Scielo RSS <![CDATA[South African Journal of Agricultural Extension ]]> vol. 44 num. 2 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>The comparative role of independent and intervening variables on influencing the adoption of nitrogen fertilization among maize growers in the Njombe District</b>]]> Various practices including Nitrogen fertilization have been recommended in the Njombe District to maintain its status as one of the districts that is famous in maize production in Tanzania. Despite the recommendation the level of adoption is not convincing that forced this study to investigate variables that are most important in determining the adoption behaviour. A cross sectional research design was used to collect data from 113 respondents selected from four villages namely, Ulembwe, Igagala, Kibena and Uwemba. The statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) was used for data analysis. The findings reveal that the intervening variables (like efficiency misperception (EM), need tension (NT), prominence and knowledge) played a great role in determining the adoption behaviour compared to independent variables (like age, sex, level of education, farm size and area under maize production). It is therefore recommended that more emphasis should be placed in addressing intervening variables in order to enhance adoption in the study area. <![CDATA[<b>The sustainable agriculture imperative: implications for South African agricultural extension</b>]]> This paper draw on relevant published (review) papers to argue that extension is well positioned to promote sustainable agriculture through five pillars of sustainability. Agriculture is not only greatly influenced by the environment in which it operates, but in recent decades it has become increasingly apparent that some modern farming practices may harm the natural environment. In fact in most countries of the Southern Africa, severe environmental problems are direct results of modern farming practices. As a result of the ever growing human population in South Africa, farmers are forced to resort to farming practices that will increase productivity, but compromising the natural environment, in order to ensure food security. Thus the need for establishing frameworks, methods and processes that support viable and attractive sustainable agriculture is imperative. This is particularly true in South Africa's context with its primacy on transforming the agricultural sector where, in the efforts to redress issues of the past, it runs the danger of replicating the inefficient, unsustainable practices of that same past. Ultimately, this has significant implications for South African agricultural extension, which need to be able to help the nation balance the increasing and often conflicting demand for more efficient production, greater inclusion of marginalised smallholder farmers, and creating wealth in impoverished rural communities. The paper concludes by presenting some philosophical recommendations that agricultural extension can utilize in promoting sustainable agriculture. <![CDATA[<b>Factors affecting sustainability of land reform projects in Ehlanzeni District Mpumalanga Province, South Africa</b>]]> The study evaluated factors affecting sustainability of land reform projects in Mpumalanga Province in Bushbuckridge Local Municipality (BLM) of Ehlanzeni District. The study was conducted between July and September 2014. A random sampling technique was used in selecting 31 key informants from the projects. Data were collected using face-to-face interviews with key informants that had benefited from the projects using a questionnaire administered as an interview schedule. Data collected were analysed using SPSS. The results shows that both males and females were well represented (50% males) and (50% females), 42% of participants are above 50 years, 83% does not have farming skills, 42% had formal education up to High school level, 75% received agricultural training. Training improved project performance (67%), sustainability (67%), enhanced job creation (58%) and boosted project profitability (92%). 67% received post training support, 92% received training through top down approach. The most factors affecting projects sustainability are lack of government support (75%), failure to receive training on time (75%), and complicated bureaucracy in accessing training (67%). <![CDATA[<b>The sustainability of small scale cane growers through youth involvement in North Coast region of Kwazulu Natal, South Africa</b>]]> Cane farming makes an important contribution to the socio-economic development of the rural areas where it takes place. These cane growing areas are characterised by high levels of poverty and youth unemployment. The current crop of cane growers is ageing and there is a need to prepare to handover the baton to the younger generation of cane growers. The minimal involvement of youth in cane farming will have negative implications for the sustainability of cane production in the rural areas. Sustainability of cane production will heavily depend on the current and future participation of young people in cane growing. The researcher's hypothesis was that there is a lack of youth involvement in agriculture which is associated with negative perceptions and attitudes towards cane farming. As a result these farms cannot be sustained beyond the current generation of farmers because young people are not interested in agriculture in general and cane growing in particular. The results disproved the hypothesis. Results showed that young people whose parents are cane