In the Eduardo Mondlane irrigation scheme in Chokwe, southern Mozambique, land had been allocated in 1983 to approximately 12000 farmers for growing rice (85%) and maize (15%). From the onset, maize production in the warm season was severely constrained by a number of pathogens and pests. During 1984–1988 a study on downy mildew, maize streak virus, stemborers and rodents, was carried out. This resulted in the formulation of a package of recommendations along lines of integrated pest and disease management, which was subsequently disseminated to farmers by the extension service. In order to evaluate the effectiveness of technology transfer, farmers were interviewed just before the new recommendations were disseminated (1988) and again two years after the start of the training and extension programme. Severe constraints in technology transfer to farmers were encountered due to the poor functioning of the extension service. It is concluded that improvements in communication and feedback mechanisms between farmers, extensionists and researchers and substitution of the prevailing ‘top-down’ training and extension methods by a ‘bottom-up’ approach are needed. In addition, rehabilitation and proper maintenance of the irrigation system and better land allocation to smallholders is required before research recommendations can be expected to work.