Farmers' experiences and perceptions of the NAADS Agricultural Extension System/Program in Kabale district, Uganda

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Musemakweri, John
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Lynn Jones
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Agricultural Education and Studies

The Department of Agricultural Education and Studies was formed in 1989 as a result of the merger of the Department of Agricultural Education with the Department of Agricultural Studies. Its focus includes two these fields: agricultural education leading to teacher-certification or outreach communication; and agricultural studies leading to production agriculture or other agricultural industries.

The Department of Agricultural Education and Studies was formed in 1989 from the merger of the Department of Agricultural Education and the Department of Agricultural Studies.

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Agricultural knowledge and information play a major role in agricultural development, particularly in food production in Uganda. One of the influential extension approaches used for the past decades has been extension-centered approach which focused more on improving efficiency in agricultural production rather than the educational process. The new National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) extension program has emphasized a farmer-centered approach. The purpose of the study was to explore the farmers' experiences and perceptions of the NAADS agricultural extension systems/program in Kabale district, Uganda. The study addressed two main research questions: (1) What are the perceptions of farmers regarding the NAADS information delivery approach; and (2) What is the level of farmers' comprehension and the extent to which they have applied the skills and new technologies learned from education extension programs.;Qualitative design through interviews from selected farmers was applied to gain information regarding farmers' experiences and perceptions of the NAADS Agricultural Extension Program in four sub-counties of Kabale district: Bukinda, Bubare, Kyanamira and Rubaya. An analysis of NAADS program documents was also carried out to gather data for the study.;Results from the study indicated that learning in small groups provided farmers an opportunity to brainstorm, analyze, and identify their farming needs and priorities. Although NAADS enabled farmers to participate in an enterprise (crop) selection, the process was perceived by the farmers as more of a popular participation rather than helping them articulate their actual needs and prioritize them. Recommendations were made to provide a decentralized program that will engage all district-based development organizations such as NGO's, public and private service providers, and farmer groups to form a consortium in order to coordinate resources to give farmers power to negotiate and dialogue regarding issues that are central to improve their farming practices. This might enable farmers to articulate their own needs and priorities and encourage the implementation of their own ideas. Recommendations were made to shift from NAADS-centered teaching to create a culture of learning using adult education principles to provide farmers freedom to choose when and what to learn based on their actual needs and learning interests.

Mon Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2007