Farmers’ Perceptions of Agricultural Extension Agents’ Performance in Sub-Saharan African Communities

Abstract Considering the important role extension agents perform in the rural community, potential exists to measure the performance of extension workers from the smallholder perspective. The study investigated farmers’ perceptions of agricultural extension agents’ performance in Kaduna State, Nigeria. Data were collected with structured questionnaires distributed to 200 rural smallholder farmers and 20 agricultural extension agents using a multiple stage sampling technique. The main aim of the study was to evaluate the performance of extension agents on agricultural production. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and Chi-square analysis was used to test significant relationship between farmers’ perception regarding the role of extension services and increase in crop production. The result of the socio and demographic characteristics of the farmers showed that more than half (59%) are within the active age and are married and had one form of education or the other. The estimated chi-square value of 12.84 revealed that there is no statistical significant relationship between extension services and increase in crop production among farmers in the study area. In addition, majority (89%) of the respondents perceived lack of regular contacts with extension agents as a great challenge in the area, while a large proportion (82%) of the respondents reported that extension services was not effective in the area. However, since contact with extension agents was ineffective, the results obtained showed that smallholder farmers preferred traditional ICT, mainly radio (63%) as their main source of accessing agricultural information. The study however recommends that government should employ and train more agricultural graduates. More extension workers need to be hired in order to significantly reduce the problem of the extension workers to farm families’ ratio which is currently 1:3000 in Kaduna State, Nigeria.

Keywords— Extension agents, smallholder farmers, perception, extension ratio, village.

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Agriculture Journal: Farmers' Perceptions of Agricultural Extension Agents' Performance in Sub-Saharan African Communities

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