Selected Profile from Directory

Photo of Baldur Heinrich Koch

Baldur Heinrich Koch

Regional Director, Department of Agriculture, Mpumalanga, 1995-2004 (retired)

South Africa

What most impressed the professional colleagues who nominated this role model?

Baldur Koch has been nominated by Board of the South African Society for Agricultural Extension (SASAE) as a role model in Extension and Advisory services because of the exemplary role he played as a professional agricultural extensionist.  He started his career as an extensionist and retired as a regional manager of extension services in the province of Mpumalanga, South Africa. He was awarded the Silver Medal by SASAE for the services he rendered to extension services, his willingness and commitment to ensure that extension will be recognized as a profession.      

What motivated you to pursue a career in agriculture?

  • I was raised as a farm child.
  • As a 12-year old I did already 12 hours shift tilling the land during weekends and school holidays and I enjoyed it.

 How can agricultural education institutions more effectively prepare African students for successful agribusiness careers? 

  • Ensure that students have a solid grounding in the natural agricultural sciences, which must include a good selection of basic sciences such as chemistry, physics, mathematics, botany and zoology during their first year of training.  My own training in the basic sciences has been of immeasurable value throughout my career. 
  • As far as the Extension Sciences are concerned I believe that a student should primarily qualify him/herself in the natural sciences during graduate studies before embarking on extension studies (i.e. of communicating the message) at post-graduate level.  Diluting course content by too wide eventually disadvantages the student as well as his/her client. 
  • Practitioners should be encouraged to work as a group in at least one comprehensive development project.  It is important that practitioners understand the principles of group dynamics. 
  • As it is impossible to become an expert in all fields of agriculture one would encourage students to become specialists in specific fields while maintaining a holistic oversight of the situation in their service areas.

Career highlights

  •    Regional Director, New department of Agriculture in Mpumalanga: 1995 – 2004 (retired).   
  •   Assistant Director, Department of Agriculture, Directorate Resource Conservation: 1991 – 1994.
  •   Senior Lecturer, Department of Agrarian Extension, University of Pretoria: 1980 – 1990.
  •  Chief Extensionist, Department of Agriculture: 1973 – 1979.
  •  Senior Ward Extensionist, Department of Agriculture, Free State Region: 1968 – 1972.
  •  Ward extensionist, Department of Agriculture, Highveld Region: 1964 – 1967.

Educational background

  • Primary school:                     
    • Wardburg Combined School.
  • Secondary school:     
    • Wardburg Combined School. 
  • University:     
    • BSc, Agronomy, University of Natal.
    • B Inst Agrar Hons in Extension, University of Pretoria.
    • M Inst Agrar Extension, University of Pretoria.
    • D Inst Agrar: Extension, University of Pretoria.