growers are already involved in farming activities and assisting their parents. This involvement also increases their willingness to take over farming from their parents. The results show positive inputs in terms of encouraging sustainability in the future of cane farming. <![CDATA[<b>Verification of the existence of food security projects in Limpopo Province, South Africa</b>]]> Food Security Projects initiated by the government of South Africa in order to help alleviate poverty within Limpopo Province have proved unsustainable and difficult to provide for what they were mandated to provide to the satisfaction of the government, which is to create jobs and alleviate poverty. The purpose of this study is to verify the existence of food security projects in Limpopo province of South Africa. The study was conducted in all the five districts of Limpopo Province, namely; Mopani, Vhembe, Capricorn, Sekhukhune, and Waterberg. Qualitative data was collected through semi-structured interviews which were administered to one official from the Provincial Department of Health and Social Development, one official from the Department of Agriculture and five tribal council representatives who represented all the tribal authorities at district level and are knowledgeable about developmental issues. Document analysis was also conducted at the two provincial departments. The coded data was then analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS version 22). Frequency tables and charts were computed on a computer spreadsheet. The findings of this Study revealed that there are 347 food security projects in Limpopo Province with 338 declared functional. This Study will provide policy makers with policy directives on how a database of food security projects can be kept so that they can be known. <![CDATA[<b>Public extension agents' need for new competencies: evidence from a climate variability study in Limpopo Province, South Africa</b>]]> Changes occurring in the Extension environment include that of climate. Reduced and sporadic rainfall is among the effects of climate change and variability with consequent negative effects on food production. Smallholder agriculture in most developing countries world-wide, including South Africa, is largely rain-fed. Extension agents, therefore, need to constantly improve their capabilities to remain useful to farming communities. The purpose of the paper is to determine Extension agents' climate variability coping competencies required to effectively support smallholder crop farmers' production. The study adopted a multi-stage random sampling approach to site and respondents' selection. Semi-structured questionnaire was used to collect data in 2014 from smallholder crop farmers in four municipalities of Limpopo province. Information was also collected from Extension managers and field-level extension agents of the Limpopo Department of Agriculture by means of questionnaires. The most popular climate variability coping strategy promoted by most extension agents was conservation agriculture. Small yield differences between Extension service-recipients and non-recipients indicate that Extension support has minimal effect on farmers' production. Agents need new competencies regarding correct application conservation agriculture. The study recommends the involvement of extension agents, scientists and farmers in adaptive trials for effective implementation of conservation agricultural practices to improve crop yields. <![CDATA[<b>Perceptions of extension advisors on privatization and outsourcing as an option for development paradigm in Limpopo Province and the lessons for future</b>]]> There is no one set of challenges that justify privatization of extension and advisory services both in developed and developing areas. It is argued that factors that can influence privatization include; limited budget provisions and ineffectiveness of extension and advisory services. Literature is full of lessons on the failure and success of privatization in organizations in different regions of the world both developed and underdeveloped as indicated in the studies commissioned by the World Bank, unfortunately South Africa was not part of the study. It is for this reason that this study was conducted in Limpopo Province of South Africa in order to establish the acceptability or non-acceptability of privatization and outsourcing. The paper explores options for privatisation in South Africa with a focus in Limpopo Province. A sample of 324 extension officers out of 700 extension officers from the province was taken from the five districts of Limpopo constituting a sample of 46%, and their opinions were gathered through quantitative design. The results show that extension efficiency was falling below the international standards when measured through the input/output ratio of 100/130. The majority of extension advisors (70%) showed resistance to privatization, and the mean scale of the benefits of privatization was rated 6.7 as the highest in 7 categories. The extension advisors did not perceive any benefits for privatization hence rated 38% from all the districts. The paper concludes with recommendations that warn that privatization is ought to be taken with great care because the marginalized and the small scale farmers cannot afford to pay for extension services. <![CDATA[<b>An extension approach to close the gap between suppliers and users of agrometeorological services in the South-Western Free State of South Africa</b>]]> Agrometeorological information, advisories and services remains one of the major hindrances