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Journal of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development

Farmer to farmer extension approach: Analysis of extent of adoption by smallholder farmers in Manicaland and Masvingo provinces of Zimbabwe

Lighton Dube

Faculty of Commerce and Law, Zimbabwe Open University, National Office, P.O Box MP 1119, Mt Pleasant, Harare, Zimbabwe.

Accepted 6 February, 2017

Citation: Dube L (2017). Farmer to Farmer Extension Approach: Analysis of Extent of Adoption by Smallholder Farmers in Manicaland and Masvingo Provinces of Zimbabwe. Journal of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development, 3(1): 149-159.

Copyright: © 2017 Dube L. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are cited.

Abstract

Agricultural extension programs are key means for assisting farmers with information and technology to expand their abilities and improve production. Of late, Zimbabwe has witnessed increased investments by both the government and the development community in the Farmer to Farmer (F2F) extension approach as a key strategy of complementing the overburdened and severely underfunded public extension and advisory services in increasing extension coverage. This study sought to assess the extent of adoption of the F2F extension approach as a major source of extension and advisory services. The study used a sample of 479 smallholder farmers that was drawn using a multi-stage random sampling approach from 6 districts in Manicaland and Masvingo provinces of Zimbabwe. The study found that adoption of the F2F extension approach was low with only 43% of the sampled farmers using the approach. Theadoption of the approach was also found to be similar across gender, districts and agro-ecological zones. Results of the binary logistic regression revealed that access to public extension services, training of farmers using the non-block training approach, number of extension visits received by a farmer per year, total area cropped, agro-ecological zone V, and adoption of improved farming practices were significant factors that encouraged the adoption of the farmer to farmer extension approach by smallholder farmers. The study suggests that two things, above all,are important in promoting the adoption of the F2F extension approach by smallholder farmers in Zimbabwe. These are:first, improving access to public extension services to backstop lead farmers andsecond, training farmers using the non-block training approach as it encourages more interaction amongst farmers as they validate each other in the application of new technologies.

Keywords: Farmer to farmer extension, Smallholder farmers, Zimbabwe, Binary logistic regression.