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South African Journal of Agricultural Extension

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User contributions and public extension delivery modes: Implications for financial sustainability of extension in South Africa

DB Afful, FS Lategan

Abstract


Extension channels form the bridge that extension agents use to  communicate messages to recipients. The high recurrent costs faced by the public extension service constraint the number of visits farmers receive. This study examined a number of extension communication channels  through which farmers received farm management services/information from the public extension agent. The idea was, first, to find out the  dominant channel(s) through which information/services were received and, second, to assess the willingness of users to contribute financially to  support the public extension services in providing more visits through that dominant channel to the clients who opt to pay. The study was conducted in three districts of the Free State Province, South Africa, between 1  September, 2010 and February 2011. Convenience and purposive sampling techniques were used to survey medium-scale commercial crop farmers  (97) using semi-structured, self-administered questionnaires. The results show extension visits as the dominant channel through which respondents received information from the public extension agent for all the  management practices investigated in this study. In addition, most  respondents were willing to contribute financially to receive more visits from the public extension agent. It could be concluded that producers’ payment for more public extension visits could contribute towards financial  sustainability of the public extension service.

Keywords: User contribution, public extension, delivery mode, financial sustainability




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