Your SlideShare is downloading. ×
Agricultural extension paper
Agricultural extension paper
Agricultural extension paper
Agricultural extension paper
Agricultural extension paper
Agricultural extension paper
Agricultural extension paper
Agricultural extension paper
Agricultural extension paper
Agricultural extension paper
Agricultural extension paper
Agricultural extension paper
Agricultural extension paper
Agricultural extension paper
Agricultural extension paper
Agricultural extension paper
Agricultural extension paper
Agricultural extension paper
Agricultural extension paper
Agricultural extension paper
Agricultural extension paper
Agricultural extension paper
Agricultural extension paper
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5
×

Thanks for flagging this SlideShare!

Oops! An error has occurred.

×
Saving this for later? Get the SlideShare app to save on your phone or tablet. Read anywhere, anytime – even offline.
Text the download link to your phone
Standard text messaging rates apply

Agricultural extension paper

313

Published on

Published in: Business, Technology
0 Comments
1 Like
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Views
Total Views
313
On Slideshare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
0
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
21
Comments
0
Likes
1
Embeds 0
No embeds

Report content
Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

Cancel
No notes for slide

Transcript

  • 1. Overview of Agricultural and Rural Extension Frameworks; Options for Institutional reforms in Ghana Paper Submitted to the GIMPA Journal of Leadership, Management, And Administration By Abdul-Nasser Salifu Lecturer at (GIMPA Business School) October, 2011 Abstract
  • 2. After a long history of various extension programmes in Ghana, the current National Agricultural Extension Project (NAEP) started in 1992. The main extension system under the NAEP is the Training and Visit (T&V) system. This system is based on transfer of technology to famers for increased productivity. The capacity of small holder farmers to take advantage of these new innovations depends on many factors including the educational level of men and women farmers; their household resources, access to markets, the availability of local producer organisations and their willingness to collaborate with new producer groups.Human and social capital development of the extension chain is growingly becoming cardinal to the accomplishement of the mandate of agriculture. It is the focus of this paper to identify important issues within the agricultural and rural extension service institutions that have contributed directly to the use of these innovations in improving rural livelihoods and in educating farmers to use sustainable natural resource management practices for poverty reduction and attainment of major development objectives.One hundred and thirty Extensions workers (130) sampled for this study ranked human and social capital frameworks as more vital to the improvement of rural livelihoods than the traditional transfer of technology technique employed by the extension directorate. The study also thus provides empirical evidence to conclude that a very high correlation exist between human and social capital frameworks within the Ghanaian extension process. The findings suggests that human and social capital should be more recognised by policy makers as key issues in the extension and rural development process hampering (when weak) or supporting (when strong) the implementation of agricultural and rural development policies in Ghana. This paper advocates a shift in emphasis from technology transfer approach to human and social capital development approach with specific attention on increasing management skills and knowledge that poorly educated farm households need to double household income. The continuing market intergration has made it necessary to consider business management of farms with public extension systems focusing on post harvest handling of produce and organisation of small scale farmers into viable entities. Introduction Agriculture is the backbone of the Ghanaian economy and the major source of income for rural populations. The importance of agricultural and rural extension to agricultural development is reflected in the government‟s strategic policy documents, Vision 2020 and the Accelerated
  • 3. Agricultural Growth and Development Strategy (AAGDS). These strategies supported by agricultural and rural extension services, are envisaged to contribute to the achievement of average agriculture sector growth of 6% per annum expected to raise total GDP growth from 5% to annual average of 8% (MOFA). In Ghana, most farming is characterised by small holder farming and traditional production methods with large scale commercial farming almost non-existent in most rural communities. As a result, the implementation of the National Agricultural Extension Project (NAEP) started in 1992 has focused on transfer of improved technology to small-scale farmers with the view to raising subsistence farming into commercial farming. According to Swanson (2008), eventhough this traditional role has served many purposes in the past, there is growing evidence that extension services aimed at improving the human and social capital of rural populations is the primary driver for agricultural development in sub-saharan Africa. He argues further that, developing the Agricultural Knowledge Innovations System (AKIS) within agricultural and rural development framework, will significantly increase the knowledge and skills of farmers in post harvest handling of high value crops. More importantly, it will further enhance the leadership and organizational skills of beneficiaries for establishing commodity specific organisations (CBOs), Socio-economic and Gender Based Organisations (GBOs), Natural Resource Management Based Organisations (NBOs), Farmer Co-operatives and Youth Based Organisations (YBOs) in Ghana. As Extension is not only limited to increased food production, extension and rural development programmes should be broadened to also capture the actual needs of small scale farmers. In Ghana for example, agricultural extension‟s role is not only to benefit farmers technologically but also socially, economically and financially. Human and Social capital development frameworks as opposed to the transfer of technology reflect and serve the diversity of small-scale farmers‟ real needs, which the public extension system often overlooks due to institutional gaps. Mordern management advisory services through individual farmer group needs is thus adapted to improve rural livelihoods. Farmer groups must boost their knowledge in farm management in order to adapt to demands of market economy and improve profitability.
