Participatory Learning and Action Participatory learning and action (PLA) can be well-defined as a method that can be used in figuring out needs, evaluating initiatives and programs. Participatory learning and action (PLA) is unit of an individual family of methods that allow local individuals to analyse and share their know-how of life and state of affairs, and to devise, prioritize, act, and study (Absalom et. al., 1995; Chambers,1997). The principle reason of participatory learning and action (PLA) is to guide farmers within the communities to analyse their very own state of affairs, in their own preference on how these affairs can be analysed by using extension workers and to make sure that anything learned is then translated into action (Gosling and Edwards, 2003).
This approach permits farmers and extension workers to interact together and share specific information. Aref (2011) stated participatory learning and action is a broader application that covers a range of participatory tools and approaches. These participatory tools and approaches can be used to work, plan and redirect a group of people.
PLA is based on the set of rules and morals which are called principles. PLA is planned to seek out various perceptions and hold diversity. It is centred on the cluster of analysis and learning. PLA is designed to deliver visions and sympathetic that assists in directing the community improvement.2.2. Participatory methods and techniques Participatory methods and techniques can be defined as a scope of activities with a reliable theme, these methods and techniques are empowering common individuals to have an effective and persuasive influence in choices which impact their lives.
Chamber (1997) mentioned that in agricultural extension, there are different participatory methods and techniques which were developed. The participatory methods include Rapid Rural Appraisal (RRA), Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA), Participatory Learning and Action (PLA), Participatory Innovation Development (PID), and Participatory Technology Development. World Bank (1966) mentioned that during participation process there are participatory methods and techniques that are used with different tools which involve: transect walk, focus group discussions, social mapping, seasonal calendars, semi-structured interviews as well as structured and non-structured interviews. Participatory Rural Appraisals (PRA) and PLA are the developing groupings of approaches and methods that empower rural people to improve, and evaluate their knowledge about their lifestyles and situations (Chamber, 1997). Rapid Rural Appraisal is the technique that gives an optional procedure to outsiders frequently researchers that are doing researching about farming, this information is rapidly gained from nearby individuals about their resources and difficulties. Participatory technology development (PTD) is a tool that is developed suitable and eagerly relevant technologies by means of action research philosophies in farming. Participatory innovation development (PID) is well defined as an approach of inventing an innovative way to the farmers that they can use to enhance their farming practise, these innovations should be feasible and suitable in order to develop the livelihoods of the rural people (Ntombela et, al. 2015).3. Farmers’ participation in development programmes3.1. Advantages of participation Participation can lead to the empowerment of the vulnerable and disadvantaged because it allows local rural people to be in knowledge of analyses, it builds a feel of ownership of the development manner and it strongly places neighbouring people in positions to the best choice, in defining and managing their priorities for action (Chambers, 1994). Participation allows the incorporation of nearby know-how, skills and assets inside the plan of programmes which results in the programme efficiency as it’s far now regarded as a pioneer to rich programme final touch. In this manner, participation can ensure that the programme this is being accomplished responds to wishes of the people. Participation motivates the farmers to work as a group, to achieve particular goals and targets.This process allows the farmers to participate because they are being assisted to make better decisions about farming. Participation leads to the empowerment of the weak and disadvantage local people to contribute in the development programme, and farmers are given an opportunity to think for themselves and be able to adopt new techniques in a way suitable to their needs. RCPLA (2010) pointed out that participation is predicted not simply to advance the exchange of information among participants, nevertheless also to develop the trading power of the beneficiaries through involvement in project activities such as planning and decision making at all relevant levels.3.2. Participation constraints Participation is reserved by a number of factors, which includes people who are lacking information, self-confidence, time, and interest (Cole, 2006). Normally an absence of ownership, capital, skills, and resources all limit the ability of communities to fully control their participation in agriculture development. Mansuri and Rao, (2012) indicated that making a known to participation does not guarantee the accurate and expected outcomes in terms of livelihood effects however people express greater agreement in decisions in which they are elaborate. Mafukidze (2009) said participation has the potential for negative outcomes such as the entrenchment of mistrust for the