Scielo RSS <![CDATA[South African Journal of Agricultural Extension ]]> vol. 41 num. 1 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Food security and biodiversity conservation in the context of sustainable agriculture: the role of agricultural extension</b>]]> Accomplishing household food security simultaneously with biodiversity conservation, particularly on communal farm lands, constitutes a great challenge in South Africa. This is because biodiversity species are being threatened on lands wherein agricultural production is done in the name of securing food availability. The general threats to biodiversity are in the forms of deforestation and habitat fragmentation, encroachment, pollution, invasion of alien species, wild fires, logging, and hunting. Over time, agriculture emerges the greatest threat to biodiversity. Using this framework, this paper presents a scientific argument, backed with empirical evidences, by 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 both food security and biodiversity conservation concerns through the instruments of linkages, local knowledge facilitation, social capital and education. <![CDATA[<b>Farmers' perceptual, emotional and behavioural responses to environmental policy changes</b>]]> Environmental policies purposefully encourage environmental protection by redirecting human decision-making and activities. Achieving the right human responses to environmental policy is therefore critically important. This paper discusses the regulatory framework and pastoral farmers' adaptation to a new regulation, consisting of rules, designed to protect the pristine waters of Lake Taupo from land based non-point source nitrogen emissions. The lake is an internationally recognised treasure and New Zealand icon, however, its water quality has been deteriorating over decades because of rising nitrogen levels, 37% of which comes from pastoral farming activities in the catchment. The paper discusses agricultural extension in the context of emotional, perceptual and behavioural change. <![CDATA[<b>Model for the integrated and transversal monitoring and evaluation of rural development programmes implemented by government departments</b>]]> Literature indicates that there is a lack of an integrated approach to monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of interventions focusing on rural development, resulting in policy development and analyses not being supported, transparency and accountability on rural spending not enhanced and organisational learning not encouraged. The study looked into the institutionalisation of M&E in government. The research was conducted in three phases: Comparative Case Studies (Canada, Chile, Brazil, Uganda and the United Nations Development Programme), a single Case Study (Limpopo Provincial Government, South Africa) and the development of a model for the integrated and transversal M&:E of rural development programmes implemented by government departments (being the general objective of this empirical study). Qualitative data were obtained through document analysis and desk based survey of existing information from various sources. M&E and rural development specialists and agriculturalists were sampled and interviewed using a semi-structured interview schedule. To support the three phases of the research, the data collection method of experience surveying was also utilised. The study found that M&E is not adequately institutionalised, particularly in the rural development and agricultural sector. The study therefore recommends capacity building on the M&E skills of professionals in the agricultural extension and advisory sector. <![CDATA[<b>Community group environment for people participation and empowerment: the socio-cultural perspective</b>]]> The study was conducted in Makhuduthamaga Municipal area in Sekhukhune District of Limpopo Province in South Africa. The study observed how socio-cultural factors impact on participation environment in community development groups particularly in rural sections of society. To generate insight on these dynamics, some sets of empirical data were collected from community groups and individuals. Qualitative and quantitative sets of data were collected through structured interview schedule from simple random samples of twelve interest groups and twenty-eight individuals, and a quota sample of two organisational linkage structures. Document review of the groups was also conducted. Qualitative sets of data were collected from a simple random sample of two groups through participant observation to establishing their group dynamics and cultural protocols. The study found that the majority of community groups consisted of elderly people. It also found that the majority of people join community groups to participate in social improvement and participation. From document reviewed, no statute was found to provide for socio-cultural protocols in the groups' activities. From the observation, the study found that there are some socio-cultural norms, practices and values that negatively impact on the participation and empowerment of people in community development groups. <![CDATA[<b>Interdisciplinary drought risk assessment for agriculture: the case of communal farmers in the Northern Cape Province, South Africa</b>]]> Interdisciplinary drought risk assessment provides the true reflection of drought risk by integrating hazard data with adaptation, vulnerability and coping capacity. Traditional methods for drought risk calculation based purely on meteorological extremes do not provide an accurate reflection of disaster drought. Communal farmers in the Northern Cape Province, South Africa, experience disaster droughts regularly; even normal dry periods are experienced as disaster droughts. This research rejects the hypothesis of climate change as the reason for increased drought in the Northern Cape but rather highlight vulnerability and lack of coping capacity as the main sources of disaster droughts, especially amongst communal farmers in the Northern Cape. <![CDATA[<b>The role of a pluralistic extension system in enhancing agriculture productivity in Mozambique</b>]]> This paper presents an overview of the characteristics and roles of key role-players involved in agricultural development in Mozambique. As in many other countries worldwide, extension service provision is characterised by the multiple service providers responding to the needs and demands of farmers. This is unlike in the recent past when agricultural services were mainly delivered by the public sector. The 25 years of public extension have been characterised by different degrees of progress. Supporting extension policy was developed and amended as required during this period, which impacted positively on farmer coverage (number of districts operating) as well as the number of farmers served per extensionist. The expansion of public extension services created new challenges for the delivering of extension services. Within the pluralistic extension system of Mozambique, NGO's and private commodity extension organisations play an important role in supporting smallholder farmers. To be able to learn from the different experiences in offering extension by the various service providers is only possible through effective communication and sharing of experiences between public, NGO's and private extension service providers. Despite some local based initiatives seeking