n South African Journal of Agricultural Extension - National and provincial officials’ knowledge on phytosanitary matters for food security in South Africa - research

Volume 47 Number 1
  • ISSN : 0301-603X
  • E-ISSN: 2413-3221



The goal of this study was to investigate and identify the existing knowledge gaps on plant health systems of the national and provincial officials responsible for biosecurity issues and plant health matters at the Departments of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) in South Africa. In this study, stratified random sampling was used and a semi-structured questionnaire was used to collect data from 60 participants (30 each from national and provincial) from DAFF (scientists and inspectors), Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) (biodiversity officers) and Provincial Departments of Agriculture (PDAs) (extension officers or agricultural advisors). The data was analysed statistically using the one-way frequency and Spearman’s Rank correlation coefficients. The study revealed that 76.7% of the respondents at the national level have knowledge and understanding on plant health systems and only 36.7% of the PDAs respondents have such a level of knowledge. In terms of the relevant training on plant health matters, the majority of the respondents at the PDAs (80%) revealed that they were not receiving basic training on quarantine pests (pest identification and control), while only 20% of the respondents at the national authority indicated a lack of regular trainings. Thus, intensifying awareness and basic training on plant health matters, specifically for the extension officers and/or agricultural advisors, was found to be an effective tool to enhance knowledge capacity.

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