INFORMATION ANS COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY(ICT) UTILIZATION IN AGRICULTURAL INFORMATION DISSEMINATION
1.1 Background to the study
The role of information in our societies today cannot be overemphasized. This is due to rapid growth in the area of Information and Communication Technology (ICTs). As it is popularly said that knowledge is power and knowledge cannot be separated from information, infact information is the basic necessity of maximally harness the factors of production (Khalid 2013). Also Ezeh (2013) confirmed in his opinion that information remains one of the basic needs of life.
Nnadi (2012) defined agricultural information as a collection of Knowledge on agriculture in general and that this knowledge encompasses ideas, innovations and technologies of policies in all areas of agriculture. It is important to note that the standard of living of having them gain access to information. This is because their abilities lie in the level of information available to them and they will always remain handicap without information (Muhammad, 2007).
To further assert this, Gopala (2012) explained that the substances farmers use in making choices in their practices is made available via agricultural information. A lack of this information remains a major but silent setback in the agricultural sector. To maintain steady progress, farmers must be well informed as well as take positive steps in – line with the information (Ezeh, 2013).
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The penetration of information and communication technology in Nigeria is on the increase but Nigerian farmers have limited access and use of these technologies in their agricultural activities. These information and communication technologies includes but not limited to integrated peer management control, high yielding technologies and efficiency in land use (Nnadi, 2012).
The Nigerian government has formulated diverse policies and schemes to foster private sectors and foreign investors’ participation towards subsidizing and making more viable information and communication technologies having recognized how important they are in agriculture. One of these schemes are recorded by Ezeh (2013) is the growth enhancement support scheme (GES) introduction by Nigerian government in 2012 to facilitate and provide farmers with valuable information and product as well as monitoring their progress via mobile phones.
Apart from the effort towards embracing emerging information and communication technology, it is evident that Kogi State of Nigeria is not lagging behind (Oladunjoye 2013). However, aside from the existence of these technologies, there has been problem of accessibility for farmers and many others who may want to utilize them for agricultural purposes. It therefore remains uncertain whether Information and Communication Technologies are effectively utilized by farmers in Yagba West Local Government Area of Kogi State for lack of accessibility.
1.3 Aim and Objectives of the study
The aim of this study is to determine the level of ICT utilization in agricultural information dissemination in Yagba West Local Government, Kogi State.
The specific objectives are:
1. To identify the types of Information and Communication Technologies available for agricultural information dissemination in Yagba West Local Government Area, Kogi State.
2. To determine the level of accessibility of Information and Communication Technologies by farmers in Yagba West Local Government Area, Kogi State.
3. To investigate the level of utilization of Information and Communication Technologies in obtaining agricultural information by farmers in Yagba West Local Government Area of Kogi State.
4. To identify the available constraints to effective utilization of Information and Communication Technologies in agricultural information dissemination in Yagba west LGA.
5. To find solutions to the problems affecting the ICT utilization in agricultural information dissemination.
1.4 Research Questions
This study will be guided by the following research questions.
1. What types of modern ICTs infrastructures are available for agricultural information dissemination in Yagba West Local Government Area, Kogi State?
2. What is the accessibility of these ICTs infrastructures by farmers in Yagba West Local Government Area of Kogi State?
3. What is the level of utilization of Information and Communication Technologies in obtaining agricultural information by farmers in Yagba West Local Government Area of Kogi State?
4. What are the available constraints to effective utilization of ICT in agricultural information dissemination in Yagba West Local Government Area of Kogi State?
5. What are the possible solutions to the problems affecting the ICT utilization in agricultural information dissemination?
1.5 Justification for the Study
Since the use of ICT to tackle rural development and agriculture challenges is still new, and is constantly changing in nature, the amount of research done on ICT utilization in Agricultural information dissemination is limited and scare to find.
The findings and recommendations of this research, if implemented, will benefit not only the people of Yagba West LGA but the whole Nigerians. It will expose the farmers and other stakeholder to the vast opportunities available in the areas of ICT as regards agricultural information generation and dissemination. It would equally increase the number of Nigerians that would have access to vital information on agriculture. In addition, this study will add to the existing literatures on ICT utilization in agricultural information dissemination and will provide an in-depth knowledge to researchers and readers alike.
1.6 Delimitation of the Study
The scope of this research borders on ICT utilization in agricultural information dissemination in Yagba West Local Government Area, Kogi State. The bordering of this research also extended to include the various ICT resources being used to disseminate information pertaining to agriculture to the Communities in Yagba West LGA.
Considering the broad nature of the topic, the study focuses on the farmers in the towns and villages (districts) under Yagba West LGA Yagba West Local Government. The studied districts in Yagba West LGA Yagba West Local Government include: Egbe, Ere, Omi, Eri, Oga, Iyamerin, Ejiba, Igbaruku, and Akata
Operation Definition of Terms:
Agricultural extension: Educational services which bring new technologies and disseminate agricultural information to farming communities to enable them improve their production, incomes and standards of living.
Agricultural information: Verifiable and reliable factual data about agriculture including reports as well as opinions.
Agricultural Information Dissemination: Making information about agriculture accessible to the farmers in Yagba west LGA.
Dissemination: This is the spread of information, knowledge, etc. so that it reaches many farmers in Yagba west LGA, Kogi State.
Farmer: A person who grow crops, rear animals in Yagba West Local Government Area.
ICT infrastructures: Communication devices such as radio, television, phones, e – book, computers and satellite.
Utilization: Make practical and effective use of something to its fullest extent.INFORMATION ANS COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY(ICT) UTILIZATION IN AGRICULTURAL INFORMATION DISSEMINATION