Participation in Limpopo farmer mechanisation support program: lesson learned from Schoonoord and Moripane cases
Extension programs are initiated and implemented in various communities wherein similar and proportionally equal resources are provided. However, the performance and successes of such programs differ greatly from one case to another. The study assessed the impact realised from the participation of farmers in the implementation of government’s farmer mechanisation support program through interviews of randomly and purposively selected farmers and traditional leaders respectively, and all available tractor operators using semi-structured interview schedule. Personal observation and experience realised by extension workers during program implementation was used in the interpretation of findings and formulation of conclusions. The study was conducted in Makhuduthamaga local agricultural area in Sekhukhune District of Limpopo Province in South Africa. The study conducted a comparative analysis of two cases: Schoonoord and Moripane sorghum and maize belt respectively. The study found that when farmers play a leading role in implementation of agricultural development programs, such programs become successful and sustainable than when extension workers are in the lead. The study recommends active farmer participation approach in farmer development programs for sustainability through acquisition of sense of responsibility, ownership and self-reliance.
Keywords: Participation, mechanisation, farmer support, Sekhukhune, Makhuduthamaga