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Agricultural Extension Officer

 

An agricultural extension officer communicates agricultural information to the farmer, and makes sure that the farmer understands and uses this information, in order to obtain the best production.


Job Characteristics

  • Propagating new farming methods, where the farmer makes the final decision.
  • Communicating agricultural information via study groups, farmer days, demonstrations, lectures, literature and the mass media. The best method, however is personal contact.
  • Developing recovery programmes for eroded soil.
  • Developing new pasture systems.
  • Protecting cultivated land against erosion.
  • Re-planning the farm in conjunction with the farmer after careful investigation.

Requirements
Secondary Education

Possession of at least a HIGCSE/NSSCH Grade 12 or equivalent qualification with matriculation exemption is required for studies at South African Universities. For studies at UNAM, the student must obtain at least a C-symbol in Biology and Mathematics at IGCSE/NSSCO level, and not less than a D-symbol in Chemistry or Physical Science as well as at least 25 points on the UNAM point evaluation system.

For studies at the Polytechnic of Namibia, candidates must have passed at least five subjects at IGCSE/NSSCO/HIGCSE/NSSCH level and have obtained a total score of at least 25 points on the Polytechnic's point evaluation scale. For studies at Namibian Agricultural Colleges an IGCSE/NSSCO Grade 12, or an equivalent qualification, with English, Mathematics and one Science subject is required. Students must have passed at least 6 subjects.

Compulsory Subjects
Mathematics and Physical Science at HIGCSE/NSSCH level (South Africa)
Biology, Mathematics, and Chemistry of Physical Science (UNAM)
Biology or Biology-related subject (Polytechnic of Namibia)
Mathematics, English and one Science subject (Agricultural Colleges - Namibia)

Tertiary Education
A B. Sc. (Agric.) degree is offered at most South African Universities. The same degree can be obtained at UNAM.

At the Polytechnic of Namibia a N. Dip.: Natural Resources can be followed. A N. Dip: Agriculture is offered by Agricultural Colleges (e.g. Neudamm, Ogongo, etc.) in Namibia.

Personallity
A prospective candidate should have love for nature and animals and possess good communication skills. She/he must also be able to give good advice without offending the client.

Work Opportunities
Agricultural extension officers are usually employed by the Ministry of Agriculture, and agricultural co-operatives, private sector and self-employment.