  • 4. The extension system that builds the human and social capital of small holder farmers is the most rewarding rural extension measure to beneficiaries in Ghana. It also has a lasting impact on agricultural production, food security and enviromental management goals. Farm management extension must focus on all management possibilities of putting technology intervention into practice for improved access to inputs, commercial marketing channels and enviromental sustainability (CTA 1997). The need for enhancing the human and social capital development in extension work becomes imperative as major changes plague the agricultural and rural development sector in recent years. Some of the major changes include the success of the Green Revolution increasing the world‟s food supply, the growth of the commercial farm sector particularly in the developed countries; and trade liberalization, which is contributing to a rapidly developing world food system with lasting effects on developing countries (World Bank, 2006). Other internal changes such as the decentralization of Ministry of Food and Agriculture in 1987, rationalisation of public extension delivery under the national Unified Agricultural Extension Services (UAES) initiative and withdrawal of MoFA from the procurement and distribution of agricultural inputs including microfinance and micro enterprise development of rural societies have also impacted the extension frameworks. According to Adusei (2004), these changes (internal and external) have a significant bearing on the quality and timeliness of extension services delivery to small holder farmers. This supports the ealier assertion by Fiadjoe (2000), that these changes have proved the existing extension frameworks inefficient and has called for alternate approaches in agricultural and rural extension delivery in Ghana. It is the point of view of extension scholars that, as more and more production technologies become private goods and as an increasing percentage of farmers become commercialized producers, other extension approaches such as the Farmer Field Schools, Outgrower Schemes, Community Livestock Worker Model, Vocational Farmer Training, Input Supply Extension, Contract extension will become much more significant to public extension institutions in Ghana. Accordingly, rural households will be further burdened to find more effective ways of improving livelihoods if the cumulative effects of these changes are not immediately tackled by a new public exension policy framework.
  • 5. The purpose of this paper is to provide a new framework for understanding this process with different roles and approaches that public, private and civil society organisations in Ghana including Non-Govermental Organisations (NGOs), Private Voluteer Organisations (PVOs) and Farmer-Based Organisations (FBOs) can play to attain primary goals of increasing food security, improving rural livelihoods and ensuring the sustainability of natural enviroment. THEORETICAL AND CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORKS The term extension was first used to describe adult education programmes in England in the second half of the 19th Century; these programmes helped extend the work of the universities beyond campus and into the neighbouring communities (Blackburn, 1984). The term was later adopted in the United States with the establishement of land grant universities that included research activities, extension activities as part of the official university mandate to the teaching function. During the same period the mandate was transferred to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture. During the 20th century, most public extension systems in developing countries like Ghana were centrally funded and top-down in structure. The primary focus was on national food security and as green revolution technologies became available, extension had a positive impact on agricultural productivity by helping transfer technologies to small-scale farmers on food production. Food security targets at national levels were largely achieved throughout the world. However, while the global supply of major food crops increased during the 1990‟s, world food prices have followed a continous declining trend weakening the income of small-smale farmers (FAO, 2010). Likewise the record prices for oil and gas contribute directly to the upward trend in prices for key agricultural inputs, especially fertilizer and fuel in sub-Saharan Africa. In Ghana, the increasing concern about the impact of climate change on the socio-economic lives of small scale farmers as well as the continuing degradation of natural resources in selected communities have become topical to national planning commission. Rural development scholars believe these emerging trends can be expected to directly impact small-scale farmers‟ access to basic food products and livelihood. In Ghana, increasing farm income and rural employment can have immediate and direct impact on increasing food security at the household level. In most sub-Saharan countries agricultural and rural extension
  • 6. management studies reveal that, food insecurity is largely a money problem rather than a food availability problem (Swanson, 2006). Understanding Agricultural and Rural Extension Delivery in Ghana Agricultural Extension delivery in Ghana is largely a system of nonformal education. As such, it is a field of profesional education practice aimed at; Teaching farmers in their own context and life situasions, how to identify and assess their own development needs and problems; Helping them acquire the knowledge and skills required to cope effectively with those development needs and problems; and Inspiring them to action; Agricultural Extension education ideally occurs in settings of Ghana whereby the problems and concerns of those to be helped provide the base for the instruction that occurs. To help clients in their own context and with their own concerns, Agricultural Extension at its best focuses on attempting to improve the human condition. It endeavours to help clients “convince themselves” of the potential merits of scientific information, new technologies, improved practices and alternative approaches to managing their own affairs. Extension also undertakes to link clients with evolving research-based and tested knowledge, technologies, procedures and perspectives that may be in their own interest and potentially useful to their own purposes. Extension‟s mission in Ghana, is to help Ghanaian‟s, in their own social and cultural context, to become more capable of coping with and solving their own problems. In Ghana, although Agricultural extension efforts are geared towards the needs of resource-poor and the socially disadvantaged segments of the society much remains to be done in clearly defining the parameters of this field. For example what are the unifying elements that comprise a nucleus for Extension efforts in Ghana?. Those elements are a set beliefs and principles held, explicitly, or implicitly, by extensionists about what is valuable; how the world works; and how we can understand, predict and, to a certain extent, control events in the natural world. Identifying these beliefs and principles in Ghana, should lead us to formulating a new working philosophy for agricultural extension practice that will address emerging challenges related to human and social capital frameworks.
