The role of partnerships in agricultural extension service delivery: a study conducted in provincial departments of agriculture in South Africa
Ngaka, M. J.; Zwane, E. M.
South African Journal of Agricultural Extension 46(1): 14-25
There are different role players in the provision and support of extension in South Africa and the main one is the Government. This study seeks to report on the perceptions of advisors with regards to the role of partnerships in South African extension and advisory services. The study targeted a population of approximately 3 369 extension practitioners in South Africa from different occupational positions which included agricultural advisors, agricultural technicians, agricultural development technicians, senior advisors, and subject matter specialists. The findings indicate that partnerships are important in extension and advisory services. It can generally improve the provision of extension and advisory services in the sector. Provinces were differing in their state of awareness about partnerships, but when it comes to the usefulness of partnerships 50% of the respondents, agreed that partnership was important. Respondents identified six factors that are perceived to be critical for partnerships, namely capacity building, networking and learning, technical support, financial assistance, research, and new technology. Furthermore, three main strategies were identified to promote partnerships which include the use of formal agreements with partnerships, conducting needs analysis, and using invitation. The majority of respondents (72%) noted that the Free State Province was of the opinion that commodity organisations are very helpful in partnerships. The paper concludes with a recommendation of developing terms of reference (TOR) or operational guidelines for operationalising partnerships as well as the keeping of records to harmonise their contributions and reduction of possible duplications of service provision.