toward productive agriculture. Well researched and scientifically proven information is inaccessible to most potential farmers whether commercial, resource poor or subsistence. A noticeable gap exists between information developers or suppliers and endusers such as farmers. This paper is aimed at discussing the existing gaps and practical solutions toward the enhancement of proper information dissemination. In workshops organised by the Agricultural Research Council in partnership with the University of the Free State on the training of extension agents the following was discovered: the interviewed extension agents indicated that 13% had good background on the application of agrometeorological information and 87% had no skill. About 80% followed the daily weather forecast. But 86% of the participants could not differentiate between short term forecast, seasonal and long-term predictions. The need for intensive training of extension agents on agrometeorological information, advisories and services was emphasised, since such information is the integral part of agricultural decision-making toward sustainable agricultural productivity and food security. <![CDATA[<b>The implications of a weak public extension service for the productivity performance of Karoo Agriculture</b>]]> This study used data on farmers' preferred sources of information in three areas of their business to investigate what happens to farm productivity when the public extension service is dismantled. The majority of the farmers interviewed preferred the public sector service for grazing information. The group was divided on the best source of animal husbandry advice; 30% preferred the public extension service while 35% indicated that input salesmen, buyers, producers' organisations or the media were their preferred source. In these two areas one in five farmers indicated that they trust their own experience most, while 13% felt unsure of where to get good advice. These farmers seemed to find it more difficult to find good information on predator management than on either of the other two topics. Nobody considered the state to have any predator management expertise, while 35% of the group preferred advice from professional hunters and 37% indicated that they rely on their own experience. There was an inverse relationship between coverage and the degree of privatisation as expected, but surprisingly a preference for private sources of advice was associated with much better productivity outcomes than a reliance on the public extension service. <![CDATA[<b>Weak and or non-existent farmer-research-extension linkage structures, a cause for concern: the Nyanga District perspective, Zimbabwe</b>]]> The purpose of the study was to establish the current state of public research-extension-farmer linkages in Nyanga district of Zimbabwe. The target sample population was comprised of 150 communal farmers (N=150) from three clusters in Nyanga districts, as well as 12 extension officers (N=12) and six research officers (N=6). The study revealed that evaluation of the frequency of communication and communication channels used by the three stakeholders does not suggest or support any proper structural linkages. The study also revealed very weak farmers-extension linkages and non-existent farmer-research linkages as well as research-extension linkages. There is a general lack of understanding of the concept of linkage amongst research and extension officers as well as the farmers. <![CDATA[<b>Mobile phone use by small-scale farmers: a potential to transform production and marketing in Zimbabwe</b>]]> Smallholder farmers are major contributors of horticultural produce. Women's contribution is noteworthy. Meeting market demand on time and avoiding market 'floods' is a challenge among communal farmers, leading to post harvest losses partly due to lack of information and uninformed decision making. Mobile phones have potential to connect farmers to markets, close the information gap and enable informed decisions. Currently most farmers target a few markets leading to market 'floods', low prices and fresh produce deterioration while some potential markets remain untapped. A survey conducted in 2015 covering 131 farmers in Svosve-Wenimbi, Marondera district of Mashonaland East province in Zimbabwe evaluated mobile phone ownership and use in farming; and its potential in transforming production and marketing. High literacy and mobile phone ownership of95.32% and 94.45% respectively was reported, with 16% already accessing advisory services over mobile phone. 51.1% utilised various mobile phone services including accessing market information on inputs and produce, advisory services, weather data, mobile phone money transfers for transaction and crop insurance. By using mobile phones farmers made informed decisions and saved time and transport cost. Mobile phone ICT can promote better production, marketing, food security and livelihoods and more farmers may adopt the technology. <![CDATA[<b>A comparison of project participants and extension officers' perception regarding knowledge of production in agricultural projects in the North West Province, South Africa</b>]]> The study examined the perception and knowledge of project participants and extension officers about production knowledge in agricultural projects. The objective of the study was to compare the perception and knowledge of project participants and extension officers regarding production knowledge in agricultural projects before and at interview. The questionnaire was designed to collect data, in which structured