  • 7. Towards a Pluralistic Agricultural and Rural Extension System in Ghana During the last half century of the 20th century, a number of different extension models and approaches were promoted by different donors and other organisations, with differing levels of impacts in the developing world. After most sub-saharan countries achieved independence, most national extension systems were within the Ministries of Food and Agriculture, and these agencies were top-down, multifunctional systems that limited resources with little attention given to resource-poor farmers. Rogers (2003) argues that the focus was on higher-resource farmers, because they were the “innovators” and “early adopters” of new technologies. The Training and Visit (T&V) extension approach (Benor & Harrison, 1977) was built on this model and addressed some of the primary management issues associated with achieving national food security. However, as outlined by Anderson, Feder and Ganguly (2006), this model proved to be unsustainable after donor financing ended in most developing countries. In response to this T &V extension model, other extension approaches have been tried and tested during the past decades. These include participatory approaches to agricultural extension which were espected to build extension-farmer partnerships, engage local farmers in setting extension programme priorities and to refocus extension activities on the needs of these farmers. Van den Berg et al (2007) contend that these approaches did not address the structural problem of topdown extension. During the early 1980‟s, the Farming Systems Research and Extension (FSR/E) approach was initiated to examine current farming systems and then seek ways of increasing the productivity of these intergrated production systems and forge better linkages between research and extension. A primary problem faced by this approach is that these efforts were marginally financed because they were not perceived to be the core functions of extension research (Rivera & Qamar, 2003). Other rural development models emerged during this period including the integrated rural development (IRD) programmes that expanded the focus of extension beyond merely increasing agricultural productivity to improving rural livelihoods. The focus was still largely on technologies rather than markets. Swanson (2008) report that the participatory and IRD programmes were a prelude to the emerging trends especialy in transitional countries, where the
  • 8. focus has clearly shifted to improving rural livelihood within decentralized, farmer-led, marketdriven agricultural extension governance and institutions. In Ghana, one of the major difficulties with the public institutions is the difficulty in bringing about institutional change. In practice, bureaucracies in Agricultural institutions of Ghana change slowly unless there is a major policy intervention at the national level or, more likely if donors initiate such institutional changes from the outside. Most senior level government managers of Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) run an extension system as bureaucratic institution and most are resistant to change. Another problem is the current resource base within the Directorate of Agricultural Extension Services (DAES) of MOFA, including the current number of extension staff and their level of training. Salifu (2009) stresses that Ghana has a retinue of extension staff needing information required mainly for gaining background information for agricultural enterprises, teaching and communication of research findings to smale- scale farmers who need information to intensify their cultivation as land size dimishes. He argues further that there is a need for building extension staff capacity regarding new technologies, so they can deliver extension services in a more competent manner. Yet another major problem in Ghana is the current physical, operational and communication infrastucture within MOFA including lack of in-service training facilities and poorly equipped agricultural extension staff at the national levels (Anderson, 2007). For example, most regional (DAES) do not have sufficient operational funds, especially at the field level to cover routine travel, communication and training costs; therefore many routine extension activities do not get to targeted beneficiaries. The assignment carried out by extension staff in Ghana, are defined by senior-level managers and not by the farmers being served. As a result of these resource and management problems, different types of organisational arrangements have been tried over the past decades. NGOs and Private Voluntary Organisations (PVOs) are increasingly involved in rural development programmes thereby privatising extension services. One of the major advantages of private extension firms is their ability to stay on the focus, to hire staff they need to carry out a defined task and then manage their resources efficiently.
