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Mentorship and Extension a Complementary approach: Evidence from the South African Sugar Industry

Author Affiliations

  • 1Department of Agricultural Economics, Education and Extension , Botswana College of Agriculture, Gaborone , Bostwana

Res. J. Management Sci., Volume 5, Issue (2), Pages 1-7, February,6 (2016)


Agricultural extension and mentorship are back on the international development agenda and experiencing a much-more renewed focus. In the South African (SA) context, emphasis on improved agricultural extension and other support services originates from the land redistribution program, introduced t, post 1994. Some policy analysts view agricultural extension, mentorship and training as important capacity developmental tools that have the potential to equip emerging small-scale and commercial farmers with the much-needed technical and farm business management skills to successfully engage in commercial agriculture. This paper therefore, reports on some socioeconomic characteristics of the surveyed emerging black sugarcane growers in the SA sugar industry in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) and establishes how emerging farmer capacity development could be enhanced through mentorship and extension. The majority (80 and 91%) of the 43 surveyed NFGs respectively had no educational background in agriculture and business-related fields. Nearly 70% (30) of the surveyed NFGs had prior experience in general management, with almost 47% of them from the North Coast region. About nine percent of the sample NFGs had prior-experience in managing a sugarcane farm. The surveyed NFGs emphasized that mentorship and extension are important sources of skills for sugarcane agronomic aspects, while accountants and formal training are significant in financial management. Own experience was viewed as the most important source of skills in labour management and transport to the sugar mill. Nonetheless, extension accounted for almost 27% as a source of skills in transport to the mill. These results suggest that (a) policy makers should design mentorship and other support services such that they address the needs of participants from diverse backgrounds, and (b) mentorship and extension should be used to complement each other and not to replace each other


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