and unstructured questions were used. To ensure a good flow of ideas, the questionnaire was divided into distinct sections. Data was captured and analysed by the Department of Statistics of the University of Pretoria. The data was collected by means of personal interviews with a total of 129 project participants and 75 extension officers. Knowledge of both respondent categories was assessed in terms of participants' knowledge about the commodities to be produced for a particular area before production, and at interview. Knowledge assessment was based on the production status of the commodity, special design requirements, special machines and equipment requirements, special transport requirements, quality assurance requirements, labour requirements, and time devoted on the produce. The major findings were as follows: (1) Project participants did not have knowledge at the start of their project, but had acquired knowledge by the time of interviews and there was a clear indication of a need for structured training at the project level. <![CDATA[<b>Poultry-based poverty alleviation projects in Ehlanzeni District Municipality: do they contribute to the South African government's 'developmental state' ambition?</b>]]> The aim of this study was to identify both institutional and production constraints to the success of poultry-based poverty alleviation projects (PAPs) in Bushbuckridge Municipality of the Ehlanzeni District of Mpumalanga Province. A mixed methods research design was used. Purposive sampling was used to select 10 Chairpersons, 20 ordinary members, andfive extension officers of PAPs who served as respondents in the study. Face-to-face interviews were conducted using a semi-structured guide to collect qualitative data. The qualitative data was analysed using the Atlas ti 7.0.81 software. The results were used to develop a questionnaire employed to collect quantitative data from 116 respondents. The Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 23.0 was used to analyze the latter data. The major institutional constraints identified, in descending order of severity, were: lack of regulation ofprices of poultry feed, lack of government start-up capital/subsidy, inadequate extension shows the poor support the PAPs receive. High price of poultry feeds force PAPs to stock fewer chickens was the major production constraint followed by diseases, in particular New Castle and Bronchitis are killing chickens and water supply is so erratic and unreliable that it affects effective running of poultry-based PAPs. It was concluded that despite the wide range of constraints facing them, PAPs were improving people's livelihoods. The need for revamping the local extension service in order to deal with the numerous challenges that the PAPs faced was highlighted. Central to this reengineering of the extension support system is the need for creating platforms and opportunities for the PAPs to co-learn and learn from each other, both of which are fundamental ingredients of sustainability. <![CDATA[<b>A survey of lick supplementation and management practices of commercial beef farmers in the Zastron District</b>]]> A study was conducted to determine the supplementation and management practices of commercial beef farmers. 48 commercial farmers from the Zastron district were selected for this study out of a prospective of 60 farmers that were bona fide commercial farmers and members of Free State Agriculture. The farmers reported the following calving percentage ranges: one farmer (2.1%) between 50 and 59%, three farmers (6.3%) between 60 and 69%, 19 farmers between 70 and 79%, 22 farmers between 80 and 89% and three farmers between 90 and 99%. Preventative vaccination was common practice as only one farmer did not vaccinate any of his cattle (n = 48). The provision of supplements seemed to be general practice (100%, n = 48) in the district as all the farmers gave some form of supplementation to their cattle. Only 22.9% (n = 11) of the farmers provided supplements according to the production status of the animals and the main reason for not doing so is that 37.8% (n = 14) of the respondents believed that it complicated management and 18.9% (n = 7) thought it not necessary. It is believed that a lack of understanding of the function of supplements by some of the farmers in the district could be the cause of what could be considered as insufficient supplementation by animal nutritionists. <![CDATA[<b>Farmers' perception of agricultural extension service delivery in Germiston Region, Gauteng Province, South Africa</b>]]> This study was conducted to determine farmers' perception of extension service delivery in Germiston Region, Gauteng Province, South Africa. Both purposive and simple random sampling techniques were used for the sample selection and questionnaire was used to elicit information from 78 respondents. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics such as mean, frequency counts, percentages and standard deviation. Results showed that farmers perceived training (M=3.6, SD=±0.5) and demonstrations (M=3.6, SD=±0.48) to be highly effective in the study area. Results also indicated that 42.31 % of farmers were visited once a month by agricultural advisors. The study further revealed that extension activities had low impact on improving farm production yield and profitability (M=1.9, SD=±0.67) and enabling farmers to identify their own needs, problems and solve them (M=1.9, SD=±0.69). In conclusion it was found that extension is efficient, effective and visible in the study area. The study recommended a review on extension methods perceived to be non-effective or slightly effective and collaboration between stakeholders for a strong extension services. It will be imperative to ensure that methods regarded to be effective are mainly used to deliver extension messages. <![CDATA[<b>Stakeholders' perceptions about visibility and accountability of the state agricultural extension in Nquthu area, Kwazulu Natal province, South Africa</b>]]> Extension practitioners, as visible face of the discipline, carry the brunt of the criticism by the public, at all levels for none visibility and accountability. The study was conducted to assess the stakeholder perceptions on visibility and accountability of the state extension services. Three sets of key stakeholders (over 290 individuals) with interest in agricultural development ware sampled to participate in the study. These stakeholders' were traditional councils (n=9), Elected community leaders (n=34) and community care givers (n=23). A self-administered questionnaire was used to collect data. Forty- one questions grouped into three themes (visibility of extension services, accountability of extension and knowing of state agricultural programmes) were collected, analysed and processed. The result showed that all three stakeholders regard extension services in Nquthu as highly visible (78.8%), as extension officers are known, their interventions visible in the communities. The results also indicated that extension service is accountable as 81.5% of community leaders confirmed. Participants also indicated the high knowledge (76%) of major state programmes available to assist them to improve their lives. The result of Chi-Square analysis showed some significant differences on elected and proportional leaders on all themes. The study concluded that the state extension service is highly visible and accountable to the key stakeholders it serves. <![CDATA[<b>Attitude of agricultural professionals towards their wards taking agriculture as a career in Kwara State, North Central Nigeria</b>]]> The paper examines the attitude of agricultural professionals towards their children or people under their care taking agriculture and agricultural extension as a career in Kwara State, Nigeria. A structured questionnaire was used to elicit information from one hundred and eighty respondents. The findings revealed that the mean age of the agricultural professionals was 39 years. Majority (76.1%) were males, married (86.1%) with about an average of 5 wards each under their custody. Majority of the professionals were observed to have a negative and unfavourable attitude towards their wards taking agriculture as a career. Logistical regression modelling of determinants of agricultural professionals' attitudes towards their wards taking agriculture as a career revealed that characteristics of professionals that were more likely to have a positive attitude towards their wards taking agriculture as a career include high numbers of wards, higher educational qualification and more years of experience in the agricultural profession. The study recommends an urgent need for agricultural professionals to rise up to the task of ensuring increased participation of youths especially beginning with their wards in taking up a career in agriculture and agricultural extension. <![CDATA[<b>Assessing socio-economic factors influencing adoption of legume-based multiple cropping systems among smallholder sorghum farmers in Soroti, Uganda</b>]]> Despite the numerous benefits of legume-based multiple cropping systems in soil fertility management, most smallholder sorghum farmers have not adopted them. The aim of this study was to examine socio-economic factors influencing adoption of legume-based multiple cropping systems among smallholder sorghum farmers in Soroti, Uganda. A survey questionnaire was administered to a randomly selected sample of 120 respondents. Logistic regression analysis was performed to ascertain socio-economic factors influencing adoption of legume-based multiple cropping systems. Focus group discussions were also conducted to triangulate the findings. Results showed that 51.7% of the respondents had adopted sorghum-legume rotations compared to only 8.3% who adopted sorghum-legume intercropping. Number of extension contacts had a positively significant (p<0.05) effect on adoption of sorghum-legume rotations whereas family size had a negatively significant (p<0.05) effect on adoption of sorghum-legume intercropping. From focus group discussions, market access to legume crops also emerged as a barrier to adoption of legume-based multiple cropping systems. The study recommends strengthening legume value chains; improving extension service delivery and conducting a cost-benefit analysis of adopting legume-based multiple cropping systems. The implication to extension service delivery is that extension agents should focus their technology dissemination messages on technologies that are accepted and feasible in their farming communities. <![CDATA[<b>Suggesting a new paradigm for agricultural extension policy: the case of West African Countries</b>]]> As part of a larger study encompassing sub-Saharan Africa, this paper, the second in a sequence of papers, focuses on West Africa. National extension policies of the region -explicit or implied - were evaluated by means of a framework published by the FAO to guide extension policy formulation. Of its nine components three anchor the framework - mission and goals, approach and functions, and clienteles - and were used in this appraisal. Unexpectedly, the study found that only