National Extension Policy
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Welcome to the National Extension Policy development website. The site will provide updates on the process of developing a new national policy on extension and advisory services for South African agriculture, forestry and fisheries. It provides a collaborative space for different development actors to contribute to the policy development process.

News / Events

The extension policy discussion document is still under consideration within the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

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The Agricultural Research Council (ARC) of South Africa takes a look at extension services in the country

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ARC logo
Dr Michael Aliber argues that we need to pay much closer attention to the 'how' of finding real alternatives to current extension approaches.

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Farmer Field Schools have had positive impacts in East Africa. Pic: International Institute for Rural Reconstruction
Download the presentation as discussed at the national consultative workshops in October 2012

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Download the presentation as discussed at the national consultative workshops in October 2012

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Around 120 people attend the Free State workshop while over 60 attend the session in Kimberley

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Discussing policy options
We have now upgraded the comments function so that you can have a proper say.

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Comments  can only be 250 characters in extent
Download the Phuhlisani report which provides a comprehensive review of the evolution of agricultural extension services in South Africa

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The first provincial consultative extension policy dialogue workshop brings diverse stakeholders together in the Western Cape

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Debating policy priorities for extension
Workshops planned for Western Cape, Free State and Northern Cape starting Tuesday 2nd October. Follow on Twitter #extensionZA

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Hearing all the voices - finding common ground
How can South African's learn from African and international experiences in extension design and smallholder support? We are using Twitter to try and broaden the conversation.

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Connecting researchers and practitioners through Twitter
We have combined the first 15 extension opinion pieces into a single PDF. Download below

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Download the Phuhlisani synthesis report which summarises the in depth local and international reviews and sets out broad policy options for public discussion

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Download the Phuhlisani report on the status of extension and development services in the fisheries sector

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We have had over 50 people who have registered on the site but who have not had confirmation of membership. Apologies. This was an error on our side. You should all receive confirmation of membership immediately.

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Our mistake: Sorry
Download the Phuhlisani report on the status of extension and development services in the forest sector

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Charlie Shackleton writing in Extension Opinion No 8 (See Forestry stream) argues that the current sectoral approaches to extension will have limited impact on poverty

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We need to think beyond narrow sectoral approaches
Download the Phuhlisani review which summarises key trends in agriculture, forestry and fisheries extension

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Download extension review
The conference surfaces the enormous breadth and depth of research with a rural focus. The lack of adequate support services for small holder producers emerges as a strong theme.

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Towards Carnegie 3
You now can respond and comment on all stories but space is limited - 250 characters or a little short of two tweets worth. Send longer responses by email. See contact page for details

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Provide your feedback
Workshops scheduled in all nine provinces in October to discuss policy options for the future of public sector extension in South Africa. Invites going out next week

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A scan of the international experience highlights some of the key components we should expect to find in a national extension policy document. But what about the gap between policy and implementation?

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Examining policy options
Members of the Phuhlisani team held a two day workshop on 6-7th August to review the state of extension and identify international trends

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Thembi Ngcobo (ARC), Tozamile Lukhalo (DAFF), Rick de Satge, Jeanette Clarke, Siyabu Manona, Boyce Williams, Dr. Stephen Turner, Dr. Moenieba Isaacs and Dr. Steve Worth
Get registered by clicking on the link at the top right of the page and help shape national policy on extension and advisory services.

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Get registered and take your seat
Click on the link to Prezi below and in five minutes you will have a better understanding of the process of developing new policy on extension and advisory services for agriculture, forestry and fisheries

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Extension Prezi
Phuhlisani facilitating dialogue towards the development of a new policy on extension and advisory services for agriculture, forestry and fisheries in South Africa

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Starting a dialogue
What is the purpose of extension and advisory services? What should be the priorities of research and extension systems?

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Asking the right questions
Follow us on Twitter @extensionpolicy. If you need to know more about Twitter as a developmental social media tool see below

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Keep informed about the process for developing a new national policy on extension and advisory services for agriculture, forestry and fisheries in South Africa.

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Phases in the policy development process

Agriculture

Farayi Madziwa of Conservation South Africa writes about an incklusive M&E framework for sustainable agriculture

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Towards sustainable agricultural systems
Setting out the steps before a draft policy is gazetted released for public comment.

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Policy update
Rob Small of the Farm and Garden Trust highlights the low cost of citizen extension support and critiques state fixation on GMO and hydroponic agriculture.

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Abalimi Bezekhaya support small scale organic growers
Adriaan Conradie, Faan Mathee and Jan Theron reflect on agricultural policy and the ways forward for extension

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The view from the Western Cape Department of Agriculture
Derick Fay, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Riverside has conducted research on land and livelihoods in the Eastern Cape. He highlights lessons from the Siyazondla programme.

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Siyazondla member Nongenile Gongqose at work in her homestead garden
Bonginkosi Zondo, senior Agricultural Advisor in the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Agriculture examines institutional dimensions of extension policy - form, staffing, funding and stability

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Jack Blaker and Lyle Kew of Mngcunube Development present evidence that training and supporting local livestock owners to sell and dispense basic animal health medicines gets economic results.

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Farmer led animal health and livestock support services get results
Dr Sheona Shackleton and Nic Hamer, the co-ordinator the Jongaphambili Sinethemba Project run through the Department of Environmental Science at Rhodes University make practical suggestions to reorient extension.

