Stakeholders’ perceptions about visibility and accountability of the state agricultural extension in Nquthu Area, KwaZulu Natal Province, South Africa
Extension practitioners, as visible face of the discipline, carry the brunt of the criticism by the public, at all levels for none visibility and accountability. The study was conducted to assess the stakeholder perceptions on visibility and accountability of the state extension services. Three sets of key stakeholders (over 290 individuals) with interest in agricultural development ware sampled to participate in the study. These stakeholders’ were traditional councils (n=9), Elected community leaders (n=34) and community care givers (n=23). A self-administered questionnaire was used to collect data. Forty- one questions grouped into three themes (visibility of extension services, accountability of extension and knowing of state agricultural programmes) were collected, analysed and processed.
The result showed that all three stakeholders regard extension services in Nquthu as highly visible (78.8%), as extension officers are known, their interventions visible in the communities. The results also indicated that extension service is accountable as 81.5% of community leaders confirmed. Participants also indicated the high knowledge (76%) of major state programmes available to assist them to improve their lives. The result of Chi- Square analysis showed some significant differences on elected and proportional leaders on all themes.
The study concluded that the state extension service is highly visible and accountable to the key stakeholders it serves.
Keywords: Operation Sukuma Sakhe, extension-stakeholder relations, agricultural extension