Incorporating needs into programmes
Rapid rural appraisal (RRA; see chapter 6) can be used by
research and extension to provide agroecological, biological, and socioeconomic
data for identifying problems and opportunities for extension's clientele. For
effective utilization, these needs should then be categorized on the basis of
type of needs; that is, whether they are material needs, knowledge-based needs,
or infrastructural support needs (see chapter 5). Then the importance of the
needs should be ascertained to prioritize them before incorporating them into
extension programmes (see chapter 7).
Transferring appropriate technologies is not enough to ensure
adoption. Incorporating them into the targeted farming systems may be
constrained by other variables which needs assessment ought to identify. For
instance, the use of nematicide can increase the yield of a commodity by
destroying the harmful nematodes, thus increasing nutrient uptake and yield.
However, because nematodes are microscopic organisms, their presence in the soil
may not be so obvious to the farmers who have not had the education to
understand microorganisms. Consequently, an education component will need to be
added to the technology to increase its chances of being adopted.
There are also cases where appropriate material technologies are
not accepted because inputs are unavailable. This underscores the importance of
addressing the users' wide-ranging needs - knowledge, attitude, skills, economic
needs, and institutional support - in order to achieve the adoption of material