Comparative effectiveness of group extension methods in village farming in the coastal zone of Tanzania

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University of Dar es Salaam
This dissertation compares the effectiveness of three group-based agricultural extension methods: (I) demonstrations together with formal scheduled group discussion meeting, (ii) formal scheduled group discussion meetings alone and (iii) informal unscheduled or general meetings or contacts that were applied in 24 villages of the coastal zone in Bigamy, Handiness, Korogwe, and Morogoro Districts, Tanzania. It examines social, economic, political, administrative, educational, and environmental factors that directly or indirectly affect the effectiveness of agricultural extension methods and the extension service in general. The aim of the study is: first, to identify the best or most effective group-based agricultural extension methods which conform to the country’s policy for villagization as related to the prevailing economic and social conditions. Secondly, to identify constraints to agricultural extension methods and the extension service in general that render agricultural extension workers ineffective and consequently inhibit increased agricultural production. Third, the study aims at making recommendations that will help agricultural extension workers in villages to increase their communication effectiveness which will hopefully lead to increased agricultural production. Historically the agricultural extension service has been understaffed, and most seriously under-educated (in basic education), and under-trained (in extension and agriculture). Inadequate training, particularly in the extension approach or methods, is alleged to be one of the main causes for ineffectiveness of agricultural extension workers and the extension service in general. The training given lacks understanding and proper emphasis, therefore does not produce extension workers able to communicate effectively with farmers. Consequently extension workers have apparently had a minor impact in inducing changes in farming. Five operational dependent variables used in measuring the effectiveness of the three group-based agricultural extension methods are: (I) knowledge of recommended farming practices, (ii) Adoption rate of recommended farming practices, (iii) Development increase of the village, (iv) Income per ha and (v) Income per man-day. Results of the study show that differences exist in effectiveness of the three group-based agricultural extension methods as stated in the hypotheses tested. Some of these differences are statistically significant, others are not. Of the three group-based agricultural extension methods studied, demonstrations together with formal scheduled group discussion meetings proved to be the most effective. Formal scheduled group discussion meetings were second in effectiveness, and informal unscheduled general meetings or contacts were last in effectiveness. The analytical methods used in arriving at these results include simple and multiple regression and analysis of variance. There are also differences between Districts in relation to the effectiveness of extension methods in respect of the five operational variables. Some of these differences were statistically significant, other were not. Districts differ in levels of performance in respect to nature of activities (communal versus individual) but none of these differences between Districts are statistically significant. Finally, results show that there are, on average, statistically significant differences between communal and individual types of farming systems in respect of the two income variables under all three types of group-based extension methods. Several obstacles affect agricultural information communication in the coastal zone villages: These include poor basic education and professional training of agricultural extension workers, high illiteracy percentage level among farmers, inadequate structural organisation of the extension service, poor supervision of village level extension workers, and economic and social disparity between villagers and extension workers. In order to improve effectiveness of the agricultural extension approach and the extension service as a whole, it is recommended that evaluation of the agricultural extension service, particularly extension methods, be made more often. Demonstrations and meetings should be the key educational tool of the extension workers in villages. The entire agricultural training programmes should be reviewed to insure that relevant subjects have their due emphasis in the syllabi. The number of trainees should be increased and only form IV and above with high passes in relevant subjects should be recruited in so far as adequate numbers are available. Village-level agriculture extension workers should be employees of villages. Research recommendations for villages should be accompanied by their economic aspects to make them complete and should be written in layman’s language for extension workers and farmers to understand. Farmers should be required to adopt complete packages of recommendations for a maximum increase in agricultural production to the extent that they are economically viable. There is an urgent need for a socialist credit system to be established to serve villages. Refresher or in-service courses for junior and senior agricultural extension workers should be arranged annually or after every two years. Finally, an intensive political education campaign should be launched for villagers, particularly village council members, to enlighten them on the meaning, demands, and relevance of socialism in their own context.
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Agricultural extension work, Tanzania
Kauzeni, A.S (1979) Comparative effectiveness of group extension methods in village farming in the coastal zone of Tanzania, Doctoral dissertation,University of Dar es Salaam. Available at ( )