BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Information and communication are essential ingredients needed for effective transfer of technologies that are designed to boost agricultural production. For farmers to benefit from such technologies, they must first have access to them and learn how to effectively utilize them in their farming systems and practices. This should be the function of agricultural extension agencies all over the world. These extension agencies make use of different approaches, means and media in transferring improved agricultural innovation to the end users (farmers). Mass media methods in agricultural information dissemination generally, are useful in reaching a wide audience at a very fast rate. They are useful as sources of agricultural information to farmers and as well constitute methods of notifying farmers of new developments and emergencies. They could equally be important in stimulating farmers’ interest in new ideas and practices (Ani et. al. 1997). Mass media are important in providing information for enabling the rural community to make informed decision regarding their farming activities, especially in the rural areas of developing countries (Lwoga, 2010). Information, as we know is the key for success in the operation and management process of the agriculture activities. To a large extent, mass media serve as a veritable instrument for information dissemination in agriculture. In developing countries, latest mass media have made their place for backing up agricultural sector through extension activities (Qamar, 2006). The potency of modern electronic technology can be exploited for infotainment of farming community (Guenthner and Swan, 2011). However, the mass media involve one-way communication from information source to the receivers. They permit limited and delayed feedback, which of course is essential for effective communication. Mass media (electronic & print media) are playing very important role in creating awareness about new agricultural innovations among farmers. Mass media are spreading agricultural innovation to the farmers at a faster rate than personal contacts. Khushk and Memon (2004) stated that production and distribution of printed material helps farmers in the transfer of new information and technologies. Printing helps in preserving the innovations in the shape of books/booklets, magazines, newspapers and brochures. According to a study conducted in the central Punjab, majority of the farmers consulted pamphlets, magazines, and newspapers for getting the information regarding sugarcane production technologies. These were regarded as the most suitable forms of print media for adoption of sugarcane production technologies (Abbas et. al., 2003). Farm publications have proved to be effective means for dissemination of information, especially to introduce new technologies. Farm publications are also useful for disseminating information among literate farmers (Singh, 2001). In Nigeria, various communication media are being used to transmit agricultural information to farmers in line with national policy on agriculture. The communication media include farm magazine, leaflets, newsletters, newspapers, pamphlets, radio and television, among others (Dare, 1990). Among them, radio is the most preferred tool of mass communication in Nigeria (Zaria and Omenesa, 1992; Omenesa, 1997; Ekumankama, 2000). Radio programmes are usually timely and capable of extending messages to the audience no matter where they may be as long as they have a receiver with adequate supply of power. The absence of such facilities as road, light and water are no hindrance to radio. Similarly, such obstacles as difficult topography, distance, time and socio-political exigencies do not hinder the performance of radio. Other sources of information are radio and TV which also depict value for information dissemination. Similarly, Television (TV) is also a vital electronic medium in this dimension (Bhattacharjee, 2005). The potential of TV for dissemination of information should be harnessed for the benefits of farmers (Nazari and Hassan, 2011).
