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2004, Volume 20(1), June

O. S. Verma, Editorial

  1. Assessment of Participatory Technology Development and Extension (PTD&E) in Ghana, Kwarteng, J. A., A. Kuehn, M. Braun, & A. Gerken.
  2. Job Behavior and Attitudes of Agricultural Faculty: Beyond the Influence of Biographical Factors, Ladebo, Olugbenga. J.
  3. Competency Requirements for Extension Agents in Eastern Botswana as Perceived By Supervisors and Farmers, Flora M. Tladi.
  4. Analysis of Senior Secondary Agricultural Science Studentsí Attitude Towards Agriculture as a Career, Samson Olusegun Apantaku.
  5. Smallholder Farmersí Perceptions of the Northern Provinceís Extension Service: Case Studies in Two Villages In The Northern Province of South Africa, Nicole Webster.
  6. Enhancing the Capability of Agricultural Training Institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa in the Fight Against the Spread of HIV/AIDS Epidemic Through Reform in Agricultural Education and Extension Programs, P. J. Squire.
  7. Gender Sensitization Motherís Day, O. S. Verma.
  8. Effectiveness of Agricultural Extension Education Methods on Adoption of Innovations Among Small-Scale Rice Farmers, Gana, F. S. & Yisa, E. S.
  9. Economic Policies and the Performance of Agricultural Extension Services in Nigeria, Oladimeji Idowu Oladele, Jun-Ichi Sakagami, & Osamu Koyama.

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Hunger Trail

In India, between early nineties and 2003, annual absorption of food grains per head has come down from 178 kgs to 155 kgs. This unprecedented fall in foodgrains absorption has entailed a sharp increase in the number of people going hungry. For very many, it is meant starvation. Today, in India, around 200 million households are hungry. This is about one-fourth of the Worldís hunger. Millions more are going to be hungry if this phenomenon continues. Therefore, we have to check this trend by not only increasing foodgrains availability but also controlling global trade liberalization opened up in Agriculture to the pull of global demand. In India, liberalization has resulted in 8 million hectares of foodgrams growing land diverted to exportable crops during the last decade.

According to PEW global Attitudes study (2002) carried out by Gallup International in 44 countries covering 38,000 respondents, about 15 percent of Americans do not have enough money to buy food for their families while 9 per cent Western Europeans and 4 per cent Japanese periodically go hungry. In other poorer parts of the world, putting food on the table is much tougher. Majority of the people in African countries go without food at some point mainly because of lack of money.

Nutrition-wise, the US Department of Agriculture says that a sedentary male needs 2200 calories a day and a sedentary female 1600 calories. Any one getting less is labeled as hungry and below some notional poverty line. Consider the implications of these standards. Sedentary Americans get only 1900 calories per day while urban Indians age getting 2100 calories per day. By this yardstick, Americans are far poorer than Indians. It is so because Indians have shifted to superior foods like sugar, fats & oils, eggs & meats. These foods are all high in calories. But rising calories intake does not mean falling poverty and hunger. Calories deprivation actually means better health and longer life. So, we should not be misled by nutritional norms.

Without urgent investment in Agricultural development, hundreds of millions will continue to remain underfed in the coming years. Similarly, without radical check in the World Population, global hunger cannot be made half by 2015 as estimated by Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research. There will be about 50 per cent increase in the World Population in the next 50 years from 6 billion to something like 9 billion. Food requirement will accordingly increase by 100 percent during this period. How to deal with this problem is a million dollar question. World leaders gathered in Rome in 2002 to renew the 1996 pledge to halve the number of hungry by 2015 from around 815 million. Some of the supportive suggestions might perhaps bring relief in achieving this unrealistic goal.

Biotechnology to promote farm growth is one option that can increase agricultural productivity. A so-called ďGreen RevolutionĒ using innovative farm technologies has already boosted food supplies in much of Asia during sixty-seventy decade and reduced poverty levels. Application of biotechnology can similarly produce Genetically Modified foods much higher in yields and in quality. But then many countries are at logger heads for GM food-aid. Debate is still on whether to accept GM food-aid that can really help starvation in many African Countries. Bio-safety measures need to be devised to combat GM food fear.

Secondly, for a large majority of poor people ďLabour PowerĒ is the only productive asset they possess for securing a living. They, therefore need work of Employment round the year. This is their fundamental right as guaranteed under the Constitution. Governments have this constitutional obligation to secure them the Right to Food through Right to Work. This kind of Sensitivity can certainly eliminate peopleís hunger and sufferings. Unfortunately, these constitutional imperatives have not been adequately translated into practice. Hence, the hunger is a persistent phenomenon.

