ICT in Agricultural Development: Its Diffusion and Adoption Pattern in Nigeria’s Agricultural System

ICT in Agricultural Development: Its Diffusion and Adoption Pattern in Nigeria’s Agricultural System

O. A. Lawal-Adebowale (University of Agriculture, Nigeria)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2655-3.ch006

Abstract

The transformational role of ICT in the social and economic spheres of man engendered development of the communication technology in Nigeria. Based on the telecom deregulation policy of the Nigerian Government in 2001, the country witnessed an upsurge of private investment in ICT development and its consequential ICT revolution. An empirical survey of diffusion and adoption pattern of ICT in the Nigerian agricultural system showed that mobile phone constitutes the most widely adopted ICT device by the agricultural researchers, extension agents, and rural farmers. In addition to this was computer and internet adoption by the researchers and radio transistors by the rural farmers. All eight agricultural research organisations and four extension agencies surveyed had electronic mail addresses and telephone lines for information exchanges. Six of the agricultural organisations - CRIN, FRIN, NIHORT, IAR&T, NIOMR, and NAERLS, and one of the extension agencies – LSADA, had organisational websites for hoisting generated agricultural information. Based on rural farmers’ access to radio, and to some extent television, the research and extension organisations aired agricultural programmes on these electronic media for the farmers. ICT usage in the Nigerian agricultural system is however challenged by less development and exploration of communication technologies, poor electric power supply, and poor human operational skills development for effective utilisation of the information-driven technologies. This situation thus necessitates the need for pro-agriculture ICT development and human capacity for effective utilisation in the Nigerian agricultural system.
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Information And Communication Technology Development In Nigeria

Following the deregulation of the telecommunication sector about a decade ago in Nigeria, the country has witnessed an increasing growth in ICT development and usage among its citizenry. According to the telecommunication regulating body in Nigeria, the National Communication Commission – NCC (2012), the upsurge in mobile telephone usage in the country stood at 105.2 million, with teledensity of 75.2 as at August 2012. This position overwhelmingly outweighs the teledensity of 0.73 at which the country was before 2001. The increased teledensity was brought about by the privatisation of the telecom sector which gave room for private investment in the sector and consequent transformation of telephony communication in the country.

The same deregulation policy prompted private investment in internet development in the country. As at 2001, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) indicated that about 723 internet hosts were available in Nigeria, constituting about 0.3% of the total internet hosts available in Africa. With private sector participation in the Nigerian ICT development, there exist about 20 Internet Service Providers (ISP) in the country (Jidaw System Limited, online). According to the National Policy on Telecommunication – NPT (2010), the country has internet backbone with an initial capacity of 5, 500 ports, out of which 3000 ports serves as the main point of presence (POP) in Lagos State and 1000ports in Abuja. In addition, Kaduna, Bauchi and Enugu have 500 ports. All the POPs are interconnected by a 2Mb/s digital transmission link.

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