Evolution of Agricultural Extension in Zimbabwe - Emerging Technologies, Training Needs and Future Possibilities

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Kangara, G., Muwaniki, C., Siziba, S., Chamboko, T., Mtambanengwe, F. and Wedekind, V. 2024. Evolution of Agricultural Extension in Zimbabwe - Emerging Technologies, Training Needs and Future Possibilities. South African Journal of Agricultural Extension. 52 (2), pp. 21-55. https://doi.org/10.17159/2413-3221/2024/v52n2a14969

AuthorsKangara, G., Muwaniki, C., Siziba, S., Chamboko, T., Mtambanengwe, F. and Wedekind, V.
Abstract

Skills development needs of smallholder farmers have often been overlooked during the delivery of agricultural information due to a lack of curriculum reform and gaps between agricultural extension officers’ (AEOs) training and farmers’ changing needs. Recent evidence suggests that the greatest need for agricultural extension services is for new farmers and emerging agricultural technologies compared to well-established farmers and farming methods. On the contrary, lack of adequate extension skills has impeded the implementation and success of climate- and nutrient-smart agricultural technologies such as conservation agriculture and integrated soil fertility management in rainfed cropping systems. Here, we review the history of agricultural extension in Zimbabwe and the impacts of colonial heritage and restructuring on extension. We also present findings from recent research on AEO training and gaps in the curriculum. This research indicated that a gap in skills exists due to insufficient AEOs’ training in essential areas such as farm management, market access, emerging technologies (for example, mobile phones) and supporting the changing needs of farmers. We demonstrate an urgent need for agricultural extension systems in Zimbabwe to explore new models in the field that equip AEOs with adequate training and skills which meet the needs of new farmers and emerging agricultural technologies.

KeywordsConservation agriculture; E-Extension; Integrated soil fertility management; New farmers; Smallholder farmers; Skills gap
Year of Publication2024
JournalSouth African Journal of Agricultural Extension
Journal citation52 (2), pp. 21-55
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.17159/2413-3221/2024/v52n2a14969
Open accessPublished as non-open access
FunderGlobal Challenges Research Fund (UKRI)
Accepted author manuscript
Output statusPublished
ISSN2413-3221

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