In addition to lack of employment opportunities, political will too appears to have been lacking in the fight against hunger. World is shining for the privileged few. The rest are mired in darkness. Bridge between these two classes is growing for which political organizations are largely accountable. Therefore, political commitment is a major component in the eradication of poverty and hunger.

Lastly, for achieving the goal of the hunger-free universe, we need to devise a strategy bringing about convergence and synergy among all on-going food security programs involving grassroot democratic institutions. This will bring sustainability in food security which in turn will alleviate poverty, endemic hunger, micro-nutrient deficiencies, and transient starvation. Hunger Trail is thus on the move. (p. i-iii)

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Assessment of Participatory Technology Development and Extension (PTD&E) in Ghana, Kwarteng, J. A., A. Kuehn, M. Braun, & A. Gerken, 1-17.

A participatory technology development and extension (PTD&E) approach used in Ghana to promote integrated pest management (IPM) was assessed after five years of introduction. The results showed that the approach has improved farmersí working relationships with extension workers and contributed to improving the competencies of farmers in areas such as the ability to control pests and diseases and the ability to effectively share technical information. The approach was also observed to have significantly impacted extension work in the districts by improving extension staff competencies through activities in teambuilding, technical trainings, PTD&E trainings, demonstration plots, organizational development, financing DDO supervision, and participation. Significant gains were made in all districts in terms of competencies of extension staff in their understanding of IPM principles and the application of IPM technological options. Farmers were found to have adopted several IPM options. The reasons given for adopting the options included: higher yields, lower losses, reduced costs of production, healthier produce, simple (less complex) techniques and technologies, clearly visible advantages of some of the IPM options, compatibility with farmersí practices, less laborious and less dangerous (safe) nature of the IPM technologies. Farmer to farmer dissemination was found to be occurring in all Districts as farmers adopting IPM options or principles passed on the information or skills to other farmers.

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Job Behavior and Attitudes of Agricultural Faculty: Beyond the Influence of Biographical Factors, Ladebo, Olugbenga. J., 18-31.

The effects of personality trait, work centrality, and perceived stress on the research performance and affective commitment of faculty in an agricultural institution were examined. Results indicated that only the biographical factors: age, rank, and sex were related to research performance of the faculty, but were unrelated to affective commitment. But positive affectivity (PA), work centrality, and perceived stress were significantly related to affective commitment. The results imply that a faculty who is high in PA is more likely to develop emotional attachment to the employing institution, while a stressed academic is apt to be less committed to the institution. Intervention should consider the provision of a conducive work environment and a training program aimed at socializing new faculty members into the system and assist the old faculty to readjust to the changes that might be enacted in the institution.

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Competency Requirements for Extension Agents in Eastern Botswana as Perceived By Supervisors and Farmers, Flora M. Tladi, 32-41.

The Repertory grids were used in the study to determine the behavior indicators supervisors and farmers use to judge the effectiveness of extension agents. According to the results, the supervisors associated 10, the farmers 13; while the farmers and the supervisors together associated seven behavior indicators with effective extension agents. Supervisors and farmers identified 16 competency requirements for extension agents. The study recommended that: (1) the pre-service and in-service training programs be reviewed to make them more relevant; (2) effective behavior indicators be incorporated into performance appraisal for counseling and assessment of extension agents; and, (3) further research be conducted with a wider coverage in the country for more conclusive results.

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Analysis of Senior Secondary Agricultural Science Studentsí Attitude Towards Agriculture as a Career, Samson Olusegun Apantaku, 42-54.

The purpose of the study was to analyze senior secondary agricultural science studentsí (SSAS) attitude towards agriculture as a career. A total of 200 SSAS were randomly selected from Abeokuta South (urban) and Odeda (rural) local government areas of Ogun State Nigeria. Data was collected through a structured interview schedule and analyzed by frequencies, percentages, Ďtí test and chi-square. The study concluded that most of the students do not like and would not practice agriculture as a career or study it in college because of the drudgery involved in Nigerian agriculture, parents and peer influence, low prestige associated with farming in Nigeria, and low/slow cash return/profit. There was no significant relationship between studentsí attitude toward agriculture as a career and location of their school (rural or urban) and no significant difference existed between urban and rural school students in their willingness to practice agriculture. Willingness of students to practice agriculture may be improved if school farms are mechanized, subsidized inputs provided, basic amenities provided in the rural areas, loans provided to farmers, career guidance and counseling organized to change studentsí attitude. It was recommended that the government and high schools should develop mechanized school farms, periodical career guidance and counseling organized by schools and relevant government agencies to encourage students to choose agriculture as a career, public enlightenment to encourage youths to choose agriculture as a career, school farms should not be used as site for punishing school offenders, provision of basic amenities in the rural areas, provision of loans and subsidized agricultural inputs to farmers for farming and funding of research in all areas of agriculture.