  • 9. Its worthnoting that in moving from technology transfer oriented extension system that is designed to increase agricultural productivity to a new strategy that seeks to improve rural livelihoods by increasing farm income and rural employment, significant changes will be required in the focus, management structure and approach of planning and implementing extension programmes in the public extension system. Another major factor is the rapid increase in the economic growth occuring in most sub-Saharan African countries. The majority of this economic growth is occuring in urban areas, creating an increasing demand for fruit, vegetables, livestock and fisheries products. This growing demand for high value products offers important market and employment for rural farm households in Ghana. However, if small –scale farmers are to produce high value crops they must learn about new production, processing and marketing to determine whether they can sucessfully pursue one or more of these new enterprises. Human and Social Development Frameworks in Extension Process Agricultural and Rural Extension programmes are people-oriented programmes. The focus of agricultural extension is on human beings not plants, cattle or vitamins. Extension encourages farmers to adopt new practices, to improve their communities, and serve in leadership roles. And whether it is recognised or not, many of the concepts and ideas that are basic to Extension practitioner roles today are rooted in the social sciences. Almost from the start such concepts as community, leadership, the social action process and adoption and diffusion have been a part of the repertoire of skills. They have become almost second nature for a successful extension staff and are seen as professionalism crucial to the success of agricultural development programmes in Ghana. And yet with the realization that these programmes primarily deal with “people” problems, most professional Extension staff are trained in the physical and biological sciences. Often their knowledge of the social sciences in Ghana is limited to one or more introductory Agriculture college courses, some limited in-service, and an abundance of trial and error experiences. As we review the contribution of social sciences to agricultural development programming, two categories emerged: those concepts that help extensionists to better understand the nature of our social enviroment and those that they use to bring about change.
  • 10. The concepts that we need to understand in our social enviroment are such things as the farm family, farm community, organisations and the make-up of the rural population. The concepts of change are adoption and diffusion, the social action process, decision making, small group dynamics and public policy education. All these are applicable in the areas of agricultural and rural extension programe delivery. In bringing about change, extension staff transmits ideas, attitudes and values to clients; share information; and establish recuring social order within Ghanaian farm communities. Historically a great deal of the success of the extension‟s educational programmes could be attributed to the trust and confidence placed in staff. Extension staff constitutes the primary groups of local communities where they work. Today, formal agricultural organisations establish more structured relationships among their members. Such organisations are generally created to perform specific goals. Relationships in formal organisations often evolve into hierarchical decision-making arrangements. A division of labour and a written set of rules and regulations. In otherwords, they elect officers from committees and adopt constitutional and by-laws. This brings us to the concepts of power and leadership in farmer-based organisations. Power in extension organisations is the ability to influence client actions, to control their behaviour. It allows some extension workers to impose their will on farmers. Authority as applied in this sense is the legitimate use of power, or in other words, the sanctioning of a farmer to act as a formal leader of an FBO. When members elect an officer of FBO, they are establishing his or her right to serve in a leadership capacity. Influence under these settings on the other hand, is the exercise of informal power (Hall, 1977). They occupy no formal position in the formal decision-making hierarchy, but have acquired their power base in FBO through such factors as wealth, family ties, tradition and age. Agricultural extension work attempts to identify current leaders and to help promising clients develop into leaders, anticipating that such clients will use those leadership skills to improve not only their personal situasions but also the conditions of the members they lead. By relying on this leader-based approach, Extension is expecting these leaders to spread the impact of its programmes beyond people directly reached by staff members. In addition, there is an
  • 11. expectation that leaders will exercise their newly acquired skills in many positive ways well beyond the scope of the Extension programme. Therefore, leadership is the process of influencing the activities of an organised group in tasks of goal setting and goal achievements (Stogdill, 1958). This defintion indicates that leadership is an aspect of organisation in that it increases the organisational member‟s ability to plan and produce effectively. It also suggests that someone is willing and able to exert influence on group members. In otherwords, leadership in extension work is concerned with both the leader and the organisation. There are many conceptual frameworks used to describe leadership in agricultural development work. One developed by Vandenberg, et al. (1986) summarizes five perspectives. They are the trait, behavioral, situasion-contingency, transactional and attributional approaches. The trait approach contends that there are specific personality characteristics that enable an extension manager to influence the behaviour of group members. In otherwords leadership abilities can be explained by the presence of certain leadership traits. Research studies have focused on identifying these traits. For example, stogdill (1948) examined literature on the relationship between leadership and psychological traits and came up with 124 individual items. He grouped these into 29 leadership traits, which he then reduced even further to six characteristics: intelligence, assertiveness, self-confidence, energy, task-relevant ability and sociability. This approach has been strongly criticed for ignoring situasional factors, the make up of the group and other influences. Never the less Extension staff regularly identify existing leaders based on their individual characteristics. Furthermore, many of the extension leadership training programmes strive to develop leaders through enhancing individual competencies such as selfconfidence, communication and human relations skills. Although researchers have been unable to agree on a universal list of leadership traits, most would agree that leaders are distinguished from followers on the basis of certain traits. The second approach to leadership is on leader‟s behaviour. Leadership is viewed as a set of behaviours that influences group actions. Like leadership traits, reseaerch efforts have attempted to identify behaviour that is consistently corrected with effective leadership.The behavioural
