South African Journal of Agricultural Extension
On-line version ISSN 2413-3221
VAN NIEKERK, J.A. et al. Towards designing a new agricultural extension service for the Eastern Cape Province: A perception analysis. S Afr. Jnl. Agric. Ext. [online]. 2009, vol.38, n.1, pp. 65-76. ISSN 2413-3221.
South Africa is in the process of rectifying the social injustices of the past and building a new future towards "equitable access and participation " in the agricultural sector (DoA, 2001) through the transference of farmland to emerging-black farmers and communities. This new class of farmers needs an effective extension service to help them become commercial farmers. However, agricultural extension is generally viewed to be ineffective. Thus, there is also a need for a revised extension model for, in this case, the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. Eight factors were identified and were included in this study. The eight factors, viz. Personal characteristics of extension workers; Community cooperation and networks; Training of extension workers; Leadership and mentoring ability; Financial support; Institutional support (technical and skills); Communication; and Staffing. This paper is aimed at discussing the identified factors, related to organizational and human capital development, that are essential for effective extension and will propose the basis and design framework of an extension model discussed in a later paper. Researchers who are currently undergoing an academic programme/training at the University of the Free State and extension officers were interviewed via questionnaires in order to determine their perceived importance of the identified factors. The results revealed their perceptions regarding those eight identified factors and also their misconceptions relating to these factors, such as communication being the seventh most important factor. By developing these eight factors that require either human capital development or organizational development, the extension organization and its officers will begin in rectifying the identified problem. This study will ultimately lead to the subsequent development of an extension model for the Eastern Cape.
Keywords : Agricultural extension; Agricultural researchers; Extension workers; Perception; Eastern Cape Province.