Perception of Commercialization of Agricultural Extension Service among Farming Household Heads in Kwara State, Nigeria
Public extension service delivery system has been unable to satisfactorily respond to the challenges of agricultural development, poverty eradication and rural transformation in Nigeria, resulting in continued calls for alternative systems, including commercialization of extension service. Because of their strategically significant role in farming household decision-making, this paper studied the perceptions of heads of rural household heads on commercialization of extension service in Kwara State. A four-stage systematic random sampling technique was used to select 460 respondents, while a structured questionnaire was used in data elicitation. The questionnaire also consisted of ten positively presented perceptions of commercialization on a 5-point Likert-type scale that was used to calculate Extension Commercialization Perception Coefficient (ECPC) for each respondent. Data analysis revealed that respondents were generally negatively disposed to commercialization (X=2.29). Furthermore, most respondents believed that farmers should be encouraged to support commercialization and that charges, if at all, should be based on farming income. Correlation analysis showed that education (r = .719, p = .002), farming income (r =.684, p =.005), and farm size (r =.676, p =.003) were positively significant correlates of ECPC among respondents. Also significant were income and size of personal farm. It is thus imperative that any form of commercialization of extension service be preceded by farmer empowerment and proper orientation to insure widespread acceptability.
Key Words: women farmers, perceptions, extension, commercialization.