Journal of Extension Systems

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2013, Volume 29(1), June

EDITORIAL, Fabio M. SANTUCCI

  1. The private sector as provider of extension services, from the viewpoints of the providers, Leila MASOUDNIA, Seyed M. HOSSEINI, & Valiollah SARANI
  2. Barriers affecting agricultural students’ entrepreneurship, Azadeh BAKSHI, Mohammad CHIZARI, & Jafar YAGHOBI
  3. Farmers’ knowledge about mango cultivation in Southern Rajasthan, Sukh Ram VERMA, Karan SINGH, & Fateh Lal SHARMA
  4. Technical advisory services in Ghana, Mavis DAYIE, & Esther Nuonibe BEMILE
  5. Willingness of farmers to participate in farmers’ groups, Albert Ukaro OFUOKU
  6. Leadership and self help groups in Nigeria – implications for extension, Albert Ukaro OFUOKU, & Joseph Unuetara AGBAMU
  7. The Sasakawa Africa Fund for extension education initiative in Mali, Assa KANTE’, Michael Craig EDWARDS, & Cindy BLACKWELL
  8. Universities’ consortium on extension and advisory services, Kristin DAVIS
  9. News, Views, and Reviews: You can use, Om S. Verma

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Editorial

Dear Readers and Subscribers,

This first issue of 2013 is the second issue of JES entirely under my responsibility. In the last months, since I was appointed in March 2012, I have received many papers. The large majority comes from India, followed by Nigeria. Other countries appear with only one or two papers. Four papers have been published in the June 2012 issue, together with papers already approved by my predecessor Prof. Jim Phelan, nine papers were published in the December 2012 issue and eight papers appear in this issue. I wish to express my gratitude to all Governors and to the external Reviewers who have helped me in these months.

We are still in the process of having the Journal evaluated and recognized by ISI Thomson. This could lead to the attribution of an Impact Factor to the Journal and could consequently improve its attractiveness for Authors within the Academia. To achieve this goal, the Governors and I have been very selective in the processing of the incoming proposals.

I have personally rejected many proposals, because they were out of scope, too superficial, or largely copied. One article was rejected because it had been already published in another Journal. Several articles have been rejected for the same reasons by both Governors in charge of their evaluation. All Authors have received motivations for our choice. Major revisions have been asked of several Authors; many articles are at various stages of review. Our objective is to help and to guide the Authors to improve their papers.

In order to avoid the submission of very poor papers and to avoid wasting time of Governors and external Reviewers, all of whom are very busy in their field of work, being the academia or the practice, a submission fee has been introduced, that must accompany the proposal. Hopefully this will help to filter the flow of very weak and not sufficiently elaborated papers.

This first issue of the 29th Volume of JES contains articles from two continents: Asia and Africa. From Iran, a paper tries to explore the conditions that could favour a pluralistic approach, with advice provided to farmers also by agencies in the private sector. Many respondents agree and declare to be in favour of a relative “privatization”, but the issue of economic sustainability is not solved. Further research is very much needed. To some extent, another paper from Iran, explores a complementary issue: what is needed, within the University, to make the agricultural students better able to become entrepreneurs? If the students’ minds are only oriented to become public employees, there will be no market oriented educated farmers, or well educated managers for private food firms; furthermore, also private consulting firms need educated agronomists. I wish to remind what an Irish friend once told me: “… some years ago, 90% of our students went to work for the Ministry of Agriculture… now it is the opposite: 10% work for the public sector and 90% for the private sector…. We had to change and adapt our curricula to make students more competitive and more pro-active…”

