Agriculture Extension Officer

The South African agricultural sector and related industries rely on current information to boost agricultural productivity, increase food security and improve rural economic growth. Agricultural extension is the application of scientific research to agricultural practices through providing the link between farmers and research.

Agriculture extension officers liaise with farmers, providing information that supports decision-making for effective and sustainable farming. They engage with scientists to understand new and better ways of ensuring improved and sustainable production and translate this information into advice and guidance for farmers. They are also increasingly supporting the development of smallholder farmers, often through training both in production practices and enterprise development to support access to both formal and informal markets.

Agriculture extension officers work on-site, mostly in rural areas, engaging with farmers in the field. They also spend some time in laboratories and will have their base in an office environment, developing plans for sustainable farming.

Skills

A solid understanding of trends and patterns in sustainable agricultural production is vital for the Agriculture Extension Officer. Their interaction with farmers and scientists will benefit from:

  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills
  • An in-depth knowledge of the farming environment and enterprise 
  • In-depth insight into sustainability in agriculture 
  • Project planning and management

Tasks

Engage with research in sustainable farming practices

Develop plans and strategies to promote sustainable farming practices

Liaise with farmers to support increased production yields and implement sustainable practices

Provide training to support improved and sustainable production processes

Studies

B.Sc., B.Sc. (Hons), M.Sc. in Agriculture at NWU, SU, UFS, UFH, UKZN, UL, UMP, UNISA, Univen, Unizulu and UP

B.Agric., B.Agric. (Hons), M.Agric. in Agricultural Extension at UFS, UFH, UKZN, UMP and UP

Diploma and Advanced Diploma in Agricultural Management at CPUT, CUT, NMU and UNISA

Diploma and Advanced Diploma in Agricultural Extension at CUT, TUT and UMP

Employers

National, provincial and local government. 

NGOs, community-based and development organisations and private consultancies.

Agricultural sector associations. 

Related career paths