Thesis and Dissertation for the Department of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development


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    Agricultural productions as well as farmers’ productivity anywhere in the world are largely dependent on a functional agricultural extension service. However, the agricultural extension agencies in Nigeria are faced by a number of problems including poor training of extension personnel which consequently makes extension service delivery to be rather ineffective. This study therefore determined the competency needs of Extension Agents (EAs) for effective job performance in the South Eastern Nigeria. The objectives were to: (i) describe the socio-economic characteristics of agricultural extension agents; (ii) investigate the level of competencies of extension agents; (iii) determine the effective educational delivery method to develop competencies; (iv) determine the level of job performance of extension agents; and (v) identify the constraints to the acquisition of needed competencies by the EAs. A simple random sampling procedure was used to select 70% of the total numbers of EAs (442) from each state to give a total sample size of 308 respondents. However, 283 copies of the questionnaire were found suitable for use in the analysis. Data were collected through a structured questionnaire; a self rating scale was used to rate competency levels of extension agents while respondent’s job performance levels were rated by their immediate supervisors. Data were analyzed using frequency counts, percentages, mean ratings, and standard deviations. Multiple Linear Regression Analysis was used to determine relationship between competencies of extension agents on job performance. The findings of the study were that: majority of the respondents were married (83.4%), 46.3% were within the age bracket of 41-50 years of age, female (53.7%), all literate (100%); respondents possessed high level of competency in programme planning(¯x=3.59), teaching/communication(¯x=3.56), evaluation(¯x=3.55), leadership(¯x=3.43) human relations competency (¯x=3.38), and technical/subject matter expertise competency (¯x=3.48) but low in computer knowledge and skills (¯x=1.63); training workshops in small groups (49.8%), large groups (30.9%), and printed and electronic learning materials (12.3%) were the most effective educational delivery methods to acquire desired competencies; majority of the respondents (66.8%) had moderate level of job performance, 22.2% had high level, while 11.0% had low level; lack of funding (¯x=4.05) was identified as the most important constraint for acquiring competencies, while lack of credible information (¯x=3.38) was the least; and result of Multiple Linear Regression Analysis showed that: subject matter/technical expertise (t =1.963, p = 0.045), programme evaluation (t =9.232, p = 0.001), and computer knowledge and skills (t =2.058, p = 0.041) had significant effect for effective job performance, while programme planning (t=.926, p=.355) and teaching methods (t= 1.769, p=.078) were not significant. The study concluded that subject matter/technical expertise, computer knowledge and skills, and program evaluation were competency needs for effective job performance of EAs. Other areas of competency such as programme planning and teaching methods were not highly required. The study therefore recommended that training for extension agents in the study area should focus on, subject matter/technical expertise, computer knowledge and skills, and programme evaluation competencies.
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    Effect of Farmer Field School Training on Cowpea Production among Small Scale Farmers in Kebbi State, Nigeria
    Nigeria being considered as the largest producer of cowpea in the world, still has the majority of small- scale cowpea farmers producing below the expected yield per hectare. Relevant agricultural training for these small-scale farmers on new technologies and management practices using group-based approach like Farmer Field School (FFS), may assist in improving the farmers’ level of production. The study therefore, assessed the effect of farmer field school training on cowpea production among small-scale farmers in Kebbi State, Nigeria. The objectives were to: (i) examine the socio-economic characteristics of the farmers; (ii) examine participants perception of the relevance of FFS training;(iii) determine the factors influencing small-scale farmers participation in FFS training; (iv) determine the effect of FFS training on cowpea production on FFS and non-FFS participants; (v) examine economic status of FFS and non-FFS participants vi compare the income of FFS and non-participants (vii) identify the constraints faced by FFS farmers. A four-stage sampling technique was used to select 288 respondents. First stage involved a purposive selection from the list of FFS sites in each agro-ecological zone. Second stage involved a random selection of 1 local government area in each zone selected. Third stage involved random selection of 4 FFS participating communities. Fourth stage involved random selection of 30% of cowpea farmers (480) to give sample size of 144 participants. Same procedure was used to select 144 non-FFS participants. Data were collected using questionnaire, while descriptive statistics and probit regression were employed for analysis. The finding of the study were that: majority of the participants were male (81.9%), married (77.8%), mean age (41years, farming experience (18.5years), and average farm size (1.6/hectares). Similarly, majority of the non-participants were male (81.2%), married (79.2%), mean age (44.8years), farming experience (15.3 years) and average farm size (1.30/hectares); the participants perceived training received on cowpea production as relevant-land preparation techniques(X ̅_w=3.59),recommended spacing (X ̅_w=3.50), time of planting and method of pests and diseases control ( X ̅_w=3.39). the variables that significantly influenced participation in the training were age (p<0.05), household size (p<0.10), extension contact (p<0.01), credit access (p<0.0.05), farm size (p<0.01), cowpea farm size (p<0.01) and cooperative membership (p<0.01); the training increased the yield of participants by 100.50kg/hectare above their counterparts. higher proportion (47.2%) of the participants were in middle economic status while half (50.0%) of the non-participants were in low economic status; the mean income of the participants (N 180,277.78) was significantly higher than that of non-participants (p<0.05) and the major constraints experienced by the participants in the programme were inadequate capital (X ̅_w=3.47) and higher cost of (X ̅_w=3.54). The study concluded that FFS training had significant effect on the participants’ cowpea yields, on-farm income and common items of economic value. The study therefore recommended that FFS programme should be extended to non-participating LGAs in Kebbi State, this will help in attaining self-sufficiency in cowpea production in the state and Nigeria in general.
