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Wageningen University (2011)

Transfer of learning : factors influencing the transfer of learning in training smallholder farmers by Agritex extension workers in Zimbabwe on moisture conservation innovations

Muhau, E.

Titre : Transfer of learning : factors influencing the transfer of learning in training smallholder farmers by Agritex extension workers in Zimbabwe on moisture conservation innovations

Auteur : Muhau, E.

Université de soutenance : Wageningen University

Grade : Master of Science (MS) 2011

Résumé
Zimbabwe is a country where rainfall is unreliable and its frequency and intensity has decreased for the last ten years now. This is affecting the growth of crops especial for most smallholder farmers who are depending on rain fed agriculture. In order to improve maize productivity in the areas affected by dry spell Agritex and support from NGOs and other organisations are training smallholder farmers on new moisture conservation innovations. This helps to improve moisture availability to crops when there is a dry spell during the growing season. The aim of training farmers the new innovations is to transfer learning so that they use the knowledge and skills in their farms thereby improve crop productivity. This research has identified the factors that influence the transfer of learning in training small holder farmers on the new moisture conservation innovations by Agritex. Different training approaches used by Agritex extension workers were identified and how they can support and hinder transfer of learning on new innovations. This study used a case study where 3 AEWs from Agritex department and 6 small holder farmers who are trained on the new moisture conservation innovations were interviewed. The training sessions were observed and also the farmer practices were observed. The farmers interviewed were selected from the list of farmers who are being trained on new innovations in Marondera district. AEWs were also randomly selected from the different wards where the new innovations are being promoted. Interviews were done using semi structured interview guided by a checklist. The respondents were narrating their stories guided by the researcher. Data analysis was done by analysing the narrative stories and the observed farmer practices by grouping, sorting, editing and summarising. From desk research there were many factors in transfer design influencing transfer of learning such as farmer participation during training, AEW to farmer coaching, farmer involved in planning, giving farmer feedback and farmer to farmer coaching. The information collected from this research showed that Agritex to certain extent gave farmers some chance to participate during training especial in carrying out demonstrations, field days and during look and learn tours. The look and learn tours were appreciated by many farmers as they were saying they can learn much from by visiting other farmers. Feedback was not given as was expected by farmers and this was found to discourage farmers in practicing the trained innovations.AEW were mostly giving positive feedback to those farmers who had been found to perform better in practicing the trained technologies. Agritex should train AEWs on how to give feedback to farmers as this can improve the transfer of learning among farmers. Also it was found out that farmer to farmer coaching was not being done in training moisture conservation innovations. Visual aids were used by extension workers during training, but their dirtiness and torn flip chart made it difficult for AEWs to effectively use them. Also the shortage of clear markers which farmers could clearly see aided the problem of using the visual aids to expected standards. AEWs did not help farmers in coming up with their goals. Extension workers made blanket goals and objectives for all the farmers in training them. This was found to affect farmers in accepting the trained innovations. Extension workers should have group meetings where farmers can come up with their goals and objectives together. This can help in coming with objectives similar to those of farmers.

Mots clés : agricultural extension / knowledge transfer / extension / agriculture / maize / maize soils / soil water / water conservation / innovations / farmers / small farms / zimbabwe

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Page publiée le 17 janvier 2015, mise à jour le 17 octobre 2018