Scielo RSS <![CDATA[South African Journal of Agricultural Extension ]]> vol. 40 num. 1 lang. pt <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Marketability and sustainability of food security programmes</b>: <b>products and productivity of agricultural projects</b>]]> This paper addresses the marketability and sustainability of food security programmes in Limpopo Province. Food security features prominently because poverty and inequality remains a huge challenge in South Africa's rural sector. Thus the Government has initiated the establishment of agricultural community projects as part of interventions for creating jobs and improving income levels. However, lack of monitoring mechanisms in established projects create a challenge of non-sustainability of these projects. The study has used formative evaluation approach to determine the effectiveness of the established food security programme. A mixed model approach was used to collect data from key informants and project members. Descriptive statistics were computed using SPSS. Most projects were on vegetable, poultry and piggery production. The study has found that 64.1% of the respondents reported that access to inputs was not a challenge. Project products are sold to community members who accounted to 79%, and few (1%) to individuals owning business, clinics and outside the community. Project members advertised their produce mainly verbally (47.2%). Marketing strategies for project products were lacking and this creates a negative impact on income generated and sustainability of projects. The paper concludes by suggesting that project members should be advised on appropriate marketing strategies. <![CDATA[<b>Does extension have a role to play in rural development?</b>]]> This paper seeks to justify that extension has a role to play in rural development. The author has adopted a desktop study in which literature was reviewed and synthesized in order to establish facts about rural development and extension. The author discusses the meanings of agricultural extension and rural development. He locates the place of extension in rural development where it can make its contribution. Furthermore he identifies five specific factors that are central to extension in rural development. Some of the factors include: food security, conservation of natural resources, dissemination of useful information, sustainability of projects, and empowerment of farming groups. The paper concludes by suggesting some recommendations on how extension can better be utilized in order to achieve sustained results in rural development. The recommended factors include: establishment of rural development Centres, developing farmer leadership, establishment of agricultural development teams, collaborating with other role players and developing a new extension agenda. The recommendations are broad and further research is recommended to specifically look into other factors that may have a serious impact in farmer's lives such as sustainability, increasing farmer income and positive perceptions. <![CDATA[<b>"Learning to do, doing to live" transformational behaviour in commercializing traditional agriculture</b>]]> A fundamental question being addressed by agricultural extension in South Africa is the role of agricultural extension within rural development. Scientists are being challenged to re-consider that their role in technology development is through innovation and a complex process involving a reorganization of social relationships not just technical practice. In this context, technology shifts from something to be applied to something leveraged for networking and organizing. To ensure the future, the idea of sustainability as a dynamic process rather than an endpoint offers a route for understanding and engagement between research, policy and personal spheres. For both research and extension agendas; in considering traditional agriculture in the context of economic development we have to create the capacity to co-operate in a way that opens up the possibility of social change; a way of interacting that preserves and creates new forms of social cohesion. Including the non-material contributions of local wisdom being partnered by science allows for a new phase of leadership in developing rural economies. Agricultural extension supported by participatory research and development, is critically positioned for taking on this leadership role. The reflections in this paper are drawn from the author's PhD research (2006-2010) relying on Grounded Theory as a theoretical tap-root for interpreting decision making processes in the commercialisation of homestead agriculture with farmers from the Ezemvelo Farmers Association, Umbumbulu, KwaZulu-Natal. <![CDATA[<b>Agricultural extension in the facilitation of biodiversity conservation in South Africa</b>]]> Biodiversity conservation, particularly on communal and rural farmlands, is still of a great concern in South Africa. This worry is further worsened with the different threats, ranging from deforestation and habitat fragmentation, encroachment, pollution, invasion of alien species, wildfires, logging, to hunting that communities pose to biodiversities on their lands. Agriculture emerges the greatest factor posing the most threats to biodiversity. Using this framework of interconnectedness between biodiversity and agriculture, this paper presents a philosophical argument exploring the role that agricultural extension can play to realise the goals of biodiversity conservation on South African communal and farm lands. Drawing on relevant published works, this paper argues that extension is particularly well positioned to address biodiversity conservation concern through the instruments of social mobilization, education, indigenous knowledge facilitation, linkages and ongoing advisory