Examining of knowledge management systems applied by extension workers supportive community gardens in the uMgungundlovu District Municipality.
South Africa as other African countries has not been spared from the rural poverty. The South African government is trying to address this problem through various government departments. One such ministry trying to address rural poverty is the Ministry of Agriculture, working together with the provincial Ministries of Agriculture in different provinces. The provision of appropriate agricultural extension services is regarded as a tool that may be used to address rural poverty and development in South Africa’s rural areas. Appropriate extension services will depend on the knowledge management system applied by the organisation making it innovative and responsive to the needs of the farmers. The objective of this research was therefore to identify knowledge management systems applied by extension workers to support community garden farmers in the uMgungundlovu District Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal. To address the objective, qualitative research methods, namely focus group discussion and semi-structured interviews, were used. In this research, it was evident that the extension workers were not efficiently managing knowledge within their department, among themselves as well as among the farmers. The extension workers have potential knowledge management methods in place, such as departmental meetings. However, the extension workers’ practices do not capture the true essence of knowledge management. There is no evidence that knowledge gained by extension workers during meetings and informal discussions in the organisation is translated into learning, which could lead to the development of new knowledge by the extension workers. The extension workers claimed that they are using appropriate methods to learn from the farmers and to share knowledge with them. However, the farmers do not believe that the extension workers make use of any methods to encourage knowledge sharing and learning. It is thus evident that extension workers do not integrate knowledge gained from the farmers into the improvement of their own agricultural extension practices. Agricultural extension organisations therefore need to adopt methods that encourage learning, reflection and engagement with the knowledge gained from the organisation and the farmers for real knowledge management to take place. This, in essence, will lead to the creation, sharing, utilization, absorption and transformation of knowledge.
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