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Smallholder Farmersí Perceptions of the Northern Provinceís Extension Service: Case Studies in Two Villages In The Northern Province of South Africa, Nicole Webster, 55-64.

The purpose of the qualitative case study was to identify the perceived needs of smallholder farmers in the Northern Province of South Africa in relation to the delivery of information and programs by the agricultural extension service. The objective of this study was to determine the extent to which the delivery of programs and information in the Northern Provincial agricultural extension system affects the productivity, economic inputs, and quality of life of smallholder farmers in two villages in the Northern Province.

In-depth interviews were conducted with six smallholder farmers from two villages, who were chosen through purposive sampling. In addition, focus-group discussions were held with key individuals in the Northern Province Department of Agriculture and extension system. The findings revealed several issues that affected the quality of life of smallholder farmers in both villages. The data indicated that the overall extension system needs to transform the training, delivery, and support of smallholder farmers throughout the Northern Province in order to improve their daily farming practices, thereby leading to an improvement in their quality of life.

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Enhancing the Capability of Agricultural Training Institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa in the Fight Against the Spread of HIV/AIDS Epidemic Through Reform in Agricultural Education and Extension Programs, P. J. Squire, 65-76.

The paper provides recommendations for reforms in agricultural education and extension programs to enhance the capabilities of agricultural training institutions in the fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa. The reforms are focused on integrating environmental education, indigenous agriculture knowledge systems, new initiatives in the agricultural extension training programs, vocational agricultural education programs, and Information Technology in the agricultural training curricula. The paper further suggests that women be targeted for agricultural training in the sub-region. The proposed recommendations provide a framework of action to ensure food security, sustainable use of environment, and economic and human resource development in the sub-region.

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Gender Sensitization Motherís Day, O. S. Verma, 77-79.

Almost all Americans take part in Motherís Days celebrations. It is the busiest day for Restaurants in the United States. The Woman who gave birth to Motherís Day was a West Virginia resident Anna Reese Jarvis. She was so strongly attached to her Mother that she swore at her grave in 1905 to dedicated her life to establish a Day for Mothers, to honour them, living or dead. Her persistent efforts paid off when in 1914 the then US President Woodrow Wilson signed a joint resolution passed by the US Congress establishing Motherís Day to be a holiday and to be celebrated on the second Sunday of May. The tradition continues since then. Anna Jarvis is thus credited with the idea for Motherís Day.

Jarvis used carnations at the first Motherís Day because they were her Motherís favourite flowers. Today, white carnations are in honour of oneís dead mother and pink ones to honour living Moms. In Britain, Motherís Day celebrations started after World War-II. The idea was imported from American Servicemen. In Spain, Motherís Day is celebrated on 8 December to honour both Mothers and Mother Mary. In France, the last Sunday of May is Motherís Day. A special cake resembling a bouquet of flowers is presented to Mothers at a Family Dinner. In India, Moms discuss suitable boys for their daughters on Motherís Day.

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Effectiveness of Agricultural Extension Education Methods on Adoption of Innovations Among Small-Scale Rice Farmers, Gana, F. S. & Yisa, E. S., 80-88.

The study examined the effectiveness of agricultural extension education methods used to teach small-scale rice farmers in Doko Local government area of Niger State in Nigeria. Data was collected by means of scheduled interview questionnaire from eight [8] extension cells of Doko extension block. A total number of 160 farmers from eight villages were purposely and randomly selected. The data was analyzed using simple descriptive statistics such as percentages, frequency distribution and chi-square respectively. It was observed that 32.2% of the respondents had no formal education, 50% had Quranic and primary education, while only 17.5% had secondary and post-secondary education. Considering the extension methods used to reach the small-scale rice farmers, 87.5% of the respondents said that they had listened to farm radio programmes, 41.88% of the respondents said that they had visited demonstration plots and adopted the new rice innovations. Forty percent (40%) of respondents claimed that they had been visited by village extension workers who made them adopt new rice innovations. The calculated chi-square value 142.5 showed significant difference (tP = 0.05) in rice yield per hectare of these participation farmers. Specific education programmes should be organized to train farmers on the correct use of recommended innovations for rice production.

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Economic Policies and the Performance of Agricultural Extension Services in Nigeria, Oladimeji Idowu Oladele, Jun-Ichi Sakagami, & Osamu Koyama, 96-106.

This paper examined the effect of the Structural Adjustment Programme on the performance of extension services in Nigeria. This was because agricultural extension services are considered as public good and thus heavily subsidized by the government. The macro policy framework within which the agricultural sector is expected to perform is highlighted. Data was obtained from secondary sources and analyzed using frequency counts, percentages, and t-test statistics. The results indicated that there was a sharp decline in the funding and operation of the extension services and thus the question of privatization of agricultural extension services arising.

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