Promoting the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in Nigeria's agricultural extension service
Nigeria's Agricultural Extension Service has had a long and checkered history of development using a myriad of approaches ranging from the pre-colonial export commodity approach to the present variants of the Training and Visit (T&V) System, to reach its diverse clients with their various needs. The application of Information and Communication technologies (ICTs) in the extension delivery in Nigeria has similarly developed with the growth of the extension service, with radio and television making the most important contributions even with their overload of provider-driven rather than demand-driven information that appropriately addresses the needs of the clients. There is no doubt that the effective use of ICTs has the potential to enhance the performance of Nigeria's extension service as it will allow for pluralistic flows in an agricultural innovation system to ensure effective and efficient sharing and exchange of information, knowledge and skills among all stakeholders. Unfortunately however, ICTs use in Nigeria's extension service has been severely limited principally because of the problems of access, connectivity, low level literacy and computer skills of the major stakeholders, costs, and the country's poor ICT infrastructural development. Inspite of these constraints, the extension service is gradually exploring newer digital opportunities in addition to the traditional ICTs. Examples of ICT-enabled services and projects in other developing countries are indicative of how ICTs can positively transform Nigeria's extension service. It is therefore strongly recommended that the recent ICT initiatives in the country be properly managed, enhanced and sustained in a policy-friendly environment provided by government.
Keywords: Agricultural Extension; Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs); Radio and Television; Extension strategies/approaches; Training and Visit (T & V) extension system
Moor Journal of Agricultural Research Vol. 7 (1&2) 2006 pp. 100-106