services. <![CDATA[<b>An analysis of the Mngcunube <i>"hands-on”</i> mentorship program for small-scale stock farmers in the Eastern Cape, South Africa</b>]]> The Elundini program included small-scale livestock farmers in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. The program's data analyses and the impact on farmers and the economy were evaluated. Since program inception, sheep mortality decreased from >20% to 3%. Lamb weaning rates were approximately one lamb for every two ewes (50%). Farmers' annual income increased from R650.00 to R20,956.00 (R1.00~ $0.15) with a total net gain of >R56 million for the region. Strict mentor management principles and payment for services were fundamental to the program's success. The impact of the program was immediately apparent and farmers were willing to pay for mentorship and treatments, provided they experience the benefits. <![CDATA[<b>The evaluation of the Subtropical Crops Extension and Advisory Service (Subtrop) as perceived by farmer members in the subtropical regions, South Africa</b>]]> In order to minimize duplication, consolidate resources and strengthen industry representation to government, the South African Avocado Growers Association (SAAGA), South African Litchi Growers Association (SALGA), South African Macadamia Growers Association (SAMAC) and the South African Mango Growers Association (SAMGA); amalgamated under an umbrella organization called Subtrop. This paper focuses on the effect the amalgamation had on Extension services to the abovementioned organizations. The effect was measured by conducting a survey which measured Subtrop member responses. The survey used a structured questionnaire which was completed individually at group interview sessions. Farmer and opinion leader respondents provided their perceptions and rated the extension services of the Technical Department of Subtrop. Respondents indicated that the study group as well as individual advice on farm practises as their preferred approach of the Extension service of Subtrop. A total of 54% of the respondents rated advice on farm practises as very important while 69% rated the study groups as very important. The efficiency of study groups were all rated higher after the amalgamation. More farmer respondents (64%) than opinion leaders (42%) indicated that they do not use the Subtrop website. Based on the findings it is recommended that Subtrop and its stakeholders need to develop an extension policy and strategy to ensure the deliverance of a service of excellence to its members. <![CDATA[<b>Critical natural resources factors that promote the adoption of new In-Field Rainwater Harvesting <i>(IRWH)</i> by extensionist in Lambani, Limpopo Province</b>]]> This paper describes natural resource factors in order to assist extension service with decision making and planning purposes in Lambani, a rural farming community in the Limpopo Province. The natural resource factors (soil, climate and rangeland) were described for implementation of Rainwater Harvesting and Conservation (RWH&C) techniques in Lambani. The long-term climate data was used to characterize the climate in the study area. An intensive-grid soil survey was conducted and the soils were described and classified according to South African Classification System. Climate results indicate that the low rainfall should be utilized effectively by making use of RWH&C techniques. The soil survey results showed that the area comprise of eight different (8) soil forms of which three (3) are not recommended for crop production. A soil map showing soils in this community was created and it is recommended that it should be used for land-use planning. <![CDATA[<b>The influence of beneficiaries needs on project success or failure in the North West Province, South Africa</b>]]> The starting point of any project is a need and a need is much more concrete and more definable: otherwise a project can never be well planned For a project to be successful, the needs of the beneficiaries has to be clearly analysed and understood for appropriate planning to take place (Swanepoel & de Beer 2006: 172). The main objective of this study is to determine the influence that the beneficiaries needs had on the project success or failure as perceived by both the beneficiaries (project participants) and the serving extension officers. The study revealed that 20.8% of the project participants and 30.2% of the extension officers indicated that the farmer's needs were only mostly met. Secondly, significantly more project participants (26.4%) than extension officers (13.6%) indicated that the choice of project content was based on calculated impact. A total of 56% extension officers and only 20% project participants indicated "other content of choice" as their most important option. The majority (52.4%) of both respondent categories indicated that the training received was very relevant. Project participants indicated a need for 25.25 mean days of training while extension officers indicated a need for 26.71 mean days of training. The majority (52.4%) of both respondent categories indicated that the training was very much relevant and at least 48% of both respondent categories indicated that the need assessment was done on continuous bases. A negative aspect is that 31% of all the respondents indicated that needs assessment was only done once a year while 12% indicated that there was no assessment done. The majority ofproject participants (73%) reported that they were consulted before the project started and only 7.1% reported that they were not consulted, while 38.3 % of both respondent categories indicated that the Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) method was used to assess their needs. The findings clearly indicate a significant association between farmer's needs and project failure or success.