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Agriculture

Extension workers can help with impact of climate change

───   05:00 Mon, 08 Jan 2024

Extension workers can help with impact of climate change   | News Article
Dr Anathi Makamane

“If farmers don’t adapt their yields would go down which could indicate an increase in prices for consumers.”

Dr. Anathi Makamane, junior lecturer in the Department of Sustainable Food Systems and Development at the University of the Free State, recently obtained her Ph.D. for her research that focuses on the work extension workers could do to help mitigate the impact of climate change.

Agricultural extensionists, or agricultural advisors, act as the bridge between farmers and agricultural research, providing them with adaptive strategies to help them cope with the effects of climate change.

Her research was based in the Eastern Cape, with a particular focus on small-scale farmers, and delves into the importance of establishing relationships between farmers and agricultural extensionists in transferring knowledge – especially in the context of climate change.

‘If farmers don’t adapt their yields would go down’

Her work not only adds depth to our understanding of how climate change impacts farming but also emphasizes the pivotal role played by those who bridge the gap between research and practical implementation of solutions in the agricultural sector.

 “If farmers don’t adapt, or they are struggling to adapt, their yields would go down which could indicate an increase in prices for consumers. If these extentioners could provide the farmers with a tailor-made plan to adapt, it could mean better and more sustainable yields, and increased food security for the consumer,” said Makamane.  

She wishes to expand her research to reach farmers beyond the Eastern Cape by targeting the training of extensionists to enhance their skills and therefore provide farmers with increased support.

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