Industry must handle extension services – Nerpo

Government must hand over extension service work to commodity organisations because it’s failing to deliver this service itself.

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And so is crippling the development of smallholder farmers, said Aggrey Mahanjana, managing director of the National Emergent Red Meat Producer’s Organisation (Nerpo), at the organisation’s recent AGM in Pretoria.

According Mahanjana, Nerpo proposed this to government many years ago, but was done.

He said the standard of extension services offered by government has deteriorated over the years and farmers were the ones suffering the most. It would be better if government gave the budget allocated to this division to the commodity organisations.

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“If you go to the US, you’ll find very few government extension personnel,” said Mahanjana. And in countries such as Germany, extension services are done jointly by the government and farmer organisations.

But, said Mahanjana, the problem with the SA government was that it was always trying to protect its position. In this case, it was an issue of government protecting jobs instead of doing what’s best for farmers.