The paper from India explores the level of knowledge about mango cultivation of two categories of producers, characterized by different socio-economic features. Once again, we find that the contact with extension agents has a positive impact on adoption, but the small number of advisors does not allow a complete coverage and the much needed group or individual contacts. Almost the same scenario is depicted about two communities in Ghana. The public extension agency is almost the only source of information, the agents provide guidance about several subjects, but this agency is severely understaffed and there is a very modest use of any sort of media. From Nigeria, we have a likely solution: the farmers’ groups could represent a vehicle for extension messages and by consequence for development. Farmers’ groups could act as multipliers of the extension agents, who cannot reach each individual producer. The different types of associative action (groups, associations, cooperatives, clubs, etc.) have proven their validity in many contexts and this paper also provides a very rich list of references. A main problem when dealing with groups is however represented by the quality of their leadership and this subject is analysed in another paper. Leaders can be sometimes very constructive and positive, but they could be also very obstructive and negative, or simply passive. Public extension agencies should pay more attention to the continuing education of group leaders and should also favour their transfer of power to new local leaders. The education of extension agents, also for a more pro-active behaviour and micro-project elaboration, is the subject of the article from Mali, where the Authors use a qualitative approach to share their experience and the feedback by the participants in a training program. In this last article, the expected tasks of the extension agents include also situation analysis and participatory project planning, with a bottom-up rural development approach, which is a very challenging topic in many places.

Like the previous JES issue, also this one is concluded with a contribution by Kristin Davis, the current secretary of GFRAS, the Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services, where a recent initiative for the improvement of research and education about extension is presented.

Prof. Fabio M. SANTUCCI
Academic Editor

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The private sector as provider of extension services, from the viewpoints of the providers, 1-16.

Leila MASOUDNIA, Seyed M. HOSSEINI, & Valiollah SARANI
Email: vsarani@gmail.com

This study aims to examine the role of the private sector in the provision of extension services, from the perspective of the services providers. The research's statistical population consists of ninety managers of agricultural and rural production cooperatives, private consultants, and wholesalers of fertilizers and pesticides in Urmia and Khuy counties (Iran). The results indicate that most of the respondents (77.8%) assess the quality of performance of private sector in the provision of extension services as moderate and higher and have a positive attitude (medium and high) towards more involvement of the private sector in the provision of such services.

Key Words: Extension Services, Agricultural Extension, Privatization, Iran

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Barriers affecting agricultural students’ entrepreneurship, 17-26.

Azadeh BAKSHI, Mohammad CHIZARI, & Jafar YAGHOBI
Email: azbakhshi@gmail.com

This research aims to assess the barriers in promoting entrepreneurial inspirit. The population consisted of 359 former students (N=359). Via Cochran formula, samples were selected using a stratified random sampling method (n=103). To collect data, a structured questionnaire was used. Validity of instrument was established using a panel of expert. A pilot test was conducted to determine the questionnaire's reliability (Cronbach’s alpha=0.91).Factor analysis results showed that nine factors namely: governmental and logical, technical, educational, social and economic accounted for 81% of variance of barriers in promoting entrepreneurial inspirit. The main outcome of the analysis is the identification of barriers that are currently blocking promoting entrepreneurial culture. This research provides interesting insights into the entrepreneurship barriers faced by graduate students from a developing nation where such research is lacking.

Key words: Agricultural education, Entrepreneurship, Iran

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Farmers’ knowledge about mango cultivation in Southern Rajasthan, 27-40.

Sukh Ram VERMA, Karan SINGH, & Fateh Lal SHARMA
Email: verma.vermasr@gmail.com

Currently, India is the largest producer of mango and the Rajasthan state is also considered to be the potential area for fruit growing. In Rajasthan, mango is mainly grown in seven out of its 33 districts. The present study was conducted in sixteen villages, where five tribal and five non-tribal mango growers were selected randomly, for a total of 160 farmers . The results show that majority of the respondents have a medium level of knowledge regarding improved mango cultivation techniques. It is further noted that extent of knowledge in non-tribal mango grower is greater than for tribal mango growers. It is also reported that there is a significant difference in knowledge between tribal and non-tribal respondents. More extension activities are consequently suggested, with specific attention to tribal producers.

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Technical advisory services in Ghana, 41-50.