government, discouragement, conflict and division. A negative encounter of the procedure may lead members to have a negative impression of the result, and they might be more antipathetic to take part in future procedures. Farmers participation developments can also be costly to commence improvement and they are mainly depending deeply on governmental, to provide them with funds and resources. In order for it to be done efficiently, associations have to create an ability to train members. If participation organised poorly, it can result in a loss of trust in the organization. The risks in participation are mostly associated with community participation. This can be largely associated with poorly planned, structured and managed participatory initiatives. On the opposite side, it is additionally realized that regularly little and medium farmers come up short on the time, cash, and inspiration to take an interest. Frequently neighbourhood history is not empowering and supports the view that interest is politically risky (Cole, 2007).4. Agricultural extension and participation4.1. Approaches supporting participationThe participatory extension approach (PEA) is a backside-up planning process in which all the major social interest productions which include men, women and youth take part in identifying their troubles and growing an extensive established action plan aimed at accomplishing sustainable rural improvement. Approaches supporting participation include Training and visit (T&V), Farmer Interest Group (FIG), Farmer Field School (FFS), and Farmer to Farmer Extension (FFE) approach. The training and visit approach (T&V) Training and Visit have usually applied to ministry based agricultural extension. The foremost objective of training and visit system is to train extension workers with the capability to fill the information opening to the essential point to help farmers achieve the maximum in terms of crop outputs and profits through intensive training programs (Kirsten, 1997). Farmer Interest Group (FIG) is a self-managed, sovereign group of farmers who are having mutual objective and interest. The participants are working together to accomplish this objective by sharing their present resources. According to Riar (2006) effective contribution of participants in gatherings is to have an agreement on various matters, encountered by farmers, is a significant indicator of group wellbeing. Vandenberg and Jiggins (2007) stated that Farmer Field School (FFS) is a group centered learning the process and it is facilitated by extension workers on skilled farmers and it is also a participatory method of learning. According to Lukuyu et al (2012), farmer-to-farmer extension (FFE) is a corresponding approach and that consist of farmers sharing information about new agricultural advancements in their communities. Scarbourough (1997) stated that farmer-farmer extension (FFE) approach is the facilitation of training by farmers to farmers; this training is always done through the formation of an organization with the guidance of farmer. However, Kruger (1995) emphasized that farmer-farmer approach was an approach to sustainable development that is relaxing firmly on the moralities that shows respect to traditional knowledge from the present farmers; and he also highlighted that farmers are doing researches, sharing their knowledge and innovations.Norman and Collinson (1985) have defined Farmer System Research (FSR) as a research method that is used to investigate the understanding of the actual world of economic systems that farmers work on. Farmer System Research considers small-farmers as regulars for agricultural investigation and technology development. Hence, its core goal is to yield suitable skills and knowledge that will fit farmer main concerns. FSR approach is used to get other suitable technologies for farmers and where it is possible to develop new strategies to support services for farm production, and also to improve society’s desired objectives. FSR targets at enhancing the yield of farming schemes. 5. Conclusion drawn from all themesIn conclusion agricultural extension services system consists of a massive form of variable components, but there are some typically recognized services that are essential to the assets of agricultural development in spite of their different structure schemes and arrangements. So as to loosen the problems of rural development, Agricultural extension systems need to be meant to encourage the active participation of farmers in, implementing and observation of agricultural extension programs. The way participation is defined, depends upon the context and background in which participation is to be applied. Participation may additionally suggest that communities are allowed to direct and take decisions regarding their affairs. In agricultural extension, there are different participatory methods and techniques that were developed. Different methods and techniques are allowing conjoint entities to have operative and undoubted powers in choices that influence farmers. In order for the participation to be successful, extension organizations can want to properly change and transfer the control of specific program coming up with managing roles to the system levels of natural agricultural extension, private sector, and farmers organizations, wherever extension programs area unit actually enforced. With regard to rural community development, participation consists of farmers’ involvement in the choice making process, by attending meetings, contributing to community tasks and imposing programs.