  • 12. approach to leadership is probably most widely recognised by the term “leadership styles”. An early description of leadership behaviour (Lewin, et al., 1939) referred to as Lewin‟s triangle, cites three main leadership styles: autocratic, democratic, and “laissez-faire”. Other taxonomies have expanded this list. For example one that is widely used in extension circles describes five leadership styles (Robinson and Cliford 1972): abdicator, activator, cavalier, controller and martyr. Training programmes therefore encourage clients to utilize appropriate leader behaviour based on the needs of the group. The third approach to leadership in extension practice is the situasion contingency perspective. According to this view of leadership, the leader‟s traits and behaviour are still important, but a crucial element is added; the situational context. Effective leadership depends on the proper match between the traits and behaviour of the leader and the needs of the group. That is, effective leadership depends on the ability of the leader to diagnose the group‟s needs and adjust to satisfy those needs. The need to analyze a situasion and adjust one‟s behaviour accordingly has long been a guiding principle in all Extension‟s work. Theorectically, situasional contingency approach to leadership prescribes the appropriate leadership behaviour for a specific set of circumstances. However, in reality, even if a leader is capable of analyzing a wide variety of situasional factors and is skilled at utilizing different behavioral styles, at its best, he or she has only a rough idea of the most appropriate leadership behaviour to use. Eventhough situasional –contingency models have not provided a complete explanation of leadership, this approach has netherleless taught Agric development workers in Ghana, the importance of considering the effect of situasional factors; the need to identify and understand not just the leader‟s role, but also group members role; and the value of adjusting one‟s behaviour to fit the situasion. The fourth perspective- the transactional approach is based on the assumption that leadership is a process by which leaders and group members interact. The theorectical bases are found in exchange theory in which the leader engages in transaction or exchanges with individual group members. Leaders must show their competence and trustworthiness to earn the respect of followers. From this perspective, leadership is the interchange of leaders and group members, not just the leader influencing the farmer group.
  • 13. The transactional approach is a very important concept for the educational and decentralized tradition of extension. This perspective suggests that, rather than spending all our efforts training leaders, we should also take time to train and inform the followers. Successful leaders after all depend on effective followers. The fifth perspective of leadership is the attribution approach. This socio-psychologically based construct emphasizes perception of leadership by both leaders and followers. Quite simply, “ an effective leader in extension work is one who is perceived to be effective by clients” ( Vandenberg, et al 1986). Thus, leadership is a role described by others and their perception of its effectiveness. It is not merely an objective concept to be defined and measured outside of its context, but is a concept that has meaning attributed to it by the persons involved. Historically, most leadership studies sought to identify an objective list of leadership traits and behaviours. This fifth perspective questions the validity of such research and suggests that such an objective approach may not be meaningful. Instead, it may be necessary to increase our attention to the contextual setting in which leadership in extension work is found and focus on how perceptions are formed. None of these five approaches to leadership is complete in itself; however, each offers a unique perspective and accompanying insight to agricultural development work. Our responsibilty is to draw from these concepts the ideas we can use as we develop agricultural and rural development programmes that depend on effective leadership in Ghana. Research Data and Methodology The methodology combined qualitative and quantitative methods in the data gathering process, analysis and interpretation of empirical results. The study employed a survey design to gain information from Extension workers and key informants in fifteeen selected rural communities representing the five different ecological zones of Ghana. In each zone within a district, two MOFA operational areas were covered to elicit respondents‟ view on twenty items identified by situational analysis, literature review, personal experience and panel of experts as cardinal
  • 14. variables related to human and social capital development in the agricultural and rural development process of Ghana. Extension workers indicated their responses on a five-point likert continuum of Strongly Agree, Agree, Neutral, Disagree and Strongly Disagree. This scale was assigned scores of 5,4,3,2 and 1, respectively. A five-point likert scale type enables a researcher to identify proportion of respondents taking a neutral position on a perceptive statement in agricultural and rural development qualitative enquiry (Clason & Dormody, 2011). Prior to the operationalisation of this instrument, a pilot test was conducted on four (4) extension workers in the Dangbe-west district who were not part of the study. The data collected from the pilot study was entered into spss datafile to generate the alpha co-efficient for the sub-scales of the construct employed by this anlysis. The cronbach alpha co-efficient of 0.76 was derived from the computer analysis. The test showed that the items on instrument were internally consistent and 76 percent reliable for data collection on the human and social capital framework for agricultural and rural development compared to the minimum of 0.50 suggested by Numally (1967). The results of this study are based on completed questionnaires from one hundred and thirty (130) randomly selected extension workers participating in an evaluation study. Those selected were full time workers of MOFA and Private Volunteer Organisations very convesant with the FASDEP II, METASIP strategic policy documents for Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Development Strategy (AAGDS) designed to increase the sector‟s annual growth rate to 6 percent per annum based on the long term strategic programme for Ghana „Vision 2020‟. Participatory methods of enquiry including the focused group discussions were used to gather the necessary primary data used in this study. Method of Data Analysis. Data was sorted, coded and entered into spreadsheet on the computer using Excel software. This was then later imported into the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) for windows version 16.0. By looking at trends and commonalities indicated in short answer forms,
  • 15. descriptive statistics were used to analyze the gathered quantitative data. These included frequencies, percentages, means, standard deviations and Pearson r significant tests.
