The relationship between the perception and performance of Agricultural extension officers in Coast Province regarding pluralistic extension delivery system
This research was set out to establish the relationship between perception of agricultural extension officers and their performance regarding pluralistic extension delivery system in coast province of Kenya. The study was carried out based on three objectives that is to establish the perception of agricultural officers in Coast province to pluralistic extension delivery system, to establish demographic factors that determine their perception and to determine whether the performance of agricultural officers in Coast province is related to their perception and how this affects the overall performance of the system. The important aspects considered were: The level of participation of public extension officers in the other Extension service providers’ programmes as practiced and desired by officers. The study also looked into the perception of staff on the system in the framework of the desired impact of pluralistic extension delivery system which includes better access to extension services by clients, meeting varied demands by farmers, creation of sustainability to farmers and making farmers more responsive interims of active participation. It was also in the interest of the researcher to find out whether pluralistic extension delivery system has resulted in duplication of efforts and whether in the opinion of the extension officers there is any synergy creation arising from multiplayer effects. The study also looked into demographic factors like age, professional qualification and gender that could determine officers’ perception. To find out perceived performance factors like facilitation to reach farmers, competence in delivery of services, ability to coordinate, supervise and create results to farmers were considered. To achieve the objectives, primary data was collected using two separate semi-structured questionnaires, one for staff and the other for clients (farmers and ESPs). The population of study comprised of extension staff from various levels that is provincial, district, divisional and location. Divisional staff who generally deal with ESPs directly but are also managers at this level formed the majority in this category (42.2 %). In the category of clients farmers formed the majority of respondents (93%). The findings of this study indicate that: Generally, public extension officers are involved in programmes of other ESPs but mostly at implementation level while they desire to be involved at all stages thus formulation, implementation and monitoring. The study also found out that pluralistic extension delivery system has to some extent resulted in better extension services to farmers and also availed more opportunities for officers to reach farmers and that there is enhanced satisfaction of farmers varied needs . It however emerged that there is still need for farmers to be more responsive particularly by having positive attitude towards change. The study also revealed that there is need for coordination of extension delivery system and that the clients have confidence in public officers but they should be capacity built to enable them act as supervisors, controllers and quality standard gate keepers. Age , professional qualification and gender were found to influence perception. The study also revealed that both extension officers and farmers strongly feel that the current staff level is very low and that the number should be increased and at the same time facilitation be enhanced. Need for operationalization of policy guideline on pluralistic extension delivery system was also emphasized. The findings of the study indicate that there is positive correlation between perception of agricultural extension officers and their perceived performance.