South African Journal of Agricultural Extension
On-line version ISSN 2413-3221
Print version ISSN 0301-603X
STONES, W. A. and TERBLANCHE, S. E.. The evaluation of the Subtropical Crops Extension and Advisory Service (Subtrop) as perceived by farmer members in the subtropical regions, South Africa. S Afr. Jnl. Agric. Ext. [online]. 2012, vol.40, n.1, pp.58-67. ISSN 2413-3221.
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.
Keywords : amalgamation; customer satisfaction survey; extension services; farmer and opinion leader perceptions; participation.