  • 16. Results & Discussions Introduction. This section presents empirical data on human and social capital development within agricultural and rural extension delivery. It also determines the degree of association between these two significant frameworks along the extension delivery chain. Human Capital Development in Agricultural and Rural Extension Work This aspect of the study measured perception of extension workers towards the variables identified to contribute to human capital development in Ghana. This accomplishes the second specific objective of the study. Table1. Ranking Mean of Extension workers perceptions towards Human Capital Development in Agricultural and Rural Extension work (N=130) Items Variables Min 1 Diversification into selected High value crops, livestock and fisheries products Post-harvest handling of agricultural produce 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Meeting product quality and traceability standards for export Agricultural mechanisation, water management, and protective cover crops Gaining acess to and learning how to use market information Information technology skills and knowledge on precision farming Natural Resource management skills on land management Natural Resource Management skills on water management including drip and irrigation systems Climate change implications on agricultural production systems Biological management and biodiversity conservation for livestock production Max Mean 1.00 5.00 3.47 Std Deviation 1.25 1.00 1.00 5.00 5.00 4.12 2.85 1.21 1.44 1.00 5.00 3.58 1.23 1.00 5.00 2.70 1.21 1.00 5.00 2.99 1.19 1.00 5.00 2.80 1.02 1.00 5.00 2.82 1.03 1.00 5.00 2.82 0.93 1.00 5.00 2.82 1.34 Strongly Agree=5, Agree=4, Neutral=3, Disagree=2, Strongly Disagree=1 Table 1 clearly illustrates perceptions towards human capital development in agricultural and rural development work. As can be seen, the effective building of small scale farmers capacity in
  • 17. post-harvest handling of agricultural produce (4.12) can go along way to enhancing rural livelihoods in most Ghanain farm families. This may be due to the fact that staple foods after production need processing in order to meet stringent market standards and specifications. Increased knowledge in grading and packaging could enhance the value of primary produce to attract higher income on the competitive agro-market. Further, improved knowledge and skills through training on mordern storage techniques of staple foods in Ghana will farmers to draw maximum profits from the sale of produce during the seasons when food prices are higher. In order for farmers to draw maximum profits from agriculture the sustainance of the natural enviroment must be ensured as production is directly linked to soil fertility. However small scale farmers are still not enviromentally conscious of the hazards of poor agricultural practices to the enviroment including land and water mangement techniques (2.85). The implication is that climate change management in Ghana is still a major knowledge gap that must be narrowed for improved rural livelihoods. Social Capital Development in Agricultural and Rural Extension Work This section contends that to improve rural livelihoods, achieve food security at the household levels and transform rural communities in Ghana, it is essential to organise farmers, farm women and rural youth into different groups of farmer-based organisations. Table 2. Ranking Mean of Extension workers perceptions towards Social Capital Development in Agricultural and rural extension work (N=130) Items Variables Min 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Organising farm families into commodityspecific producer groups Organising farm families into Socio-economic producer groups Organising farm families into Watershed or irrigation management organisations Organising farm families into gender-based farm organisation Organising farm families into Farmer cooperatives for input supply Organising farm families into Rural Youth organisations Farm organisations for management of favourable policy enviroment for FBO support Organisations for strengthening Linkages between Research ansd Extension institutions Max Mean 1.00 5.00 2.93 Std Deviation 1.02 1.00 5.00 3.03 1.05 1.00 5.00 2.85 0.94 1.00 5.00 3.63 1.19 1.00 5.00 4.15 0.98 1.00 5.00 3.66 4.53 1.00 5.00 3.65 1.11 1.00 5.00 3.89 1.00
  • 18. 9 10 Organisations for strengthening technical and management capacity of FBO as partners of Research Building Public-Private partnerships with FBOs to serve in Rural areas 1.00 5.00 3.76 1.20 1.00 5.00 3.61 0.93 Strongly Agree=5, Agree=4, Neutral=3, Disagree=2, Strongly Disagree=1 Table 2 shows the ranking mean of extension workers‟ perceptions to the social capital development framework which is the third objective of this study. To this end, the researchers have asked questions on 10 items related to different farmer groups as shown in the Table. The highest mean ranks respectively relate to the organisation of farm families into farmer cooperatives ( 4.17) and youth organisations (3.66) whiles the lowest mean refers to organisation of farm families into watershed or irrigation management organisations (2.85). This means that building the leadership, organisational and financial management skills of farmers and rural youth to effectively manage farmer co-operatives and rural youth organisations is a better option for institutions to consider for enhanced extension delivery in Ghana. The implication is that small and medium scale farmer co-operatives and rural youth organisations should develop linkages with input suppliers and markets through their respective so they can reduce transportation costs for inputs especially fertilizer. With the inception of the fertilizer subsidy programme and block farm concept, these social networks will invariably improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the agricultural extension system seeking to extension services to contact farmers engaged in these new MOFA initiatives. Correlation between Human and Social Capital Development In addition to transfer of technologies, human and social capital development of farm households to be able to benefit from these new improved techniques constitute important functions of the agricultural and rural extension work. These are fundamental to increasing the technical and management skills of all types of farm households in Ghana in view of the fact that most subsistence farm households lack basic education to enhance their knowledge and skills for improved livelihoods. Organising farm families into viable organisations as an institutional measure could be an effective instrument for building long-term capital within rural communities for enhanced public extension delivery in Ghana.
