REACHING SWAZI NATION LAND FARMERS: CHALLENGES TO THE CREDIBILITY OF AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION IN SWAZILAND K.J.B. Keregero Department of Agriculture Education and Extension, Faculty of Agriculture UNIVERSITY OF SWAZILAND, LUYENGO M205, SWAZILAND

  • K.J.B. Keregero Department of Agriculture Education and Extension, Faculty of Agriculture, UNIVERSITY OF SWAZILAND, LUYENGO M205, SWAZILAND

Abstract

Agricultural extension services have been availed to Swazi Nation Land (SNL) farmers for seven decades now. However, increasing concern that the services have not contributed significantly to the improvement of the conditions and wellbeing of farmers points to a mounting credibility problem. The paper reflects on various studies that have been undertaken in the country and argues that the threat to the credibility of agricultural extension lies in: myths associated with extension behaviour; characteristics of agricultural extension workers; sources of agricultural extension knowledge; extension staffing and coverage; approach used by extension workers; and characteristics of extension clientele. The key observations are that: extension practice has ignored indigenous knowledge; the extension job is male dominated and gender stereotyped; extension workers are relatively lowly qualified and only moderately experienced; conventionally recognised sources of agricultural information are poorly regarded by clientele; community meetings have not been successfully utilised for extension; women who constitute the majority as cultivators of the land are not directly recognised as extension clientele; and rural people tend to portray mutual distrust in interpersonal relations. The agricultural extension service is generally weak in addressing its mandate, and calls for review in order to seriously address its credibility problem.

(UNISWA J Agric: 2000 9: 79-89)
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