to enhance collaboration between public and NGOs extension, no official extension platform (multi stakeholder) at national level exists which can take care of the coordination and management of the pluralistic extension system. <![CDATA[<b>Value congruence, the success of group farming in agricultural extension</b>]]> Group farms are schemes involving multiple individuals not related by kin or employment relationships, who share resources for the purpose of farming. Successive group farming endeavours dictates group functioning with converging individual goals. Group farming in South Africa is common but not always successful and there is evidence that social factors are a key, but research investigating the relationship between social factors and the functioning of group farms in South Africa is lacking. This study examines value congruence as a social attribute that affect group work. Values are that which is regarded as important and pursued as goals, with values ranked in order of priority making up a value system. Value systems are both attributes of group and of the individuals making up the group. Of importance is the degree of congruency between the individual member's value and that of the group. Evidence from organisational sociology indicates that in high performing groups the gap between group and individual value is narrow. The objective of the study is to determine the degree of value congruence between group and individual value, in group farm schemes and to link this to the functioning of the group farm. <![CDATA[<b>An empirical investigation into in-service training at North West Provincial Department of Agriculture</b>]]> Farmers' (emerging and commercial) results do not only reflect performance but also depict the quality of learning and teaching that they have received. However, the focus seems to be only on farmers' results, particularly emerging farmers results' (rural areas), without regard to other facets of the Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Environment which have a direct impact on the farmers' results. Amongst others, there are extension officers and in-service trainers who need to be taken into account to ascertain the quality of service that farmers receive. This study focuses on the provision of in-service training through the cascade model of training in the North West Provincial Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Environment (DACE). While their training approaches are varied and enjoyed by most extension officers, there are inconsistencies in terms of the evaluation of the in-service training sessions. The results show, both the in-service trainers and extension officers are satisfied with in-service training in the Provincial Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Environment. However, in-service training in general needs to be reviewed in order to maximize the implementation of effective skills development within of the department. <![CDATA[<b>Agricultural extension training needs of the non-government advising sector in South Africa</b>]]> Extension practitioners from the private sector are highly trained in the Natural Science. Some shortfalls in their Extension Science training have been identified. Perceived training needs in the Extension Science within this sector have been privatised. A number of possible training inputs and options are suggested. Options can be pursued by way of the Continuous Professional Development (CPD) models as already practiced by a number of Professions. Such investment can assist management with personnel evaluation. Credible and experienced seminar style (including capable retirees) would become involved in CPD programmes and as mentors within in-service training initiatives. The private sector is becoming increasingly involved in the upliftment of the emerging agricultural sector. Many emerging farmers are seen as the Commercial Gardens of the future and are being empowered by their Extensionists to fulfil such roles. The quality of the training cannot be compromised. Compromising education and training programmes is disadvantageous to the Extensionist but even more so to the disadvantage of the farming clientele. Only 16.3% of the practicing agricultural Extensionist lack sufficient training in the Natural Sciences to register with the South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions (SACNASP). 43,5% of the field workers (80) are members of Learned Societies in the Natural Sciences, 12,5% are members of the South African Society for Agricultural Extension(SASAE) and only 6,3% are registered with SACNASP. Communication is considered as the most important Extension training module. <![CDATA[<b>An overview of agricultural extension in South Africa</b>]]> The paper reflects on the diversity and the multitude of challenges mastered by agricultural extension in South Africa since its founding in 1925. The post-apartheid era (since 1994) saw drastic organizational and other changes. The present-day service is facing new professional challenges aimed at improving the delivery of service to a growing and technically more divergent farming community. The first 69 years of agricultural extension saw the establishment of a diversity of compartmentalized services: to the commercial (white) sector and to the black, Indian and Coloured communities. Agricultural co-operatives, community organizations and the private sector also rendered services. The South African Society for Agricultural Extension (SASAE) and tertiary training institutions in the agricultural as well as the agricultural extension disciplines were founded during these years. The post-apartheid era (since 1994) has raised questions concerning effective service delivery and professionalism. It would appear that dual-registration by extension practitioners with the South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions (SACNASP) as well as the SASAE should enjoy popular support. <![CDATA[<b>The role of extension officers in the evaluation of agricultural projects in the Bojanala Region, North West Province, South Africa</b>]]> Research indicated clearly the importance of participatory evaluation of projects, the involvement of all project stakeholders, and that evaluation is not a once off activity at the end of a project. There are currently 474 agricultural projects in operation in the Bojanala Region of the North West Province and the objective of this study is to determine extension officers knowledge and participation with regard to their proficiency to formulate project objectives; determine the frequency of project evaluation and to determine the extent of project committee members involvement in the evaluation of projects. Specific attention was given to the influence of the independent variables gender; age; level of education and years of experience of the extension officers. Only 31% male against 17% female reveal an excellent proficiency to formulate project objectives. 70% of the respondents with 15 years or less of service indicated an above and excellent proficiency to formulate objectives. The younger the respondents the more (70%) they evaluate the projects on a monthly and less frequency than the older respondents (43.5%). Only a slight difference occur namely in favour of the more experienced respondents (33%) against the less experienced respondents (27%), knowing the committee member's involvement in evaluation.