Exploring the Roles of Agricultural Extension in Promoting Food Security in Kwazulu-Natal Province, South Africa


Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension Services, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State, Nigeria


Household food security remains a challenge in South Africa. The national government instituted the Integrated Food Security Strategy (IFSS) programme which identifies household agricultural production as an important element of improving household-level food security. Agricultural extension is well positioned to help achieve this aim, but its current contribution is unknown. This study identified the roles of extension in household food security in KZN by investigating, primarily from the perspective of state service providers, the current activities of extension to enhance household food security, and the factors impacting on effective delivery of extension services with respect to household food security. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews with 46 respondents, comprising of various national and provincial-level food security and extension managers and extension practitioners, and also food security/extension officers from two NGOs, as well as farmers. The study found that extension engages primarily in technology transfer and supply of farming inputs like seeds and fertilizers to the farming households. Three sets of factors affecting extension‟s capacity to promote food security emerged: household/community-level factors, social factors and service delivery factors. In the light of this, the study suggests the need for both food security and extension objectives to be consolidated into an extension policy that will explicitly charge extension to enhance household food security through a capacity development approach, while also providing for the accountability of extension to farmers.


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