Extension is evolving, and extension workers' roles and attitudes are changing with global realities. The purpose of this study was to examine South African extension officers' perceptions of their job, views on the objectives of extension, and conception of agriculture. A questionnaire was developed consisting of general demographic and Likert-scale questions regarding perceptions of extension. The survey was emailed to all South African based members of the South African Society for Agricultural Extension (SASAE). The study found that most extensionists considered extension as a professional or technical practice to improve farmer practices followed by those who consider it as "helping farmers" to improve their wellbeing. The most preferred methods and the area of actual practice were first group and second individual approaches. According to the respondents, productive modernisation aimed at productivity and profitability was the highest extension objective, followed by increasing farmers' knowledge through training. In addition, results provide evidence that extension institutions tend to support conventional agriculture, while extension workers are more concerned with potential negative impacts. Finally, the Likert-scale responses show that while much South African extension work is based on dialogue and horizontal coordination using a participatory approach, transfer of technology still exists, and farmers are blamed for their problems.
Organisational capacity and management are critical elements of extension systems. This paper examines the organisational capacity and management of the Nigerian extension system. Content analysis of documents and artefacts, semi-structured interviews with key informants, and site visits were used to collect data. The paper looks at individual, organisational, and system-level capacities and management systems. The current ratio of extension agents to farmers is between 1:5000 and 1:10 000, with a total workforce of about 7000 public agents. A new initiative, the N-Power programme, is employing 100 000 young graduates in extension. Financing provided by state governments typically only covers the salaries of extension staff, meaning there is little operational budget for travel, communication, training, or field programmes. States thus struggle to hire and provide incentives for staff, and most continuing education and incentives take place in donor-funded projects or with federal funds. The extension system has good support from policies and strategies, as well as from research, education, and donor programmes. The paper confirms that capacity and management issues are critically important for well-functioning extension systems, and that there are many elements to get right, including continuing education, incentives, coordination, and operational budgets.
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