Social Media in Agricultural Research in Nigeria: A Platform for Connections and Networking
Agriculture is important to Nigeria’s economy, as it engages about 70% of her labour force and contributes over 40% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The need for current and relevant information by professionals in this sector for sustainable agricultural production is a crucial issue for the nation. Information communication technology facilities are greatly influencing how information is sourced and disseminated these days, and the latest trend is to use social networking sites. This study therefore examined whether agricultural researchers in Nigeria used social media as a means of networking and collaboration in their endeavours as researchers in the agricultural industry. The study was conducted among agricultural researchers in six agricultural research institutes and a university of agriculture in south-west Nigeria. Survey research design was adopted for the study. Questionnaire was the main instrument of data collection. 140 copies of the questionnaire were administered to the target audience and 101(72%) copies were returned and used for the study. Data obtained were statistically analyzed using descriptive statistics. The findings reveal that majority of the respondents are middle aged, while the most used social media among agricultural researchers in Nigeria is Facebook. Their major reason for using social media is to establish connection with their professional colleagues. The major benefit derived from using social media is exposure to the latest skills and knowledge in their profession. Recommendations are also proffered to encourage effective use of social media for networking and communication of research results among agricultural scientists in Nigeria.
Key words: Social, Media, Agriculture, Research, Networking, Nigeria