Evolution of Agricultural Extension in Zimbabwe: Emerging Technologies, Training Needs and Future Possibilities





Conservation Agriculture, Integrated Soil Fertility Management, Smallholder Farmers, New Farmers, Skills Gap, e-Extension


Skills development needs of smallholder farmers have often been overlooked during the delivery of agricultural information due to a lack of curriculum reform and gaps between agricultural extension officers’ (AEOs) training and farmers’ changing needs. Recent evidence suggests that the greatest need for agricultural extension services is for new farmers and emerging agricultural technologies compared to well-established farmers and farming methods. On the contrary, lack of adequate extension skills has impeded the implementation and success of climate- and nutrient-smart agricultural technologies such as conservation agriculture and integrated soil fertility management in rainfed cropping systems. Here, we review the history of agricultural extension in Zimbabwe and the impacts of colonial heritage and restructuring on extension. We also present findings from recent research on AEO training and gaps in the curriculum. This research indicated that a gap in skills exists due to insufficient AEOs’ training in essential areas such as farm management, market access, emerging technologies (for example, mobile phones) and supporting the changing needs of farmers. We demonstrate an urgent need for agricultural extension systems in Zimbabwe to explore new models in the field that equip AEOs with adequate training and skills which meet the needs of new farmers and emerging agricultural technologies.


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Author Biographies

M.G. Manzeke-Kangara, Rothamsted Research

Muneta Grace Manzeke-Kangara is a Soil Scientist at Rothamsted Research's Department of Sustainable Soils and Crops. Muneta's research interests are in climate- and nutrient-smart agricultural technologies. She worked with smallholder farmers, agricultural extension staff and researchers in smallholder farming systems in Zimbabwe for over 13 years conducting research on climate change adaptation, soil fertility management and agronomic biofortification with micronutrient and organic fertilizers. 

C. Muwaniki, Great Zimbabwe University

Chenjerai Muwaniki is a Lecturer in Adult and Continuing Education. His research interest is in the field of Vocational Education and Training focusing on curriculum responsiveness and reform. Chenjerai is currently working on a project on curriculum reform in agricultural vocational education and training in Zimbabwe. His PhD was on Vocational education and training curriculum responsiveness to the learning needs of A1 farmers in post-2000 Zimbabwe.

S. Siziba, Great Zimbabwe University

Shephard Siziba is an Agricultural and Socio-Economist at the University of Zimbabwe’s Department of Agribusiness Development and Economics. Research interests include financial and risk analysis on potential adoption of different soil fertility management strategies such as green manure, urban agriculture, food security and environmental research (i.e. climate change adaptation). Shephard also worked on socio-economic issues and land use conflicts; and factors governing adoption of conservation agriculture in Zimbabwe’s smallholder sector.

T. Chamboko, University of Zimbabwe

Tafireyi Chamboko is a Senior Lecture at the University of Zimbabwe with 27 years’ experience in the field of agricultural economics; agricultural marketing and pricing analysis, farm management research, livestock economics and data analysis. Areas of expertise include research methods, policy analysis, agricultural marketing and agri-business. Research interests include economics of smallholder dairying, agricultural marketing and value chains, livestock economics, food security and smallholder agriculture in general.

F. Mtambanengwe, University of Zimbabwe

Florence Mtambanengwe is the Executive Director for Research and Innovation at the University of Zimbabwe. She is a Full Professor of Soil Productivity and Agro-systems Development. Her areas of specialization include: Participatory action research with emphasis on smallholder communities; Climate change adaptation and impacts on common natural resource pools; Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM); Sustainable agriculture; and Fertilizer development and resource use efficiencies.

V. Wedekind, University of Nottingham

Volker Wedekind is currently Head of the School of Education at the University of Nottingham and Principal Investigator for the RAELL project. His current research focuses on the role of vocational education within development discourses, the relationship between education, social policy, and economic development. Volker’s past research focused in various ways on education policy and how this impacts on the people in education systems, particularly the teachers. He explored this intersection through life histories, policy analysis and sociological analysis of classroom and school/college practices.


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How to Cite

Manzeke-Kangara, M., Muwaniki, C., Siziba, S., Chamboko, T., Mtambanengwe, F., & Wedekind, V. (2024). Evolution of Agricultural Extension in Zimbabwe: Emerging Technologies, Training Needs and Future Possibilities. South African Journal of Agricultural Extension (SAJAE), 52(2), 21–55. https://doi.org/10.17159/2413-3221/2024/v52n2a14969

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