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South African Journal of Agricultural Extension

On-line version ISSN 2413-3221
Print version ISSN 0301-603X


KHWIDZHILI, R. H.  and  WORTH, S. H.. The sustainable agriculture imperative: implications for South African agricultural extension. S Afr. Jnl. Agric. Ext. [online]. 2016, vol.44, n.2, pp.19-29. ISSN 2413-3221.

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.

Keywords : Environment; food security; farming practices; Sustainable agriculture; agricultural extension.

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