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                                                CHAPTER ONE


1.1 Background of the study

The role of information in any society, community, or organization cannot be over-emphasized. Likewise information sourcing remains the most relevant mean of improving agricultural production in Nigeria.  Information is very important in all phases of life (Idiegbeyan–Ose & Akpoghome, 2009). Information has received a wide range of acceptance as an essential resource of this century.  Information is regarded as a crucial resource and an important commodity for development, is a basic necessity and brings success in everyday life including farming activities (Odini, 2014). Information is a powerful tool for empowerment, it takes away ignorance and enables an individual to be enlightened and bold (Nicholas-Era, 2017). Information is the driving force of a modern is society. Over the last few decades, the increased emphasis on information in every sphere of life has resulted in the increased use of information in every sector (Islam & Hoq, 2010).

Information source is an institution or individual that creates or brings about a message (Statrasts, 2004). The characteristics of a good information source are relevance, timelessness, accuracy, cost effectiveness, reliability, usability, exhaustiveness and aggregation level (Statrasts, 2004).Sources  of  information  are  tools  that  can  possibly  meet  the  information  needs  of  different categories of users. They are the information carriers.  There are different sources of information but what matters are ‘what’ sources are available and relevant to the different categories of users and what sources of information are useful for their different seeking behaviour, and mainly for utilization in order to accomplish tasks/needs.  Information sources are various means by which information is recorded for use by an individual and organization. Sources of information are: radio, television, extension workers, cooperative societies, friends and colleagues, newspapers and magazines, books/leaflets, phones, libraries and institutes.

Information needs of rural farmers may range from field acquisition, agricultural inputs (seeds, pesticides, agricultural equipment, weather conditions, harvest technology etc), agricultural technology, agricultural credit (eg. terms of loans), to agricultural marketing, and food technology (Meitei and Devi, 2009 in Demet, Nilay, Marco and Tunç, 2016). Farmers get their information through a number of sources. The most common sources where farmers get related and necessary information that they require are publications (magazines, books etc.), other farmers, family members and friends, community libraries with adequate agricultural sources, visits to organic farms, possible attendance at seminars and regional meetings, and audio-visual sources for farmers with lower literacy level (Padel, 2001 in Demet, Nilay, Marco and Tunç, 2016). Others include: radio, television, trade associations, age groups, extension workers, friends, relatives, posters, handbills, pamphlets and mobile phones (Olajide, 2011; Adio, Abu, Yusufu & Nansoh, 2016; Bello and Obinne, 2012, Ukachi (2007).

Farmers need to be connected to the communication channels through which appropriate information is flowing (Ukachi and Ayiah, 2017). However, some studies that investigated agricultural information used by farmers still found that the majority of these information sources are grossly underutilized by the farmers (Bello and Obinne, 2012; Ugwoke, 2013). Mashroofa and Senevirathne (2014) in Ukachi and Ayiah (2017) stated that farmers need information to identify the cost, storage, usage, varieties of newly introduced seeds, pesticides, and weather in order to get maximum yields and best production. To be able to satisfy these needs, information must be provided to farmers in a format most appealing and comprehensive to them (Mashroofa and Senevirathne, 2014 in Ukachi and Ayiah, 2017).

Agriculture which is the leading sector of the economy in most developing countries is one of the areas that information is constantly sought and used. In Nigeria, the importance of Agriculture to the economy cannot be over emphasized despite the growth of industries, oil and commerce, it had continued to be the principal economic activity carried out by most Nigerians (Lughlugh, 2020; Stienen, Bruinsma & Neuman, 2017; Mwangi and Kariuki, 2015; Lwoga, 2010) and it is crucial to meet the information needs of farmers for the development of the sector (Demet, Nilay, Marco and Tunç, 2016). The strategic importance of increasing access to knowledge and information is emphasized in the Human Development Report (UNDP, 2001), World Summit for Sustainable Development Plan of Action (UN, 2001) and the Revised World Bank Rural Development Strategy (Odoemelam and Olojede, 2016). To interact with the other factors of production, agricultural information is an essential factor. The farmers decision-making is facilitated towards improved agricultural production, processing, trading and marketing through an effective and efficient release system of essential information and technology services (Anju and Satbir, 2017; Ukachi, 2015; Chen, Liu and Yang, 2011; Rodman, 2006).

