The starting point of any project is a need and a need is much more concrete and more definable: otherwise a project can never be well planned For a project to be successful, the needs of the beneficiaries has to be clearly analysed and understood for appropriate planning to take place (Swanepoel & de Beer 2006: 172). The main objective of this study is to determine the influence that the beneficiaries needs had on the project success or failure as perceived by both the beneficiaries (project participants) and the serving extension officers. The study revealed that 20.8% of the project participants and 30.2% of the extension officers indicated that the farmer's needs were only mostly met.
Secondly, significantly more project participants (26.4%) than extension officers (13.6%) indicated that the choice of project content was based on calculated impact.
A total of 56% extension officers and only 20% project participants indicated "other content of choice" as their most important option. The majority (52.4%) of both respondent categories indicated that the training received was very relevant. Project participants indicated a need for 25.25 mean days of training while extension officers indicated a need for 26.71 mean days of training. The majority (52.4%) of both respondent categories indicated that the training was very much relevant and at least 48% of both respondent categories indicated that the need assessment was done on continuous bases. A negative aspect is that 31% of all the respondents indicated that needs assessment was only done once a year while 12% indicated that there was no assessment done. The majority of project participants (73%) reported that they were consulted before the project started and only 7.1% reported that they were not consulted, while 38.3 % of both respondent categories indicated that the Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) method was used to assess their needs. The findings clearly indicate a significant association between farmer's needs and project failure or success.