An extension approach to close the gap between suppliers and users of agrometeorological services in the South-Western Free State of South Africa
Agrometeorological information, advisories and services remains one of the major hindrances toward productive agriculture. Well researched and scientifically proven information is inaccessible to most potential farmers whether commercial, resource poor or subsistence. A noticeable gap exists between information developers or suppliers and end-users such as farmers. This paper is aimed at discussing the existing gaps and practical solutions toward the enhancement of proper information dissemination. In workshops organised by the Agricultural Research Council in partnership with the University of the Free State on the training of extension agents the following was discovered: the interviewed extension agents indicated that 13% had good background on the application of agrometeorological information and 87% had no skill. About 80% followed the daily weather forecast. But 86% of the participants could not differentiate between short term forecast, seasonal and long-term predictions. The need for intensive training of extension agents on agrometeorological information, advisories and services was emphasised, since such information is the integral part of agricultural decision-making toward sustainable agricultural productivity and food security.
Keywords: Extension Approach, Agrometeorology, Advisories, south-western Free State