Full Project – ATTITUDE OF FARMERS AND PRIVATIZATION OF AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION SERVICES
1.1 Background of the study
An agricultural extension service offers technical advice on agriculture to farmers, and also supplies them with the necessary inputs and services to support their agricultural production. It provides information to farmers and passes to the farmers new ideas developed by agricultural research stations. Extension activities are widespread throughout the developing world and most governments have set up formally structured extension services to implement extension programmes and projects. The practice of extension is supported by budget, offices, personnel and other resources. Before examining extension in detail in later chapters, however, it will be useful to consider the principles which should guide it.
Extension is concerned with two basic functions, namely: The dissemination of useful and practical information relating to agriculture and home economics. The practical application of such knowledge to farm and home situations.
These where carried out in informal atmosphere with adults as the main clientele (Obibuaku, 1983). Extension services is an applied behavioural science, the knowledge of which is applied to bring about desirable changes in the behavioural complex of human beings usually through various strategies and programmes of change and by applying the latest scientific and technological innovations (Sharma, 2005). Extension services has now been developed as a full- fledged discipline, having its own philosophy, objectives, principles, methods and techniques which must be understood by every extension worker and others connected with the rural development (Sharma, 2005).
Prior to the World Bank’s intervention in agricultural extension in Nigeria, Eremie, (2003) indicated that the Government had tried various forms of the bureaucratic approach for the management of extension services. In addition to this educational responsibility, the extension agent was the representative of the government in his area, distributing inputs and performing regulatory functions. The focus of the bureaucratic system was the achievement of some national or political objectives, as was the case in the decades of commodity development for cocoa, groundnuts, palm produce and robber. Similarly, the farm settlement schemes of the 1960s, the National Accelerated Food Production Programme, the River Basin Development Authorities, the Operation Feed the Nation and the Green Revolution Programmes, all initiated in the 1970s, and the Directorate of Food, Roads and Rural Infrastructure (DFRRI) programme of 1986, relied on a bureaucratic extension system.
World Bank support to the Government of Nigeria for agricultural extension dated back to the mid-1970s with the establishment of the nine enclave Agricultural Development Projects (ADPs) in Funtua, Gusau, Gombe, Lafia, Ayangba, Bida, Ilorin, Oyo North and Ekiti-Akoko between 1975 and 1980. By the mid 1970s. there was increasing concern in Nigeria over the apparent stagnation of agricultural production. The ADPs were designed to tackle three major constraints: generation and dissemination of improved technologies, supply of productive inputs and feeder roads to link the farms with markets. The enclave projects were followed by the generation of statewide ADPs (Bauchi, Kano, Sokoto and Kaduna) between 1981 and 1983, the multi-state ADPs (MSADP I, II and III) approved in 1986, 1988 and 1989 respectively, and the National Agricultural Technology Support Project (NATSP) approved in 1992, and which closed in 1999.
1.2 Statement of the problem
Successive governments in Nigeria seemed to have recognized the importance of agricultural extension for the survival of the small scale farmers. This could be seen in the involvement of both Federal and State governments in the formulation and implementation of agricultural development policies and programmes with extension components. This was to increase the productivity and level of income of the farmers, but not many farmers benefited from these programmes as the programmes were not properly planned and executed (Ali, 1989). In most cases, farmers who constituted extension clients were not involved in planning the extension programmes (Benor and Bartex, 1984). Ineffective agricultural extension services are a major constrain to the performance of the agricultural sector (Forth National Development Plan, (1985); Ega, (1988); in Ali, (1989)). One of the serious problems in Nigeria was the rate at which available research results were transferred to farmers (Ogonfawara, (1981), in Novokhi, (2003)).
Agriculture is the mainstay of the people of the study area, as the researcher is familiar to the area. Despite all the efforts made by governments to increase agricultural production by creating awareness of improved farm technologies among peasant farmers through agricultural extension services, the researcher observed that many farmers in the study area are still farming in the same old way as their ancestors. That is, planting the same local seeds, using the same traditional storage methods, keeping the same local breed of animals. In addition they depend largely on family labour due to unavailability and high cost of tractor hiring services. It is based on these problems that the researcher carried out a research to evaluate the attitude of farmers and privatization of agricultural extension services.
1.3 Objectives of the study
The general objective of this study is to evaluate the attitude of farmers and privatization of agricultural extension services.
The specific objectives are to;
- examine the farmers’ privatized characteristics and their effect on the level of adoption of agricultural innovation in the study area.
- identify the extension teaching methods used by extension agents in the area in disseminating the improved practices to farmers, and their effectiveness.
- determine the extent of adoption of the recommended practices by the farmers in relation to change in their agricultural production.
- ascertain the factors militating against the adoption of extension recommendations in the area.
1.4 Research questions
The study provided answers to the following research questions:
- What are the privatized characteristics of farmers that are affecting the level of adoption of agricultural innovation?
- What are the extension teaching methods used by extension agents in disseminating the improved practices to farmers and their effectiveness?
- To what extent have farmers adopted the recommended practices in relation to change in their agricultural production?
- What are the factors militating against the adoption of extension recommendations in the area?
1.5 Research hypotheses
The researcher tested the following null hypotheses:
- There is no significant relationship between the farmers’ privatized characteristics, and their level of adoption of agricultural innovation.
- There is no significant relationship between the extension teaching methods used by extension agents in disseminating the improved practices, and the rate of adoption by the farmers.
- There is no significant relationship between the rate of adoption of the recommended practices by the farmers, and the change in their agricultural production.
- There is no significant relationship between factors militating against the adoption of extension recommendations in the study area, and the effectiveness of the programme being carried out in the area.
1.6 Significance of the study
- The study will be of importance to the agricultural extension decision makers by identifying the problems confronting extension activities for consideration in future development planning.
- The study will be of importance to the extension agents by providing them with information relevant to their extension activities.
- The study will provide useful information that will increase the standard of living of the farmers.
- The study will be significant to the researchers as it will serve as literature for future references.
1.7 Basic Assumptions of the Study
The study was carried out with the following assumptions, that:
- the farmers’ privatized characteristics influence the adoption of agricultural innovation in the study area.
- the methods used by extension agents in the area in disseminating the improved practices to farmers are not encouraging.
- adoption of the recommended practices by the farmers increases their agricultural production.
- there are some factors militating against the adoption of extension recommendations in the study area that hinder the effectiveness of the programme.
1.8 Scope of the study
The state is divided into three (3) agricultural zones from selected Local Government Areas in Northern Nigeria. The study was delimited to the study of sorghum, millet and cowpea producing farmers, these are major crops grown in the study area. The extension agents in the Local Government Areas, were involved in the study.
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Full Project – ATTITUDE OF FARMERS AND PRIVATIZATION OF AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION SERVICES