Research and extension processes and practices in relation to smallholder agriculture in Africa: Present, past topresent

  • T Ngomane


Agriculture constitutes the backbone of most economies in developing countries, especially in Africa. However, benefits in the sector mostly accrue to industry and to the large-scale commercial farmers. The “transfer of technology” (ToT) paradigms introduced during the colonial era, failed to provide research and technology outputs that meet smallholder farmers' needs. In various review reports and regional consultation meetings stakeholders identified extension-research as the weakest link to wealth creation and as the primary contributor to the widening gap between resourceendowed and resource-poor farmers. Resources in this context refer to access to physical production assets, financial and skill-based support, as well as trade networks for participation in local, regional and global markets. In this regard, smallholder resource-poor farmers, as opposed to large-scale resource-endowed farmers, have limited access to these resources in most parts of the African continent. In addition, successful smallholder farmer innovations, technologies and dissemination approaches are not well publicized. Using the development perspective, this paper summarizes 1) the problems of technology development and transfer as perceived by the resource-poor farmers 2) the evolution of Transfer of Technology and the implication for extension services in developing countries, 3) the impact of two development approaches on extension, 4) the importance of research and extension linkages in fostering change, and 3) Farmer Field Schools as an alternative extension paradigms. Recommendations to promote pro-poor extension and technology development strategies are discussed.

South African Journal of Agricultural Extension Vol. 35 (2) 2006: pp. 199-220

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eISSN: 2413-3221
print ISSN: 0301-603X