An Evaluation of the Relevance of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to Agricultural and Rural Development in Niger Delta of Nigeria
Information is vital to developmental process and the emerging information age brings about challenges that call for a shift in the ways of development. The study intends to assess the relevance of the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) by the development practitioners in their activities. Four research stations in Niger Delta of Nigeria where randomly selected for the study. Data collected were described using frequencies and percentages while inferences were drawn using spearman divulged and Pearson correlations. The study revealed that most of the digital ICT facilities were not available in the research stations. A test for significance between importance of the facilities to their work and available facilities show that only radio (r=0.567) and cinema (0.550) were significant. This means the practitioners’ extent of use of the available ICT facilities has not significantly influenced their work schedule. The study also revealed that there is no relationship between the importance of ICT tools to practitioners work schedule and their perceptions about the use of the facilities. Finally, the following recommendations based on the findings of the study were made: There should be vigorous efforts to use the available ICT facilities optimally and effectively by integrating the Local and germane content for the various facilities. The research and extension agent or institution authorities should deem it fit for adopts ICT for their activities as they are considered relevant by the practitioners. The research institution should teach and train both the rural farmers and extension agent on how to use the modern communication gadgets to enhance their performance in agriculture. The trained extension agent and Agricultural experts should train the local farmers on how to use modern information technology and to adapt to it instead utilising of an obsolete communication facilities.
Key words: ICT, Agricultural and Rural development, Research and Extension, NDBDA (Niger Delta Basin and Rural Development Authority Board), ADP (Agricultural Development Project), NIFOR (Nigeria Institute of Oil and Palm Research)
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