Agro-Research and Extension Personnel’s Knowledge of ICT Applications for Agricultural Development in Southwest-Nigeria

Agro-Research and Extension Personnel’s Knowledge of ICT Applications for Agricultural Development in Southwest-Nigeria

O.A. Lawal-Adebowale (Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Nigeria) and A.M. Omotayo (Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Nigeria)
DOI: 10.4018/jictrda.2012010104
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Abstract

ICT integration in agriculture is changing the tempo of the sector globally. Successful application of ICT for agricultural development however depends on the agricultural workers’ knowledge of the information-driven technologies applications. Assessment of the Nigerian agricultural researchers and extension agents’ knowledge of the ICT applications showed that 92.9% of the researchers and 51.6% of the extension agents had knowledge of the ICT applications. The chi-square analytical test showed that the agricultural researchers’ knowledge of ICT applications was significantly related to their level of education (x2 = 52.33, p = 0.017), work experience (x2 = 26.37, p = 0.04), IT training (x2= 26.19, p = 0.036) at p < 0.05 level. The extension agents’ knowledge of ICT utilities was significantly related to their education (x2 = 47.39, p = 0.047) at p < 0.05 levels. T-test of difference between the researchers and extension agents’ knowledge of ICT applications was found significant. It was concluded that the respondents’ knowledge of the ICT applications was influenced by their level of education; and was recommended that the agricultural researchers and extension agents should train anytime the organisational ICT devices are scaled up for new applications in agriculture.
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Introduction

Development of agriculture, though largely depends on a number of interactive factors, the roles of agricultural researchers and extension agents remain fundamental to making agriculture amenable to a given agro-climatic environment. For instance, the researchers bring about research-based technologies with which the farmers can improve their farm productivity; the extension agencies on the other hand educate the farmers on efficient utilisation of the disseminated technologies. Successful attainment of the agricultural researchers and extension agents’ respective goals of technology development and dissemination however depend, not only on the essential and functional working tools or equipment that may be available to them in their respective agricultural organisations, but also on their operational competence of such production equipment. Although, the required production tools for agricultural research and extension service delivery differ, the use of information and communication technology (ICT) has become a common denominator in both research and extension organisations for various agricultural activities.

ICT, which entails electronic devices by which the gathering, deposition, processing, retrieval, display, dissemination and exchange of information can be facilitated (Food and Agriculture Organisation - FAO, 1993; Warren, 2002; Lawal-Adebowale, 2009), are available in both complex and simple forms. The complex ones include the satellite, computer, Internet, Geographical Information Systems (GIS), Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and remote sensing. The simple ICT devices include the radio, television, telephone, camera and audio and video recorder/player (Omotayo, 2005; Arokoyo, 2006). Based on the dynamics and utilities of the ICT devices, all have had extensive application in the agricultural system (Kouno, Ninomiya, Machida, & Moriizumi, 1998; Kouno, Roy, Machida, Moriizumi, & Ninomiya, 2000). For instance, computers have had suitable applications in agriculture for rudimentary farm office activities such as accounting and financial information management, bookkeeping and enterprise recording, payroll and budgeting, farm automation, decision support systems, production monitoring and control, information management and dissemination (Moverley, 1987; FAO, 1993). With further development in computer applications, utility software such as spreadsheet, databases and graphic programmes; and special management programmes such as “dataplan,” “flockdata,” “farmtrack,” “cropman,” etc., have allowed for efficient management of farms and farm production enterprises in terms of budgeting, stock control, rationing, pedigree recording and breed selection, and investment appraisal (Moverley, 1987).

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