THE AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION SERVICES MODE OF OPERATION IN HORTICULTURAL SCHEMES IN WEST COAST REGION IN KOMBO CENTRAL AND NORTH OF THE GAMBIA
The study assesses agricultural extension services mode of operation in horticultural farms for smallholder farmers in Kombo Central and North, West Coast Region of The Gambia. The instruments designed to gather the primary data include; structured interview and focus group discussions (FGD) supported by secondary data using official documents and key informant interview for verification. The target population consisted of 398 respondents, 10 extension officers and three extension agent heads. The data was quantitatively analyzed using percentages, frequency distribution tables, t-test, chi-squared test correlation and factorial analysis. Qualitative data from the in-depth interviews were also analyzed and presented appropriately. It was found that the variables on the influence of extension services (availability of AES, extension visit, farm size, marital status, experience in farming, education, farm group, transportation, post-harvest technology training and distance to market) are significantly associated with the horticultural smallholder farmers post-harvest losses. It means that there is a significant relationship between extension availability and post-harvest handling at p < 0.05 level of significance. The research comes out with the following recommendations; the need for continued research, development and investment programmes in extension, effective and efficient communication to the farmers, availability of horticultural production, government policy aimed at training and developing farmer capacity in appropriate monitoring systems of extension services, road improvement in the study areas and creating better improvement conditions for the extension agents. The study proves the need to improve the living conditions of services for extension services and availability of extension officers at a regular base with appropriate knowledge and skills.
Keywords: Agricultural Extension Services, mode of Operation in horticultural Schemes, West Coast Region, Kombo Central, North, The Gambia.
Copyright (c) 2021 Lamin K M Fatty, Prof. Idu Ogbe Ode, Igbana Ajir
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