Journal of
Agricultural Extension and Rural Development

  • Abbreviation: J. Agric. Ext. Rural Dev
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2170
  • DOI: 10.5897/JAERD
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 455

Full Length Research Paper

An overview of agricultural extension in Ghana and Burkina Faso and implications for sustainable agriculture in West Africa

Niagia Santuah
  • Niagia Santuah
  • Faculty of Culture and Development, Millar Institute for Transdisciplinary and Development Studies, P. O. Box 607, Bolgatanga, Ghana.
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Joseph Abazaami
  • Joseph Abazaami
  • Institute for Interdisciplinary Research and Consultancy Services, University for Development Studies, P. O. Box TL 1350, Tamale, Ghana.
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Katharine Kaunza-nu-dem Millar
  • Katharine Kaunza-nu-dem Millar
  • Institute for Interdisciplinary Research and Consultancy Services, University for Development Studies, P. O. Box TL 1350, Tamale, Ghana.
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Joseph Amikuzuno
  • Joseph Amikuzuno
  • Department of Applied Economics, School of Applied Economics and Management Sciences, University for Development Studies, P. O. Box TL 1882, Nyankpala Campus, Ghana.
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  •  Received: 04 June 2021
  •  Accepted: 21 October 2021
  •  Published: 31 July 2022

Abstract

Agricultural extension is the medium through which external agricultural technologies have been transferred to and transplanted in Africa to improve agricultural performance. Over a period of close to a century, different agricultural extension models have been proposed but their structure and content has virtually been the same: top-down, linear, non-participatory transfer of technology with no feedback loops for reverse diffusion. This presumably explains the poor performance of Africa’s agriculture and the scale of food security challenges facing the continent. In this review paper, we trace the history of agricultural extension and examine various agricultural extension delivery models to identify their major strengths and weaknesses, using Ghana and Burkina Faso as case studies. We then review the most recent literature in the field about the philosophy, scope, content, delivery, and outcomes of agricultural extension. The conclusion that agricultural extension has consistently remained out of sync with the needs and aspirations of stallholder farmers was reached. Smallholder farmers are now calling for new agricultural extension delivery models that are truly farmer-led, indigenous knowledge-based, context-specific, culturally-relevant and environmentally-sustainable to guarantee efficient farming systems into the future.

Key words: Extension delivery, smallholder farmers, indigenous knowledge, top-down, Ghana, Burkina Faso, sustainable agriculture.