Assessment of socio-economic characteristics that determine farmers’ access to agricultural extension services in Eastern Cape, South Africa
The study reported on in this paper investigated smallholder farmers’ access to extension services. The study sought to distinguish the varying degrees of access to services of smallholder farmers engaged in different production systems, that is, home gardening, field cropping, and livestock production. The study was conducted in Raymond Mhlaba Local Municipality in the Eastern Cape, specifically in two communities, namely Ngcabasa and Phathikhala villages. Research activities included a survey of 100 farmers as well as focus group discussions. Employing logistic regression analysis, the study aimed to understand what influences whether or not a smallholder farmer accesses extension. The study also used various types of comparative statistics (T-test) to assess the implications of access to extension support, for instance for production and farm income. The main findings of the study were that 68% of the farming households interviewed in Ngcabasa and 71% of those in Phathikhala had access to extension services. Farmers who had access to extension had more farm income in both enterprises compared to those who had no access to extension services. From the regression analysis, farmers who were more likely to receive extension support appeared to be those who were older, those with less education, and those farming with livestock.
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