Radio and TV also provide means for dissemination of interesting and appealing messages (Ramchandani, 2004). Audio and video cassettes display their importance not only as entertainment source but also for information delivery. These are also used as educational media (Hartley and Hayman, 1992). Computer has become a robust tool of this era of technological advancement and internet facility boomed the scope of “edutainment” (Williamson and Smoak, 2005). Internet has transformed this world into global village by reducing the distances of information exchange. Kelsey et. al. (2002) indicated that the development in information technology like internet has enhanced the opportunities of access and training pertinent to critical issues. It also contributes towards information dissemination. E-mail facility and websites have increased the scope of media by expanding the sphere of access (Tawari, 2006). Kenny (2002) pointed out that despite possessing crucial importance, internet technology has been facing various obstacles like networking (infrastructure), language problem, and illiteracy. Khan (2010) also affirmed that lack of computer literacy and lack of interest appeared as major hurdles in using the internet (Khan, 2010). There is also a need to exploit interactive role of internet (Leeuwis, 2004) and internet facility can pave the way for extension activities (Bamka, 2000; Kallioranta et. al., 2006). Moreover, websites should be developed that can cover the appealing sides of a variety of people (High and Jacobson, 2005). Telephone facility has increased the opportunity of getting access to the people living even in remote areas (Gupta, 2005). It contributes towards developing farmers’ linkages with other people including extension experts. Help lines facilitate the mechanism for getting information/assistance regarding people’s problems by using toll free numbers. A sophisticated form of communication also on the scene is the form of mobile phone for the swift exchange of information among the farming community (Malhan and Rao, 2007). Mobile phone technology has provided multi-dimensional benefits to the rural people and it helps in interaction, accessibility, and quick/timely In addition, it’s important in case of urgency and emergency. Agricultural extension/information delivery is precisely a process of communication of improved skills, practices, innovations, technologies and knowledge to farmers. Thus, agricultural extension is a service which helps or assists people, particularly farm families through educational procedures in promoting their farming practices and techniques, increasing their production efficiency and income, bettering their levels of living and lifting their social, economic and educational standards of rural life.
This study seeks to investigate the deadlock by examining the communication patterns involved in the diffusion of agricultural innovations among rural farmers. This perspective was chosen because no innovation ever gets accepted without effective communication from originators to the target adopters. Rogers has observed that "Communication is an important element throughout the social change process; all explanations of human behaviour directly stem from an examination of how individuals acquire and modify ideas through communication with others.
1.3 AIMS OF THE STUDY
The major purpose of this study is to examine the role of mass media in dissemination of agricultural innovation in Nigeria. Other general objectives of the study are:
1. To examine the level of farmers' reliance on various media or dissemination of agricultural innovations.
2. To determine the relative utility and limitations of the media in the dissemination of agricultural innovations.
3. To examine the roles of the modern media in innovation campaigns.
4. To identify the type of mass media in use by the extension workers to reach farmers.
5. To examine the impact of agricultural extension on farmers agricultural production
6. To recommend ways of improving on mass media in dissemination of agricultural innovation in Nigeria
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What are the levels of farmers' reliance on various media or dissemination of agricultural innovations?
2. What are the relative utility and limitations of the media in the dissemination of agricultural innovations?
3. What are the roles of the modern media in innovation campaigns?
4. What are the types of mass media in use by the extension workers to reach farmers?
5. What are the impacts of agricultural extension on farmers agricultural production?
6. What are the ways of improving on mass media in dissemination of agricultural innovation in Nigeria?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H0: There is no effect of mass media in dissemination of agricultural innovations.
H1: There is a significant impact of mass media in dissemination of agricultural innovations.
H0: There is no significant relationship between mass media and dissemination of agricultural innovation.
H1: There is a significant relationship between mass media and dissemination of agricultural innovations.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
It has been ascertained that mass media play an important role in transiting information to large number of audience simultaneously. Yet, Okwu and Obinne (2000) have indentified the main problem of agriculture in Nigeria as that of transfer of new technology information, innovations to farmers and not lack of them parse it is known that mass media haves been making useful contributions to agricultural technology information and adoption. Hence, this study will be useful to policy makers, researchers, agricultural development program(ADP) and other stakeholders in agricultural development agencies. It will also provide information which will be useful in solving the problem posed by farmers.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study is based on the role of mass media in dissemination of agricultural innovation using.
1.8 LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Mass media: Is a diversified collection of media technologies that reach a large audience via mass communication.
Dissemination: The act of spreading or circulating something, especially information widely.
Agriculture: Is the cultivation and breeding of animals, plants and fungi for food, fiber, biofuel, medicinal plants and other products used to sustain and enhance life.
Innovation: It can be defined simply as a "new idea, device or method". It can also be viewed as the application of better solutions that meet new requirements
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