South African Journal of Agricultural Extension

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Agricultural extension: criteria to determine its visibility and accountability in resource poor communities

P.P.K. Hlatshwayo, S.H. Worth


Agricultural extension can be defined as the entire set of organisations that support and facilitate people engaged in agricultural production to solve problems and to obtain information, skills and technologies to improve their livelihoods and well-being. Extension officials should ensure that farmers are engaged and capacitated so that they can make production decisions that are not in conflict with nature, yet such decisions ensure that their well-being is improved. With 75% of the world’s poor living in rural areas, the topic of improved agriculture through agricultural extension is viewed as central to poverty reduction. There have been questions posed by stakeholders (communities, policy-makers and politicians) about the non-visibility and accountability of agricultural extension in the communities that it is supposed to help. There are however a number of factors (perceived or real) that make agricultural extension less or not visible nor accountable. Therefore, this paper investigates and proposes a theoretical framework or model to ensure that agricultural extension is visible and accountable to all stakeholders. This will in turn ensure that there are noticeable increases or improvement of the lives of the resource poor farmers and communities.

Keywords: Agricultural extension, Extension visibility, Relevance of extension, Rural livelihood

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