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Dr Sheona Shackleton: Department of Environmental Science, Rhodes University
Ivan Cloete, Western Cape Provincial President of AFASA argues that new policy must recognise the many black smallholders operating in conditions of insecure tenure on State owned land.

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African Farmers Association of South Africa
Hans Klink who is active in the South African organic sector argues that energy inefficient industrial agricultural systems need to be replaced and that sustainable climate smart organic agriculture should be at the top of the extension agenda.

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Organic agriculture: The face of the future?
Prof Raymond Auerbach from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University argues that emerging farmers need five years of intensive support and highlights key skills and aptitudes needed for extension staff to do their job.

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Prof Raymond Auerbach
Dr Jack Armour of Free State Agri, the provincial affiliate of AgriSA reflects on what commercial farmers in the Free State expect of the agricultural extension services.

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Free State Agri provides the perspective from commercial agriculture
Richard Bolus from the Wild Coast Farm and Forest Organisation sets out a detailed agenda for more effective extension services in communal areas.

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The Pondoland perspective
Jane Battersby from the African Centre for Cities draws on research which cautions that technocratic ‘solutions’ to urban food insecurity will fail if they do not address how formal food systems impact on the viability of local markets.

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African Centre for Cities
Andre Proctor of Keystone Accountability examines how to build farmer voice into measurement and performance management for a more farmer-driven extension service

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Keystone Accountability
Janet Cherry and Pierrelouis Lemercier of the Nelson Mandela Bay Transition Network draw out lessons for the design and focus of extension from a recent review of urban agriculture.

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Nelson Mandela Bay Transition Network aiming for a low-carbon, locally resilient metro
Prof Albert Modi argues that the erosion of extension services and the marginalisation of agriculture in the school curriculum undermines the potential of homestead agriculture.

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Prof Modi highlights the need for systemic change
Louise de Klerk CEO of the Timbali Technology Incubator proposes strategic district collaboration to prevent duplication of services and orient stakeholders to small farmer needs

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Knowing who is doing what in order to grow service impact
David Catling, former director of the Land Development Unit reflects on the evolution of agricultural extension services in the two provinces and assesses current extension needs.

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Donkey power
Jeremy Burnham from the Sustainable Community Investment Program (SCIP) argues that current approaches to extension service delivery builds dependency rather than enablement. He outlines the SCIP alternative.

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Mrs. Mthembu’s garden in Gcilima
Farayi Madziwa from Conservation South Africa critically reviews agricultural extension and examines how to promote agriculture productivity and economic viability whilst simultaneously conserving biodiversity and agricultural resources

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Farayi Madziwa contributing to the extension policy dialogue
Jeff Every, CEO of Amadlelo Agri sets out his ideas for a partnership to improve support services for new entrants to a competitive dairy industry which has seen a dramatic reduction in its farmer base.

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Leonard Mavhungu, Manager of the Fort Hare Dairy Trust speaks to new dairy farmers
Mike Murray highlights the limits of extension approaches based on transfer of technology and argues for a pro-poor approach to extension.

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Trust and respect are key for extension
Michael Aliber and Ruth Hall do the (sobering) maths to count the cost of extension and argue for alternative ways of scaling up extension support.

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Counting the costs of extension
David Cooper writes about the challenges of providing extension services in the former homeland areas and suggests a changed role for government.

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Lusikisiki - Eastern Cape
Andrew Cochrane the Manager for LIMA Rural Development Foundation in Mpumalanga and Limpopo contributes the first opinion piece on the state of extension in South Africa and what can be done to make extension systems more effective and responsive

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Open mike: Share your views on extension
Review a selection of recent research undertaken by the Agricultural Research Council with a focus on small holder farmers

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ARC research facilities in Potchefstroom
Internationally reviews of research and extension systems frequently highlight a ‘disconnect’ between agricultural research scientists, extension staff and small holder farmers. How can we close this gap?

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Connecting farmers, extensionists and researchers
Overcoming challenges to realise potential

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The National Development Plan - Vision 2030 and the New Growth Path highlight the potential of agriculture to create jobs and support livelihoods. In order to realise this potential we need to take a sober look at the structure of the sector.

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Who should the priority focus of agricultural extension?

Fisheries

No place for small scale fisheries in the recently released National Development Plan?

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Small scale fishing caught in contradictory policies
To date much of government policy focus has been on regulating the fisheries sector. Ways to support small scale fishers and the sector as a whole will be a key component of the new extension policy

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What are the extension needs of the fisheries sector?


Forestry

Rory Mack identifies potential for community radio to reach unorganised producers. James Ballantyne notes that good materials are available in Zulu and other languages.

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Members are registering and starting to contribute to online discussion. An important thread is developing on the shortage of up to date extension materials for agro forestry.

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Sharing ideas - connecting people
Charlie Shackleton argues that a sectorally divided approach to extension is doomed to failure as people depend on multiple sources of livelihood.

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Extension should adopt a livelihoods approach
Charlie Shackleton asks who is responsible for natural resource management and how this function should be addressed.

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Natural resources make a vital contribution to the livelihoods of the rural poor: Picture: http://myfundi.co.za/e/South_African_traditional_Medicinal_herbs
An estimated 40% of plantations in South Africa are set to change hands from state and private ownership to black community ownership. Extension and technical support services are currently inadequate to manage this transition.

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Commercial plantations


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