CAPACITY DEVELOPMENT FOR SCALING UP CLIMATE-SMART AGRICULTURE (CSA) INNOVATIONS: AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION’S ROLE IN MITIGATING CLIMATE CHANGE EFFECTS IN GQUMASHE COMMUNITY, EASTERN CAPE, SOUTH AFRICA
This study aimed at ascertaining what role agricultural extension plays in mitigating the effects of climate change and variability using farmers’ perceptions in Gqumashe village, Raymond Mhlaba Local Municipality, Eastern Cape, South Africa. The survey research design was adopted for the study, and data for the study were collected from 50 respondents using a convenience sampling method in the study area. Data was analysed using SPSS and descriptive statistics (means, percentages and graphs) were produced. Farmers in the study area were aware of and perceived climate change and variability as detrimental to agricultural production as they reported various problems associated with changes and variability in climate to their extension workers and other available agricultural officials. The paper concludes by making three recommendations: a) Extension agents as the disseminators of information to farmers need to conduct targeted training for farmers in order to raise more awareness about climate change and variability as a subject; b)Extension agents need to visit farmers regularly and also provide information on current issues related to farming, new technology development for agriculture and farming, climate change and variability issues, as well as training about new agricultural techniques to counteract climate change and variability effects; and c) Extension agents need to proactively meet the expressed need for market information and storage facilities.