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Doing agricultural communication from the top-down approach has been identified as one of the challenges to sustainable agricultural productivity and development in Africa and in Nigeria especially by international development agencies and national research institutes. In Nigeria, the foremost agricultural extension research institute is the National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. This institute uses numerous communication strategies and toll to carry out it extension mandates. One of the tools of communication used by NAERLS is photography. Photography is fundamental to the operation of the Institute‘ mandates. This thesis appraises the use of photography as a research and communication tool by the National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services (NAERLS) for its research and information dissemination functions. The study did that by paying critical attention to how NAERLS currently uses photography for research and communication of innovations, best practices and approaches. The critical attention to the use of photography by NAERLS helped the researcher to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the current system. Through the use of both qualitative and quantitative research methods and tools, this study discovered that NAERLS has been using photography in a top-down manner by placing the camera with the extension specialists and researchers to capture activities in research and development programmes. The pictures so captured are used as support materials in programme reports. This system has produced results in the number of projects implemented and farmers‘ adoption of innovations and best practices. The current system has not afforded the farmers the opportunity to contribute to agricultural information from their own perspective through the use of photo camera to capture indigenous experiences. Thus, agricultural development programmes are not producing results in the sustainable manner they are supposed to partly because the farmers are not empowered to own part of the information that influences the design and implementation of agricultural development programmes in their communities. The Narrative Transportation Theory (NTT) and the Participatory Communication Theory (PCT) were deployed to underpin this study. Four data collection instruments, i.e. the Questionnaire, the Focus Group Discussion, the Key Informant Interview and the Documentary Observation methods were used to elicit responses from the farmers and NAERLS staff. One hundred and thirty participants (80 NAERLS staff members and 50 farmers) were engaged in this study. In this study, based on the findings, the researcher argued for the institutionalization of participatory photography (photo-voice) to empower the farmers to use the photo camera to take pictures and use them to tell their development stories in order to engender sustainable productivity and change. Participatory photography involves local people taking pictures and then critically interacting with change agents like NAERLS or the government for the enthronement of favourable development policies in agriculture. The end purpose of this is to empower the farmers and engender sustainable solutions to agricultural development challenges.
1.0 Background to the Study
Nigeria is a country with a distorted but intriguing history of agricultural
development. According to Adesina (2013a), agriculture accounts for 44% of the Gross
Domestic Product (GDP) and 70% of the employment in Nigeria. This important sector
has always been treated as a pure [economic] development activity; that is probably why
it has not generated sustainable wealth for farmers at the potential it should. Only 40% of
Nigeria‘s land, as at 2013 was utilized for agricultural activities. Ironically, the country is
potentially blessed with large labour pool and very low wage rates [which should
translate to abundant manpower] to farm more land area. This is because many Nigerian
farm holdings are still small and there are hundreds of unemployed people who work as
labourers on farm lands. They are usually paid daily or weekly wages; and most of the
time, the negotiating power of the parties determines the amount of wages earned or paid.
The importance of agriculture to national development is why the Federal
Government advocates for more farmers‘ involv
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