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1.1 BACKGROUND INFORMATION
According to the business dictionary, information is defined as a “Data that has been verified to be accurate and timely. It is specific organized for a purpose and presented within a context that gives its meaning and relevance which can lead to an increase in understanding and decrease in uncertainty. Reits (2010) defines information that when experienced at the conscious level as a question, gives rise to a search for an answer, information is a fact and knowledge needed to answer some questions faced by people in their daily life.
The world Encyclopedia defines information is any kind of event that affects the state of a dynamic system. The valve of information lies solely on its ability to affect a behaviour, decision or outcome. A piece of information is considered valueless, if after receiving it, and things remain unchanged. Agriculture play an essential role in everyday human activities ranging from the provision of primary needs like food, clothing and shelter to secondary needs like construction, manufacturing etc. while much of the world is still stuck in subsistence agriculture majorly in remote part of the country, a little proportion of agriculture is just being practiced under the light of civilization and mode4rnization. That is to say farmers in the remote part of the country need to be constantly fed with information, idea, knowledge and skills developed from the Research Institute for better Farming Practice and eventual increase in yield. Information might be inform of new technology like storage facilities, better farming system like mechanization, access to credit facilities etc. for Agricultural information to be effective, after the information has been conveyed from the door, i.e. ministry of agriculture and the subordinate like research institute, Agricultural Development Project (ADP) etc to the receiver to the donor of the information must be accomplished.
Agricultural information tends to connect the Ministry of Agriculture and the farmers. It can be represented in a Venn diagram below.
Also, Agricultural Information tend to connect the different departments of agriculture be elaborating on how judiciously individual department by products can be utilize by another department another, example, Nigerian is naturally fixed to the soil by some legumes like Callopogonuim Mucunoide, which will eventually increase the nutritive valve of livestock that feed on them while the excreta of the livestock is used to manure for crops to increase their yield. It can be represented sectionally as below.
The means of transporting agriculture may be through extension agents or through mass media. Media transit their information electronically with television, film, radio, movies, CDs, DVDs and some other gadgets like cameras or video consoles. Alternative print media uses a physical object as a means of sending their information such as newspaper, magazines, Brochures, Newsletters, books, leaf lets and pamphlets. Outdoor media is also a form of mass media which comprises billboards, signs, placards, placed inside and outside of commercial buildings like shops/buses, public speaking and event, organizing e.g. demonstration are also considered as mass media.
Mass media have been acclaimed to be a very effective medium for diffusing the scientific knowledge, innovation and technology to the masses in a country like Nigeria precisely Edo State where farmers literacy level is low. The choice of communication medium is of vital importance. Radio for example, because of its low cost and affordability by virtually all classes of income earners, it can transfer modern agricultural technology to both literate and illiterate farmers even in interior could serve as a suitable medium of disseminating information and latest technical know-how. The farmers can easily understand the operations technology and instruction through television. The print media widened the scope of communication. It is cheap and farmers can afford to buy and read them at their convenience. It is a permanent medium in that the message are imprinted permanently with high storage value which makes them suitable for reference and research.
Cassava as the name implies is one of the staple foods consumed locally by the people of Edo State (Nigeria). Recently, the Federal Government has decided to increase the rate of cassava farmers so as to be able to produce food for the masses.
Also the federal government launched an initiative aimed at consolidating Nigeria’s position as the largest producer of cassava in the whole world. In addition to what was included as part of the package is a research into some possible industrial linkage that would lead to making the cassava a key export product in no distant future.
Cassava is presently used in the production of garri, industrial starch; alcohol, fufu and animal feeds cassava flour can also be gotten from cassava. This is one product that is found throughout the state and would support all sizes of investors. Investors are assured of relatively cheap and staple source of raw materials in Edo State. Opportunities also exist for large scale farming of cassava.
The production of cassava is concentrated in the hands of numerous small holders farmers located primarily in south-south state which include Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta Edo and Rivers. These farmers use manual processing techniques in the processing of cassava. Cassava can be interplant with maize plantain etc. cassava can get matured within six month of cultivation and ready for harvest.
