Scielo RSS <![CDATA[South African Journal of Agricultural Extension ]]> vol. 45 num. 2 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Institutional support systems for small-scale farmers at new forest Irrigation Scheme in Mpumalanga, South Africa: constraints and opportunities</b>]]> This paper discusses institutional support systems available to New Forest irrigation farmers focusing on agricultural extension services and the irrigation cooperative. The current operations of agricultural extension and irrigation cooperative do not meet the expectations of New Forest irrigation farmers, as they feel neglected. For extension to be effective, it should be able to mobilize the social capital of communities. This implies the coordination and grouping of farmers with similar circumstances to enable them to either benefit from synergies, or to make it easier for training and sharing of information. The irrigation cooperative needs to address cooperative governance issues, facilitation of farmer collective action, enforcing rules and regulations of engagement, and linking the irrigators more effectively with input and output markets. <![CDATA[<b>A Bench Mark Survey for extension officers in three districts of Limpopo Province, South Africa</b>]]> Extension services is one of the policy instruments which can be used to solve the food insecurity challenges. This understanding has led to a team of extension experts in agricultural extension to organise themselves under the name of Extension Africa. The team saw a need to conduct a benchmark study with the aim of unravelling circumstances facing agricultural extension in selected African countries such as Tanzania, Malawi, Botswana and South Africa. The members of Extension Africa were drawn from these countries. This study presents the situation of three districts in Limpopo Province of South Africa in which thirty extension officers were interviewed using a questionnaire. The findings suggest that there are gaps in the critical areas such as educational levels, job satisfaction, extension methods, communication, extension goal and training needs. It was further revealed that the female extension to male ratio is skewed although they are showing a reasonable level of marital status. The following areas of extension need attention to improve extension delivery: in-service training and Information Communication Technology (ICT). As far as job satisfaction is concerned, the main challenge is linked to salary. The study concludes with a recommendation targeting both the extension managers and policy makers who are encouraged to develop strategies to address the gaps identified by the study. <![CDATA[<b>The role of learning networks in agricultural extension service delivery: a survey in the nine provinces of South Africa</b>]]> This paper seeks to present the findings of a study based on learning networks conducted in nine provinces of South Africa during 2013. The aim of the study was to establish to what extent this tool is known or used in the provinces of South Africa. The information was important in order to assist decision makers in future planning to strengthen extension and advisory services. Both qualitative and quantitative paradigm were used to investigate the perceptions of the extensionists with regards to networks, the size of such networks in South Africa, and whether they are known or used by the extension advisors. The quota system was used to extract 10% from the total population of 3 368 which resulted in a sample of 315 extensionists. Data were collected through 315 questionnaires which were later captured and processed through SPSS, version 21. The results showed that: 34% of the respondents were above 20 years of work experience, 56 % were males who dominated the services, and 48 % of respondents were advisors as opposed to other professionals. Northern Cape was the only province which had the majority of advisors that show awareness and used Learning Networks. The study concludes by indicating positive aspects of personal learning networks such as a need for proper guidance and to increase the use of it due to its inherent potential in order to improve service delivery in future. <![CDATA[<b>A comparison of project participants and extension officers' perceptions of the market in agricultural projects in the North West Province, South Africa</b>]]> The study examined the perception of project participants and extension officers regarding marketing of agricultural produce in agricultural projects in the North West Province. The objective of the study was primarily to compare the perceptions of project participants and extension officers. When establishing a project, market and its stability with regards to the produce of the project has to be established on whether the project will maximise profit, maintain market share, or consolidate market position. The major findings of the study according to both project participants and extension officer respondents revealed that: (a)The market was reasonable according to 54% of project participants and 53% of extension officer respondents; (b) The market remained unchanged according to 48% of both respondent categories; (c) Produce slightly met the market requirements in terms of quality; (d) Produce did not meet market requirements in terms of contract; (e) The market price was average; (f) The market assessment in terms of the quantity it can absorb was average; (g) Project participants used hired transport according to 35% of both respondent categories; and (h) 33% of both respondent categories indicated that produce were marketed locally within the community. <![CDATA[<b>Enhancing smallholder farmers' awareness of GM maize technology, management practices and compliance to stewardship requirements in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa: the role of public extension and advisory services</b>]]> Genetically modified (GM) maize technology adoption is subject to compliance with stewardship requirements that promote the long-term effectiveness of the technology against target pests and weeds. Awareness of the value of these requirements can enhance farmer compliance and promote the adoption of improved management practices. A semi-structured questionnaire was used to interview 210 smallholder GM maize farmers in the Eastern Cape to assess farmers' awareness and compliance to GM maize technology stewardship requirements. Field surveys were also conducted to identify the practices adopted for the cultivation of GM maize. Results indicated that farmers lacked access to information about GM maize and had a low level of awareness of GM maize stewardship requirements. Additionally, while the