South Africa (SA) finds itself in a region where the rich countries perceive it as a sustainable and viable proposition for investment. The prospects for the future are bright but a warning light is burning: high food prices; shortage of essential food and the import of it; 50% of land reform projects have failed. Can the SA Agricultural Extension service play a role to address these issues?
Research in SA clearly indicates a new concept of Extension and identifies 13 essential principles underlying any Extension approach, ranging from an educational and pro-active approach to an advisory and reactive approach. By means of consultation, discussion and dialogue extension practitioners and trainers developed an Agricultural Landscape for Extension, identifying specific concepts, study fields and essential knowledge / skills areas that form the "playing field" for the extension agent. An effective extension service is based on certain fixed principles namely :
The interrelationship between agricultural development and human development;
Development being needs based;
Participation being essential for all role players; and
Any intervention program being focused on behaviour change.