Percieved effects of information and communication technologies in agricultural extension service delivery in Owerri West Lga of Imo State, Nigeria
ICTs devices have great potential for use in agricultural extension delivery and are increasingly being used without corresponding research into their optimal use. The study analyzed the effects of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in agricultural extension in Owerri West Local Government Area of Imo State, Nigeria. Specifically, the study described the socioeconomic characteristics of farmers, identified the level of awareness of farmers on ICTs devices, described the type of ICTs devices available for use in agricultural extension delivery, examined the effectiveness of ICTs devices and identified the barriers farmers face in the use of ICT devices. Sample size comprised fifty (50) farming households selected using simple random sampling techniques. Structured questionnaire was the main tool for data collection. Data collected were analyzed using descriptive statistical tools and multiple regression analysis. Mean age was 45 years. Majority (74.0%) were male and about 76.0% were married with a mean household size of 6 persons. Mean farming experience was 20 years, while about 78. 0% were members of farmers’ associations. Average monthly farm income was ₦49, 500.00. Greater proportions (58.0%) did not have access to extension agents. Sizable proportions (82.00%) were highly aware of various ICT tools used in agricultural extension.. Estimated multiple regression models revealed that the socio-economic characteristics of the farmers have a significant influence on their level of effectiveness in use of ICTs devices. Farmers identified high cost of ICTs devices (94.00%) and inadequate power supply (86.00%) as their barriers in the use of ICTs devices in the area. It was recommended that seminars and workshops should be organized for farmers on the use of various ICTs devices as this would enhance their use of ICT and promote effective agricultural delivery.
Keywords: Agricultural extension, Information and Communication Technology), Extension services, Imo State