Understanding Farmers Information Network; Implication For Effective Extension Delivery In Akwa Ibom State
Odoemelam, L. E, Alocha, O.C
Keywords: Information network, Effective Extension Delivery and Rural Communities
ABSTRACT: Appropriateness of information is a critical factor needed to stimulate the right knowledge and attitude of farmers towards sustainable transformation of agriculture. The study investigated the information network that exists among rural communities in Akwa-Ibom States and its implication for effective extension delivery. Even though (AKADEP)Akwa-Ibom State Agricultural Development Programmes are highly involved in the dissemination process, it is important to analyze the information networks of the farmers to improve exchange of information with the following specific objectives; identify the different wealth groups in the study area, ascertain the information networks that exists in the area; analyze the different information types and assess the strength and weakness of the information sources. Data were generated through Focus Group Discussion and Participatory Observation, employing different methodologies like wealth ranking, information diagram and linkage matrix analysis using Likert’s scale type. Data generated were analyzed with simple descriptive statistics and means. Major results show that in wealth ranking two groups of respondents were identified the female households with mean score between 1.9 and male headed household with mean score of 2.00 – 2.99. on information network farmer to farmer with 21%, market 14%, church 15% were highest source of their information network. On perceived weakness and strength of the information network, the information quality, frequency of use, timeliness of information flow, and link up of information were adequate while reliability of information was not adequate. The results show that intra community information flow was suitable and accessible to rich farmers while inaccessible and often irrelevant to poor farmers. Therefore, in the face of threat to food insecurity prevalent in the country, it is important to put in place a platform that will afford farmers to ask questions and get substantive responses, not only from extension agents but through appropriate channels within their information networks.
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