Rural farmers’ readiness to access information from the National Farmers Helpline Centre, National Agriculture Extension and Research Liaison Services ABU Zaria, Kaduna State, Nigeria
The study investigated rural farmers’ readiness to access agricultural information from the National Farmers Helpline Centre NAERLS, ABU Zaria. The specific objectives were to describe the socio-economic characteristics of Nigerian rural farmers, identify the major agricultural information accessed by rural farmers from the National Farmers Helpline Centre and identify the various constraints faced by Nigerian rural farmers in accessing agricultural information from the National Farmers Helpline Centre. A random sampling technique was employed to select one thousand six hundred (1600) rural farmers across the six agro ecological zones from the National Farmers’ Helpline Centre Database who usually call the Farmers’ Help Line Centre of NAERLS, ABU Zaria. Percentage, and mean were used to analyse data. It was revealed that 61.2% who frequently accessed information from the National Farmers Helpline were male farmers belonging to the age group of 41 years and above (46.4%), married (75.6%) and having a household size of 6 – 10 persons (51.1%), with at least 11 – 30 years of farming experience. Thus, 45.6% of the respondents were involved in crop production while 37.5% were into animal husbandry, with the majority of them (46.9%) having acquired no form of formal education. Furthermore, the findings showed that the National Farmers Helpline Centre supplies the rural farmers with information on cultural practices (69.0%), pest and disease management (50.0%), weed management strategies (73.9%), marketing strategies (72.4%), farm tools and machineries (65.0%), seeds varieties and selection (88.9%) and information on government policies (89.0%). It was clearly identified that rural farmers are personally, infrastructural, resourcefully, mentally and managerially ready to access agricultural information from the National Farmers Helpline Centre. Rural and urban farmers should be committed in accessing the readily available agricultural information for a productive and sustainable agricultural productivity, likewise, reliable means of information dissemination should be adopted by the National Farmers Helpline Centre so as to ensure that both rural and rural farmers benefit from the numerous agricultural information available.
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