one country of the 17 nations constituting West Africa has a legislated (i.e. formally adopted) national extension policy. Implied policies were, therefore, garnered, where feasible, for the rest via government publications (e.g. agricultural project reports) and published researched studies from academic and recognised developmental institutions. Broadly, the assessment observed that West African extension missions and goals focussed on improving profitability of agricultural business and increasing output volumes and market share and achieving objectives such as enhancing quality of life and agricultural development. In terms of approaches and functions, the study found that public sector extension in West Africa is undergoing transformation including decentralization and outsourcing extension services in the context of adopting a pluralistic system of extension delivery. While up to six models of extension are a commonly applied in the region, the dominant context is pluralism encompassing public, private and NGO-based services. The dominant clientele were stated to be women and small- and medium-scale farmers. However, entrenched barriers limiting women's participation are still insufficiently addressed. The study concludes that it is vital for West African governments, perhaps cooperatively, to develop and establish formal extension policies that will manifest their vision, mission, goals and methods to provide a stable framework within which targeted clientele and be purposively supported in the pursuit of sustainable agricultural development. <![CDATA[<b>Challenges facing the agricultural extension landscape in South Africa, Quo Vadis?</b>]]> According to the National Development Plan for South Africa there is a need for the training of a new cadre of agricultural extension advisors that will respond effectively to the needs of small-holder farmers. What is needed is a "best-fit" framework for designing and analysing agricultural advisory services namely: Policy environment; Governance (pluralism and participation); Capacity/competencies, technical and functional and the professionalising of the extension services (the South Africa case study). The role of the South African Society for Agricultural Extension (SASAE) in the way forward will be to: Determine continuously what the agricultural extension landscape will need in 10 years' time; establish and implement a Continuous Professional Development (CPD) Committee to ensure continuing professional development of extension advisors; and investigate the possibility to register as a training provider of skills programs in the science of extension. <![CDATA[<b>Factors influencing extension service delivery in maize production by using agricultural innovation system in Morogoro and Dodoma Regions, Tanzania</b>]]> Conventional extension system in Tanzania has recorded limited success in improving agricultural productivity including maize production in the country. The Agricultural Innovation System (AIS) approach in extension service delivery deemed desirable in addressing the challenge. However little is known about the factors influencing delivery of extension service by using AIS. A study was conducted in Morogoro and Dodoma Regions to investigate the identified gap. A cross sectional research design was used to collect data from 345 respondents randomly selected from a population of various actors involved in the maize value chain. Key informant interviews and Focus group discussions were also used in data collection. Observations were used to supplement the collected information. The collected quantitative data were analyzed by using the Statistical Package for Social Science computer program while content analysis was used to analyze the qualitative data. The study findings show that factors influencing performance of extension service delivery include Extension staffs' inadequate knowledge and skills on providing advice by using Agricultural Innovation System. Others were availability, affordability, efficiency, relevance and costs of extension service delivery. Based on the study findings it is concluded that despite the relevance of AIS over conventional extension system, there are a number of factors influencing delivery of extension service using AIS that might in turn bring effect on maize production the study areas. It is therefore recommended that negative factors should be addressed for effective performance of the system to improve maize production. <![CDATA[<b>Rural farmers' perspectives on stock theft: police crime statistics</b>]]> Rural farmers are not only facing challenges of severe drought blamed on the El Nino weather pattern, but the stock theft as well. The South African Police's annual crime statistics report and surveys indicates that rural livestock farmers are mostly affected by stock theft in South Africa. The costs paid by these farmers to enhance security in the environs of their livestock roughly precede the financial planning meant for production. However, the research on the extent, economic impact, dark figures and problem areas of stock theft in rural areas remain limited. The National Crime Statistics about stock theft as administered and published by the South African Police Service remains the key focus of this paper. The responses of selected farmers indicate that there is no single solution tailor-made to fight against this phenomenon. The nature of this scourge extremely manifests itself in rural areas because it is not fully tackled by authorities. This paper draws from the detailed statistics reports of stock theft.