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Accueil du site → Doctorat → Afrique du Sud → 2022 → The role of agricultural extension and landcare policy in building farmer capacity to manage natural resources : the case of landcare programmes in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

University of KwaZulu-Natal (2022)

The role of agricultural extension and landcare policy in building farmer capacity to manage natural resources : the case of landcare programmes in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

Ndlela, Sithembiso.

Titre : The role of agricultural extension and landcare policy in building farmer capacity to manage natural resources : the case of landcare programmes in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

Auteur : Ndlela, Sithembiso.

Université de soutenance : University of KwaZulu-Natal

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy In Agricultural Extension and Rural Resource Management, 2022

Résumé partiel
Agriculture is an important element of the South African (SA) economy. However, increasing pressure to produce food has exacerbated pressure on natural resources (NR). The deteriorating state of NR is caused by multiple factors that vary from farm to farm. SA LandCare was established specifically to address this. However, LandCare programmes are perceived to focus primarily on relief and rehabilitation of NR rather than addressing the underlying fundamental complex causes. This study sought to explore the extent to which : LandCare attempts to mitigate core problems rather than symptoms ; LandCare works to ensure long-term natural resource management (NRM) by farmers ; and extension is contextualised in building farmer capacity to manage NR. This study also sought to provide a theoretical model depicting the positioning of extension within the LandCare programme to improve the sustainability of NRM while maintaining its goal of improving household food security. Primary research comprised semi-structured interviews with 45 key respondents selected using purposive sampling. The respondents included 20 farmers, 20 provincial extension workers and five LandCare officials in the National Department of Agriculture (NDA). These three groups of respondents were selected deliberately as they could provide more accurate information to fulfil the study objectives and help answer the underlying research question. This study had four central findings. First, the role of extension is not adequately contextualized in LandCare in terms of building farmer capacity to manage NR. Extension, in its NR-related work, is mainly involved in training farmers in specific technical skills and not in building learning and problem-solving capacity. This capacity would put farmers in the position of making informed decisions about the intended LandCare development and thereby make them more equal partners in the LandCare initiative. Second, the way the role of extension in LandCare is carried out in practice undermines the significance of local knowledge and experience and effectively dismisses them as not being credible because they are not “scientific” – not informed by recognised scientific theories and methods. This is inconsistent with capacity building theory that posits that true capacity is built starting with what farmers know and have

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