Perceptions of extension advisors on privatization and outsourcing as an option for development paradigm in Limpopo Province and the lessons for future
There is no one set of challenges that justify privatization of extension and advisory services both in developed and developing areas. It is argued that factors that can influence privatization include; limited budget provisions and ineffectiveness of extension and advisory services. Literature is full of lessons on the failure and success of privatization in organizations in different regions of the world both developed and underdeveloped as indicated in the studies commissioned by the World Bank, unfortunately South Africa was not part of the study. It is for this reason that this study was conducted in Limpopo Province of South Africa in order to establish the acceptability or non-acceptability of privatization and outsourcing.
The paper explores options for privatisation in South Africa with a focus in Limpopo Province. A sample of 324 extension officers out of 700 extension officers from the province was taken from the five districts of Limpopo constituting a sample of 46%, and their opinions were gathered through quantitative design. The results show that extension efficiency was falling below the international standards when measured through the input/output ratio of 100/130. The majority of extension advisors (70%) showed resistance to privatization, and the mean scale of the benefits of privatization was rated 6.7 as the highest in 7 categories. The extension advisors did not perceive any benefits for privatization hence rated 38% from all the districts. The paper concludes with recommendations that warn that privatization is ought to be taken with great care because the marginalized and the small scale farmers cannot afford to pay for extension services.
Keywords: privatization, outsourcing, advisory services, extension