  • 19. Table 3. Correlation between Human and Social Capital Development in Agricultural and Rural Extension work (N=130) Items Human Capital Development scores X Social Capital Development Scores Y X2 Y2 XY 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.47 4.12 2.85 3.58 2.70 2.99 2.80 2.82 2.82 2.82 X=30.97 2.93 3.03 2.85 3.63 4.15 3.66 3.65 3.89 3.76 3.61 Y=35.16 12.04 16.97 8.12 12.82 7.29 8.94 7.84 7.95 7.95 7.95 X2=97.82 8.59 9.18 8.12 13.18 17.22 13.40 13.32 15.13 14.14 13.03 Y2=125.31 10.17 12.48 8.12 13.00 11.05 10.94 10.22 10.97 10.60 10,14 XY=107.69 r= N XY- ( X)( Y) √{N X² -( X)2 } {N Y² -( Y)2} r is the pearson‟s correlation co-efficient. r = 12911.1 13304.4 r = +0.97. Table 3 provides an indication of the correlation between human and social capital development in agricultural and extension rural extension work. Pearson co-efficient (r), a measure of association between human and social capital variables on a likert scale was found to be + 0.97. The tested value of r, at 0.05 (two tailed probability) for a sample size of 130 corresponds to 0.256. This means that the minimum level of r required to be statistically significant at p=0.05 is 0.256. A co-efficient of +0.97 is positive and indicates a very a strong correlation between
  • 20. human and social capital development in agricultural and rural extension work. The implication is that increased knowledge of farm households on new techniques of food production, processing and marketing of agricultural produce will shift attitudes towards organisation into farmer-based producer groups for enhanced extension delivery. The study concludes that the greater the knowledge and skills of farm households the higher their chances of belonging to a farmer based organisation in Ghana. The implication is that most farmer-based organisations serve the needs of commercial farmers rather than subsistence farmers who constitute over 90 percent of the Ghanaian farming population. Conclusion Agricultural and Rural Extension work in Ghana is constrained by weak co-ordination between public and private enterprises in agriculture, lack of coverage of remote farming areas due to the high farmer-to-extension agent ratio, and little motivation for extension agents.Transforming a largely technology –driven extension system into a more market-driven farmer-led system in Ghana depends on the educational level and skills of senior-level extension staff. There is no agricultural university in the country and most extension directors and senior staff have a minimum of a B.sc degree and some may also have post-graduate degrees. For extension systems to link research, subject –matter specialist (SMS) are expected to have a minimum of M.Sc. degree but many still have B.Sc. degrees only. An even more critical issue is their subject matter expertise. As the public extension system give more emphasis to high-value crops, livestock and fishery enterprises, most SMS will need a different set of skills and expertise. For example if farmers want to produce pawpaw, they will need to know whre they can get planting material and about the production management practices to follow in supplying intended markets during a specific window of opporturnity. Also the SMS will need to know about post-harvest handling and marketing to ensure high product quality. These highly specialized skills and knowledge are not common in the Public Extension system. Likewise,the front-line extension staff hold post-secondary diploma programmes which usually are terminal programmes making it difficult for diploma holders to return to school and pursue university degrees. Another issue is the field of study pursued by these diploma holders. Most diploma programmes are designed to produce agricultural generalists and therefore offer limited
  • 21. training in any particular subject matter specialization. University graduates major in fields as agronomy, crop science, animal science, and agricultural economics. Courses in leadership, management, rural sociology and community development skills needed to organise and build capital within agricultural communities are also non-existent in Ghana. To transform the public extension system into a more decentralized and market-driven one, current extension staff will need immediate in-service training in these important programmes. Eventhough transforming from top-down technology-driven approach to bottom-up participatory and market-driven approach is not easy, there is mounting evidence that public extension systems can be successfully transformed in Ghana. In the view of Swanson (2008), to ensure this, some fundamental structural and management changes will be required to address key constraints within extension institutions. In conclusion, there are important roles to be played by public agricultural extension systems, private-sector firms and NGOs transfering technologies to Ghanaian farmers, improving rural livelihoods and maintaing the natural resources. It is hoped that the information in this paper will help clarify these roles with respect to how these institutions, organisations and firms can work more closely to bring about sustainable agricultural development through the excellent management and administration of human and social capital frameworks of agricultural and rural extension in Ghana.