Mavis DAYIE, & Esther Nuonibe BEMILE
Email: nusinyoo@yahoo.com

Public extension systems worldwide have been accused of being deficient in management and inefficient in technical advisory service delivery. This is even more in developing countries where fiscal budgetary and human resource allocations are low. This study assessed the current status of technical advisory services delivered to farmers by public sector agricultural extension agents. Survey data revealed that 95% of those with contacts with extension agents rated public extension as the most important source of information. Results revealed that farmers are mostly dissatisfied with some technical advisory packages which points to the need for improvement in these services by the Agricultural Ministry.

Key words: Agricultural extension agents, technical advisory services

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Willingness of farmers to participate in farmers’ groups, 51-64.

Albert Ukaro OFUOKU
Email: albertofuoku@gmail.com

This study was carried out in Delta State, Nigeria to determine the factors that influence the propensity of farmers to subscribe to farmers’ groups. One hundred and fifty farmers were randomly selected and data were collected from them with the application of questionnaire and interview schedule. The data were treated with the use of description statistics and Tobit regression Analysis. Subscription to membership of farmers’ groups was found to be poor as evidenced in the subscription index (0.427). Marital status of farmers, educational level, household size, farm size, farming experience, extension visits and contacts with other farmers were discovered to be correlates of propensity of farmers to subscribe to self-help groups. It is recommended that extension agencies sensitize the leadership of such groups about the need to satisfy members first; organize leadership training for such leaders; and re-orient farmers on the benefit of farmers’ self-help groups.

Key words: Self-help, Social capital, Delta State, Nigeria, Extension

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Leadership and self help groups in Nigeria – implications for extension, 65-76.

Albert Ukaro OFUOKU, & Joseph Unuetara AGBAMU
Email: ofuoku@yahoo.com

This study was conducted in Nigeria´s Delta Central Agricultural Zone to determine the effectiveness of the leadership of farmers’ self-help groups. Seven of the 27 registered farmers groups were randomly selected. Ten percent of the members of each selected group were also randomly selected, resulting in 68 respondents. Primary data were collected with the use of questionnaires and direct interview, while secondary data were collected from the records of the selected farmers’ groups. Data were subjected to statistical analysis by using mean derived from 4-point Likert-type scale, frequency counts and percentages. The hypotheses were addressed with the use of Spearman’s rank order correlation. Leadership was rated low in qualities of leaders although the leaders have been found to be fairly effective for some aspects: creating access to credit, organizing groups for price determination and direct sale of produce to consumers. The members’ participation in meetings was irregular. The implication for extension delivery service is that regular training should be organized for the leadership of farmers groups.

Key words: Farmers’ groups, Leadership effectiveness, Delta State

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The Sasakawa Africa Fund for extension education initiative in Mali, 77-88.

Assa KANTE’, Michael Craig EDWARDS, & Cindy BLACKWELL
Email: akante@field.winrock.org

The performance of extension agents and agencies in Africa has been questioned. Calls to provide more professional development are pervasive. This study assessed the views of extension agents who had completed the SAFE training program regarding their experiences with Supervised Enterprise Projects (SEPs) as a tool for serving clients. Semi-structured, focus group interviews were used to collect data. The graduates’ concerns in regard to difficulties and constraints associated with the SEPs included cost, supervisory practices, project scope, and standards for project reporting and thesis writing. The SEPs needed systematic financial support, more effective supervision, a standardized reporting format, and networking with potential funders.

Key words: Extension, Training, Supervised enterprise projects.

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Universities’ consortium on extension and advisory services, 89.

Kristin DAVIS
Email: kristin.davis@g-fras.org

The Universities’ Consortium on Extension and Advisory Services is affiliated with the Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services. It is a platform for academia in universities and other training institutions, researchers in the field of extension, and/or service providers to various clienteles along the agriculture value chain and in need of forms of support in rural livelihoods and wellbeing. The consortium was established out of a discussion on the “new extensionist” capacities needed in extension and advisory services (EAS), specifically during a meeting in Pretoria, 14-15 March 2013.

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NEWS, VIEWS AND REVIEWS: YOU CAN USE.

O.S. Verma

This is seventh instalment in the series of Articles on Healthcare Consciousness. Good health through Fruits is the modern Mantra.

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Last modified: 29 August 2013

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