Frontline extension agents’ lack of awareness and understanding of integrated pest management (IPM) has been identified as an impediment to effective transfer of IPM strategies to farmers in sub-Saharan Africa. Developing effective in-service educational and training programs is an important method for addressing this problem, but it is a solution that requires the engagement of extension agents in the training needs assessment process. The main purpose of this study was to assess extension agent knowledge of IPM and to determine their priority pest management educational and training needs. An instrument to assess pest management competencies on the basis of knowledge and importance was designed and administered to a sample of 82 extension agents from Eastern Uganda. All 20 pest management competencies were considered to be very important. Weighted discrepancy scores indicated that the three highest ranked training needs were Field Pest Sampling Procedures, Differentiating Crop Diseases, and Knowledge of IPM. Nearly half (46%) of the sample had low levels of IPM knowledge. Comparing the training needs of those with low and acceptable IPM knowledge levels reveals important differences for designing pest management training programs. Based on these findings alternative pest management training programs for extension agents in Uganda are presented.
Keywords: Competencies, Discrepancy Analysis, Extension Agents, Integrated Pest Management, Training Needs, Uganda