A study of the role, Performance and Training of Agricultural Extension workers in Zambia

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Rawlins-Brannan, Mable Jean
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This study focused on the training of agricultural extension workers in Zambia and its congruence both with the role and performance expectations of the Department of Agriculture for its frontline workers as well as their actual field performance. The research approach was a multi-method participatory process. The findings indicated weak formal links and poor communication among training institutions, the Department of Agriculture and small-scale and subsistence farming households. The extension system perceived the role of the extension worker to be mainly that of a technical advisor.Extension workers enjoyed their work with rural people, aspired to pursue a career in farming,and 'were^isolated from and poorly supported by their administration. Their two-year training was directive, sometimes irrelevant, put little emphasis on process skills, with problems in teaching techniques, student selection and staffing. The study concluded that an equitable extension system emphasizes communication and participation among its clients, that a more realistic modified role for extension workers enables their participation in innovative problem-solving, and that effective training institutions are accountable to graduates, farmers and the Department of Agriculture. Recommendations included a redefinition of the role of Zambian extension workers/ improvement in their conditions of service, and the establishment of a curriculum development board with responsibility to evaluate and advise on a wide range of training issues•
Agricultural Extention Workers in Zambia