FARMING SYSTEMS RESEARCH AND EXTENSION IN SOUTH AFRICA: LESSONS OF EXPERIENCE

Agricultural researchers, extension workers and developers are faced with the problem that modern improved technology is often rejected by smallholder farmers in developing areas all over the world. The paper analyses the South African problem within the context of the needs and constraints facing smallholder farmers and rural dwellers in developing areas to secure access to markets. Development strategies are briefly proposed arguing the need for comprehensive farmer support programmes. Farming Systems Research and Extension (FSR/E) is identified as an important element of any Farmer Support Programme (FSP). The role of FSR/E in the proposed development strategy is analysed and it is concluded that FSR/E should have as its ultimate goal, the promotion of economic, social and structural change induced by technological transformation at all levels in the rural community. Lessons from five FSR/E studies in South Africa arc highlighted emphasizing: a) identification for research into farmer support systems, community support systems, farmer settlement systems, and commercial farming systems; b) differences in respect of decision-making responsibilities of individuals, groups and households, vis-a-vis implementation responsibilities; c) support specifically structured toward women; d) position and role of livestock and multiple cropping systems and risk avoidance; and e) the need for development goals to be clearly defined and principles and criteria to be followed when considering FSR/ E projects. It is further argued that the present South African initiatives in developing a new research policy offers an unique opportunity to restructure research linking institutions in a network where appropriate technological innovation and delivery is attended to.


Issue Date:
1990-12-1990-12-1990-12
Publication Type:
Journal Article
ISSN:
0303-1853
Language:
English
Published in:
Agrekon, Volume 29, Issue 4
Page range:
363-370




 Record created 2018-01-29, last modified 2018-01-30

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