Agricultural information is a key component in improving small-scale agricultural production and linking increased production to remunerative markets, thus leading to improved rural livelihoods, food security and national economics (Masuki et al, 2010).Agricultural  productivity  may  also  be measured  by  what  is  termed total  factor  productivity (TFP). This method of calculating agricultural productivity compares an index of agricultural input to an index of output.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Information service provision to farmers in Uyo agricultural zone has been ineffective for the production of varieties of food and, raw materials for sustenance of the people. Majority of our rural farmers depend on indigenous or local knowledge for improved farming systems. Such knowledge (indigenous or local knowledge) refers to skills and experiences gained through oral tradition and practice over many generations but the use of such primitive skills by our rural farmers, especially those in Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria, has not substantially helped to improve yield. Some rural  farmers  in  their  efforts  to  access  these  agricultural knowledge  and  information from  available  sources  for better  farming  system  and  improved agricultural yield are confronted with certain constraints. Most times the only information sources and services available for utilization in production practices in the region are town criers, relations and film show; while others like conferences  and workshops Non –Governmental organization were  inadequate. There is a wide gap between available knowledge of improved technology and actual practice and this has had a considerable effect on the attempt at increasing food production. Thus, this study was conceived to identify the use of information sources and services by farmers for improving agricultural production in Uyo for better farm practices.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The primary aim of this study is to examine the perception of farmers on information sourcing in improving agricultural production in Uyo agricultural zone. The specific objectives are;

  1. To determine the agricultural information sources utilized by farmers in Uyo agricultural zone.
  2. To find out the types of agricultural information sourced by rural farmers in Uyo agricultural zone.
  3. To find out the methods adopted by farmers in in Uyo agricultural zone.
  4. To determine the challenges faced by farmers in in Uyo agricultural zone in the process of sourcing agricultural information.

1.4 Research Questions

The following research questions were posed to serve as guide to this study;

  1. What types of agricultural information do farmers in Uyo agricultural zone usually source for?
  2. What methods do agricultural farmers in Uyo agricultural zone adopt in sourcing agricultural information?
  3. How is information sourced by farmers in Uyo agricultural zone organized?
  4. What are the challenges affecting information sourcing by farmers in Uyo agricultural zone?

1.5 Significance of the Study

The study is significant in the sense that its findings will benefit both urban and rural farmers in Uyo agricultural zone by identifying the prevalent problems faced by farmers in their effort to source, organize and disseminate appropriate and timely information to farmers. This will alert the authority of true situational problems militating against effective performance of rural farmers thereby encouraging the Government and authority of Uyo agricultural zone to solve the prevailing problems. It will also benefit the Government in making a reliable policy statement on agricultural extension services and hence form a baseline for improvement of farming cultivation in the state.The study will add knowledge to the growing literature on agricultural information sourcing generally, and specifically on Uyo agricultural zone.

1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study

The study covers all the farmers and agricultural workers in Uyo agricultural zones being the information disseminators in the region.

In carrying out the investigation sources of data posed a problem of its own. It is difficult to lay hands on up to data statistical data for empirical analysis especially in developing countries such as Nigeria. In any case one had to make the best use of what was available.
Resulting from the short time limit couple with the financial constraints, the researcher was limited to primary and secondary sources.
Generally the researcher suffers frustration owing to some logistics. Below are some of the identifiable limitations.
1. Unpublished data were rarely made available to researcher by Agricultural extension workers who avoid violation of the official secrecy act.
2. Secondary data on the subject was stale and scanty in most of the libraries visited including the state library.

1.7 Operational Definition of Terms

Perception: Perception is the organization, identification, and interpretation of sensory information in order to represent and understand the presented information or environment.

Information Sourcing; The ways individuals articulate their information needs, source,evaluate, select, and use the information to satisfy some goals,

Information Organization; The technical method of separating the unlike or grouping togetherof related information sourced in accordance with some common characteristics.

Agricultural production: Agricultural production means the production of any growing grass or crop attached to the surface of the land, whether or not the grass or crop is to be sold commercially, and the production of any farm animals, including farmed elk, whether or not the animals are to be sold commercially.

Agricultural Extension Workers; Personnel who sources agricultural information fromresearch experts and other sources of information for onward dissemination to farmers.

Farmers; People involved in practical farming activities and the recipients of agriculturalinformation from extension workers.


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