Plantain (Musa Spp) occupies a strategic position for rapid food production in Nigeria. It is ranked among starchy food/staples. The consumption of plantain has risen tremendously in Nigeria. In recent years, because of the rapidly increasing urbanization and the great demand for easy and convenient foods by the non-farming urban populations. Besides, being the staple for many people in more humid regions, plantain is a delicacy and favoured snack for people. A growing industry, mainly plantain chips, is believed to be responsible for the high demand being experienced now in Nigeria. Plantain production in Nigeria has witnessed a steady risk for more than 20 years. As at (2004) Nigeria produce 2.10 million tons harvested from 389,000 hectare production (A.O 2006). Plantain is a majorly source of carbohydrate for more than 50 million Nigerians. In the country, all stages of fruit from immature to overripe are used as a source of food in one form or the other. The immature fruits are peeled, sliced, and made into powder and consumed as plantain fufu. The mature fruits (ripe or unripe) are consumed boiled, steamed, batch, pounded, roasted, or sliced into drips, overripe fruit serve as composite in the making of baby food (Babena and Sogamusa), bread, biscuit and others (Ogazi 1996, Akyyeampong 1999).
The fruits are produced all years round, the major harvest comes in the try season (November to February) when most other starchy product or staples are unavailable or difficult role in the bridging the gap hunger (Wilson 1986). In Nigeria, plantain peels are used as feed for livestock, while the dried peels are used for soap production. The dried peels are used for soap production. The dried leaves sheath and petioles are used as tying materials sponges and roofing materials.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
In Nigeria, the important of cassava and plantain industry cannot be underrated based on the vital role they play in human nutrition, source of employment and income generation at large international potash institution (1957) identified the principal product of cassava to be fain. The three main products gotten from cassava after being processed include garri, flour and fufu. The use of these products which may be locally for consumption by human and livestock or industrially used as raw materials, while plantain a major source of carbohydrate for more than 50 million Nigerians (Ogazi 1996). The ripe plantain is also a major source of iron and also a delicacy for diabetic patient.
However, cassava and plantain farmers are faced with some problems which include.
a. Land tenure system problem.
b. Fund problems.
c. Problem of improved planting materials and pest disease.
The agricultural role of mass media in disseminating agricultural information, innovation and idea in the study areas has never been recognized despite the fact that researchers are still trying to bridge the gap between the research stations and these rural farmers (cassava and plantain farmers). This has consequently marginalized agriculture and farming family which resulted to low productivity in spite of the efforts of the mass media in communicating agricultural information to the farmers.
Therefore this research attempts to address some of the following research question.
· Do socio-economic characteristics of the farmers have any influence on the sources of information through mass media?
· What are the available mass media that have been used to communicate extension delivery services to the cassava and plantain farmers?
· What are the problems cassava and plantain farmers face in accessing the mass media sources.
· What are the factors that constrain respondents from using mass media?
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The general objective of the study is to examine the role of mass media in disseminating agricultural information to cassava and plantain farmers in Edo State while the specific objectives are to:-
· Examine the social- economic characteristics of cassava and plantain farmers
· Examine the farmers accessibility to mass media
· Ascertain mass media type through which respondents sought agricultural information.
· Ascertain respondents perceived role of mass media as information source
· Examine factors that constrain respondents use of mass media as information source.
· Identify the problems limiting farmers from cultivating cassava and plantain.
1.4 SCOPE OF STUDY
The scope the study is limited to Ovia North East Local Government Area only
There is no significant relationship between respondent’s access to mass media and their perception of relevance of mass media as information source.
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 perse it is known that mass media haves been making useful contributions to agricultural technology information and innovat6ion adoption. This study seeks to establish the clear5 existence of utilization by both cassava and plantain farmers in Edo Ovia North East Local Government Area Edo State
Hence, the recommendation from this study will be useful to policy makers, researchers, ADP and other stakeholders in agricultural development agencies. This study will provide information which will be useful in solving the problem posed by cassava and plantain farmers.
1.7 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Due to economic level of the state the cost of transportation was on the high side which posed on hindrance on reaching virtually all the farmers of cassava and plantain producer.
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