An investigation into the services offered by extension workers and the factors which constrain farmers from adopting recommended farming practices: A case study of selected farmer groups in Choma District

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Mungala, Tom Lweendo
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This study assesses the services offered by extension workers and the factors which constrain the farmers from adopting recommended farming practices. To be studied were selected farmers' groups in Choma district.The objectives of the study were fourfold: first to determine the quality of extension services offered to the farmers in Choma district. This was important because of the decrease in the farming production in the affected areas; secondly, to find out the obstacles faced by extension officers in their interaction with the farmers to ascertain the problems they face in delivering the information. Thirdly, to determine the farmers' knowledge and use of recommended farming methods in relation to the low yields being experienced in the area. Fourthly, to find out the farmers responses regarding the poor quality and quantity of the crops.Methods that measured these objectives were employed through questionnaires to measure the results quantitatively and interviews to measure the results qualitatively. Since most of the farmers in the selected area could not read and write an interview guide was used to collect the needed data. Officials at the Ministry of Agriculture Food and Cooperatives were interviewed to find out their views on the future of the existing farming methods to determine the impact of modem methods of farming. The study concluded that lack of adequate interaction of farmers with the extension officers resulted into inadequacy in variable knowledge and skills needed in recommended methods.Most of the farmers were not sure about adopting drought resistant crops and replacing the oxen with donkeys. This compromised with their tradition where they used traditional seeds and keeping of oxen for their farm use. With the liberalization of the economy, the government should probably privatize the agriculture sector to cater for the much needed services by farmers. This could improve the attitude of farmers and possibly turn the wheel around in favour of high yields in the areas where the research was conducted and benefit the community and Zambia as a whole.
Agricultural Extension work , Agricultural Extension work-Developing Countries