Agricultural extension services have undergone a significant transformation in order to effectively address issues of poverty and hunger. It is expected that modern methods of extension will improve image and quality of extension services offered in low-income regions. In Trinidad and Tobago, vibrant and transformative initiatives include institutional pluralism, farmer-led methods, farmer field schools, plant clinics, Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) and value chains. However, public sector extension organization is struggling to take up necessary roles and apply new competencies necessary for the success of these modern methods. In this context, this study was undertaken to investigate the perception of extension agents of the value of modern extension methods in improving image and service quality of the extension services in Trinidad and Tobago. Descriptive statistics and Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) regression analysis were conducted to analyze data collected during March and May 2015 using a structured, self-reporting questionnaire from 106 extension agents. The findings of the study indicated that extension agents held positive perceptions of the value of modern methods in improving image and service quality. Age, education and experience are important predictors of perception of modern methods. Agents belonging to the medium experience (5.1 to 10 years) group had more formidable perceptions about the value of modern methods in improving image and service quality. Supervisors and managers had a positive perception of the value of modern methods. The study argued for a capacity development initiative using a strategy of coaching and training and targeting new entrants and middle aged extension agents.
Key words: Modern extension methods, Image Perceptions, Quality of Extension Services, Trinidad and Tobago.
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