use of Bt maize resulted in fewer farmers reporting pest incidence, notably that of the maize stem borer, Busseola fusca (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) on their farms, for some reason, there was an increase in the proportion of farmers that sprayed and relied solely on insecticides for controlling pests on Bt maize. A high proportion of farmers (71.4%) also relied solely on herbicide sprays for controlling weeds in their herbicide tolerant maize fields. Field surveys also indicated non-compliance to the requirement for the planting of refuge areas adjacent to Bt maize. Training of extension service personnel on stewardship requirements for GM maize is urgently needed to improve its management and prevent loss of the benefits provided by GM maize technology. <![CDATA[<b>Agricultural Extension Personnel (AEP) perception of performance appraisal and its implication on the commitment to the job in Ogun State agricultural development program, Nigeria</b>]]> The study was conducted to examine the perceptions of Agricultural Extension Personnel (AEP) of the Performance Appraisal System (PAS) and its implication on AEP commitment to the job in Ogun State Agricultural Development Program (OGADEP), Nigeria. The sample frame, which is the list of employees in the organisation, consists of 296 employees, out of which 44% of the employees (130) were randomly selected to participate in the study. Primary data were collected using a structured questionnaire and analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics. Results revealed that PAS had an effect on the commitment of AEP to the delivery of extension services to farmers with the regression analysis revealing that the PAS method of application contributed 61.3% to affective commitment, 18.9% to continuance commitment, and 59% to normative commitment. In conclusion, the study indicated how far PAS has benefited both the AEP and the organisation, hence, it is recommended that there should be an effective appeal process or committee to review appraisal results to help unsatisfied employees to seek redress of final appraisal results so as to give room for efficient and effective production. <![CDATA[<b>Evaluation of policies promoting sustainable agriculture in South Africa</b>]]> South Africa will require the establishment of a formal inclusive policy on sustainable agricultural practices. This will not only assist the country in avoiding further exploitation of the natural environment, but will also position agricultural extension in promoting the five pillars of sustainable agriculture. A comprehensive review using conceptual reflection presented in this paper confirms that most of the sustainable aspects are covered in both the white paper in sustainable agriculture and policy on agriculture in sustainable development. The existing documents, legislation, and policies available should be integrated into a working document that promotes sustainable agricultural practices. Thus, this paper provides a philosophical comparison between South Africa's policy on agriculture in sustainable development and its white paper on agriculture. The review found that these two key South African agricultural policies are closely related in terms of the five pillars of sustainable agriculture. This paper further argues that the two policies reviewed could be used in the formulation of national policy on sustainable agriculture. In conclusion, this paper also suggests possible legislation addressing sustainable agriculture that should be integrated to develop a national policy on sustainable agriculture. <![CDATA[<b>Is agricultural extension positioned to promote agripreneurship in South Africa?</b>]]> A shift from agriculture to agribusiness is an essential pathway to revitalise small-scale agriculture in South Africa and to make it more attractive and a profitable venture. The question is whether small-scale farmers can become entrepreneurs and how well is extension positioned to support farmers to foster entrepreneurship? There are two parts to entrepreneurship, the first is the managerial skills required to start and run a profitable farm business. Second is the "entrepreneurial spirit". Important to realise is that you cannot create an entrepreneur, but you can create the environment that will help them thrive. Governments and donors must invest in institutions and infrastructure that support them. Economic policies and financial incentives must be put in place to inspire a generation of agripreneurs. This paper aims to emphasise the importance that farmers must be linked to markets to take advantage of the opportunities arising along the agribusiness value chain. Successful entrepreneurship requires a strong enabling environment of which political will and leadership is important, but also strong private interest. Extension has a critical role to play in supporting farmers to develop their entrepreneurial skills through training and by providing technical assistance. <![CDATA[<b>Determinations of physical and chemical properties of Kwazulu-Natal's household white peach 'landrace' in relation to extension services - a case study of Impendle Local Municipality</b>]]> Indigenous fruits constitute a very important part in the food basket of the household farming community in South Africa. Household growers of white peach landrace in KwaZulu-Natal at Impendle Local Municipality suffer major losses due to lack of maturity indices that would allow them to predict and plan for harvesting dates. As a result, the fruit is harvested later than its physiologically correct date and processing becomes difficult when the fruit is overripe or spoilt. Extension services do not have enough information on such fruit quality parameters to assist the farmers. With the aim of developing and promoting the value chain in household farming, this study identified physical and chemical parameters linked to peach landrace maturity in relation to extension. Maturity and ripening related parameters were determined. Fruit reached maturity 129 days after full bloom (DAFB) and this coincided with mass, volume and moisture content at respective stages of 80.00 g, 55.20 cm³, and 83%. Firmness decreased significantly from 79.00 N to 24.70 N during ripening. Total soluble solids (TSS) increased from 13.5 to 19.00 °Brix. The pH value decreased from 3.40 to 4.00. The TSS:TA (titrable acidity-TA) ratio increased from 21.11 to 35.84. The results showed that DAFB, firmness, mass, TSS, volume, and TSS:TA ratio have potential to be used in relation to extension for maturity indexing of white landrace peach fruit as parameters to determine the maturity indices and quality of the smallholder farmer.