The main purpose of the study was to investigate the extent of sustainable extension support provided to Proactive Land Acquisition Strategy (PLAS) beneficiaries in the Nkangala District of Mpumalanga Province and to determine beneficiaries' skills, interests and experiences in farming. The researcher used a qualitative research methodology to conduct the research. The study was conducted in four Local Municipalities in Nkangala District with existing PLAS projects, namely Emakhazeni, Steve Tshwete, Emalahleni and Victor Khanye. All the thirty-three PLAS projects in the four municipalities were selected for the study, and interviews were conducted.
A sample of 120 PLAS beneficiaries was selected, drawn from the population of 33 transferred PLAS projects reflected in various records and files of the Department of Agriculture, Rural Development and Land Administration (DARDLA) and the Department of Land Affairs (DLA), as applicable at the end of the 2010/2011 financial year. The study included 14 extension officers who were providing extension support to farmers. The interviews focused on access of farmers to resources and support services such as agricultural extension service, institutional support, training services and credit services. Farmers' interest and commitment to farming were evaluated. The Statistical Package Social Sciences version (SPSS 20.0) was used for entering, coding and analysis of data. Descriptive statistics were used, since most of the data was qualitative. Tables; graphs, Descriptive Analyses, Frequencies, means, Mann-Whitney U Test, and Fisher's Exact Tests were used to analyse the data. The findings from this study show that the highest level of education of 41 % of farmer respondents is between Grades 6 and 11. Gratuities and remittances are the biggest contributors to farmers' income. A total of 46 % of farmers are not engaged on a full-time basis. Some items of the equipment/machinery and infrastructure were in poor condition when the farm was acquired (as indicated by farmer respondents). The poor conditions of infrastructure could have led to farmers not staying on the farm. According to Table 5.2, the two most important reasons for the delays were lack of funds (32 %) and social challenges (25 %). The excessive delays could have led to farms being vandalised. The study also shows that 28 % of the farmers are managing their farms without a farm business plan and that almost all projects with a plan were not operating according to their respective plan. PLAS projects must have a detailed business plan and must operate according to the plan. The majority (76; 63 %) of farmer respondents did not receive any financial assistance to operate their farms.
A total of 17 (18 %) farmer respondents indicated that an extension officer was not assigned to them. A total of 22 farmers (23 %) indicated that the extension officer was only assigned to them more than 6 months after their occupation of the farm. In terms of project visits by the extension officers, a total of 18 % of farmers indicated that the extension officer took longer than once a month to visit their projects. Lack of training is demonstrated in this study, and in some of the projects, it was not clear who called the project meetings; it varies between chairperson (43; 32 %), secretary (26; 19 %) and extension officer (16; 12 %). Minutes were not taken or kept of all the proceedings of meetings (60 % 'yes', 23 % 'do not know') and attendance registers were not completed (15 %). The average attendance of project meetings by farmers is 50 %, as indicated by the farmer and extension officer respondent categories. The study also revealed that 72 (60 %) farmers use cell phones for accessing agricultural information and a total of 59 (49 %) rely on extension officers to provide them with agricultural information. A total of 55 % of the farmers rated technical advice as the most important service offered by the extension officers when visiting their farms, while an alarming 12 % of farmer respondents indicated that no service was offered. Only 25 % of PLAS beneficiaries indicated that they did undergo training.
Dissertation (MSc (Agric))--University of Pretoria, 2017.