  • 22. REFERENCE Abaru, M.B., Nyakuni, A. & Shone, G. (2006). Strengthening Farmers Organisations; the experience of RELMA & ULAMP. Nairobi, Kenya. World Agroforestry Centre. 30pp Adusei K.O (2004). Farm Management in Extension: the Case of Ghana Anderson, R.E. and Carter, I.E. (1974). Human Behaviour in the Social Enviroment: A Social Systems Approach, Aldine Publishing Co.,Chicago II Blackburn, D. (e.d), (1984). Extension Handbook. University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada Blackburn D. (1986). “ Opportunities and Challenges of Linkages with Internal and External Extension Stakeholders- The canadian Experience”. Paper presented at the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education Conference, Hollywood, Florida. CTA (1997): Spore Publications numbers 68-72: AJ Wakening Carter G.L. (1983). Competencies required of Extension and Rural Development Workers”. Paper presented to the Regional Seminar on Extension and Rural Development Strategies, Universiti Pertanian, Malaysia. Claar,J.B., Dahl D.T., and Watts, L.H (1983). The co-operative Extension System: An adaptable Model to Developing Countries. University of Illinois Press, Urbana. Hall, R.H. (1977). Organisations: Structure and Process, second Edition, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, N.J. Lewin, K. Lippitt, R. and White, R.K. (1939). Patterns of Aggressive Behaviour in Experimentally Created Social Climates”, Journal of Social psychology,271-299. Lindeman, E.C.(1921). The community. Association Press, New York. Moris, J. (1983). What do we Know About African Agricultural Development?. The Role of Extension performance Reanalysed. U.S Agency for International Development, Bureau of Science and Technology,Washington, DC
  • 23. Norman, D.W. (1982). The farming Systems Approach to research, kansas State University, Manhattan Prawl,W., R. Medlin, and J.Gross.(1984). Adult and Continuing Education Through the Cooperative Extension Service, University of Missouri-Columbia. Raudebaugh, N. (1967). Extension Teaching Methods. Buri lves Publishing Company, Topeka, Kansas. Robinson, J. w. Jr. and Clifford, R. A. (1972). Process Skills in Organization Development, University of Illinois, Urbana. Rivera, W. M (1967). “Comparative Extension: The CES, TES, T&V, and FSR/S,”. Paper presented at the University of Maryland, College Park. Salifu, A.N (2009). Information Needs of Agricultural Extension Agents in Dangbe-West District of the Greater Accra Region of Ghana. Unpublished M.Phil Thesis. Department of Agricultural Extension, University of Ghana, Legon. Singh, R. (1976). Systems Analysis Approach to the Problems of Organising Efficient Extension Services in Developing Countries”. In J.A. Duncan and T.C. Flores 9(eds.), selected Case Studies in Comparative Extension Programmes. University of Wisconsin, Madison. Stogdill, R.M. (1958). “Personal Factors Associated with Leadership; A survey of The Literature”. Pp. 50-61 in The study of Leadership (eds.C.G.Brown, T.S Cohn) Interstate Printers, Danville, Il. Vandenberg, L.,Thullen, M., and Fear, F. (1986). A Review of Literature on Leadership with Application to CES Community Leadership Development Programs” Part 3 in community Leadership Development: Implications for Extension. The Northeast Regional Centre for Rural Development, University Park, PA. World Bank (2006) . Institutional innovation in agricultural research and extension systems in Latin America and the Carribbean. Washington, DC, Agricultural and Rural Development, The World Bank.

×