, often based on impulsive decisions rather than structured feasibility studies or evaluations, this article examines the influence of decentralization on the performance of an extension organization. Based on a survey of 353 respondents from Oromia region, one of the nine regions in Ethiopia, representing various agro ecological zones and managerial positions, it examines the current level of organizational performance, the influence of the 2002 restructuring on organizational performance and the factors influencing the organizational effectiveness. The knowledge of these influences is important for improving the current and future design of organizational change and development practices. The findings show that the current organizational efficiency is low. The effect of the 2002 restructuring on organizational performance was mostly small or negligible. The organizational performance was influenced by various factors; the most critical being skilled manpower, availability of accommodation/offices, extension teaching aids; farmers' motivation, collaborations between institutions, government policy & regulations and political forces. These findings can be useful in assisting managers in their endeavours to correct weaknesses and to focus on the most critical issues for the improvement of organizational performance. <![CDATA[<b>Towards the development of a monitoring and evaluation policy</b>: <b>An experience from Limpopo Province</b>]]> The near collapse of the public extension service in South Africa and the efforts currently under way to develop and implement recovery plans, call for actions that have significant and immediate results. Based on the assumed important role that monitoring and evaluation (M&E) can play in the improvement of current and future extension, this article is concerned with the development of an appropriate policy in this regard. For such a policy to be appropriate and acceptable at the operational level, a total of 324 front line extension workers and managers (a total of 324 and representing a 30 percent sample) were involved in group interviews in which their views were captured in semi-structured questionnaires after making use of nominal group and Delphi techniques. The article gives an overview of the perceived need for and importance of monitoring and evaluation as well as what should be the most important criteria and ingredients of an effective monitoring and evaluation policy for extension in the Limpopo Province; the most important of which pertain to the development of a unit (initially a working group) at provincial level taking responsibility of the further development and fine tuning of an M&E policy and its implementation. Recommendations relating to specific issues of monitoring and evaluation include: increased monitoring through continuous evaluation of behaviour determinants, setting a maximum rather than a minimum of objectives and encouraging accountability not only to management but also to local institutions and beneficiaries. <![CDATA[<b>Evaluation of the appropriateness of certain grain production technologies for small-scale farmers</b>]]> The paper suggests a combination of both modern, high-input technologies and low-input technologies in a context based technology development approach. These technologies are: improved maize varieties; row planting; legumes in the cropping system; reduced tillage practices and weed control. Although some adaptations are needed, none of the innovations in the program failed the test of appropriateness completely. According to the findings Open Pollinated Varieties (OPV's), although intensively promoted, were only preferred by 35% of the farmers while hybrid seed was preferred by 59% of the farmers. The majority of farmers (63%) indicated that they do plant maize in rows with a mechanised planter; despite high labour costs 59% of farmers still control weeds by hand and 61% of the respondents do realise the economic advantage of reduced tillage practices but still does not implement the practices. The strong linkages between all role players and active farmer participation are probably the most important reasons for the fact that farmers are still enthusiastic and eager to continue with the program.