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    Globally, entrepreneurship skills development is regarded as one of the sustainable ways out of poverty. Hence, agriculture experts have expressed the need for more empirical studies in agricultural entrepreneurship as a necessity for effective agricultural extension policy process that will translate to improved agricultural production enterprises and sustainable livelihood of rural dwellers. Yam farming is widely practiced for livelihood in Ekiti State, therefore this study examined the impact of yam entrepreneurial activities on livelihood of farmers in Ekiti State, Nigeria. The objectives were to: (i) describe the socio-economic characteristics of yam farmers; (ii) examine the yam entrepreneurial activities of the farmers; (iii) assess the perceived level of influence of yam entrepreneurial activities on access to livelihood assets of farmers; (iv) investigate the knowledge level of yam entrepreneurial skills of farmers; (v) examine the capacity building needs of farmers on yam entrepreneurial skills; and (vi) identify the constraints to yam entrepreneurial activities of farmers. A two-stage random sampling technique was used to select 640 respondents from the list of contact yam farmers from Ekiti State Agricultural Development Programme (ADP). Ekiti State ADP consists of 16 blocks. First stage involved a random selection of 2 farming communities from each block. Second stage involved a random selection of 20 yam farmers from selected communities making a total sample size of 640. Data were collected through interview schedule. Only 580 of the instrument were retrieved and analysed with both descriptive and inferential statistics including frequency counts and Multiple Regression Analysis at 0.05 level of significance. The findings of the study were that: majority of the respondents (72.8%) were male, 67.5% literates with mean of 30 years of farming experience and average farm net income of N3,738,650 per season; yam entrepreneurial activities of respondents were marketing (73.8%), transporting (56.3%) and processing (47.8%); about 98.8% of the respondents had positive attitude towards yam entrepreneurial activities and it was perceived to have medium level of influence on access to livelihood assets (grand mean= 0.44); majority (62.6%) of the respondents had low knowledge level of yam entrepreneurial skills; capacity building skills were needed in identifying market opportunities of yam enterprises (X ̅=2.66), sourcing for machinery (X ̅=1.85), sourcing for fund (X ̅=1.75), record keeping (X ̅=2.44), planning of tasks (X ̅=2.26), risk management (X ̅=1.22), and communication and negotiation skills (X ̅=2.36); constraints to yam entrepreneurial activities include destruction of yam farms by cattle/herdsmen (X ̅=1.45), unstable pricing of yam (X ̅=1.14), and frequent illness (X ̅=1.13); and participation in yam entrepreneurial activities identified had positive significant (p < 0.05) impact to respondents’ livelihood. The study concluded that yam entrepreneurial activities had played significant role in accessing livelihood assets among farmers in Ekiti State. It is therefore recommended that extension agents should train yam farmers in the needed areas of entrepreneurial skills such as marketing, sourcing for machinery and risk management.
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    Pesticides are widely used for the control of pests and diseases of vegetables in Nigeria but majority of the farmers are not adequately informed on the hazards associated with these chemicals. This study therefore examined pesticide usage and perceived health status of vegetable farmers in Kwara State, Nigeria. The specific objectives were to: (i) describe the socio-economic characteristics of vegetable farmers; (ii) identify the types of pesticides used by vegetable farmers; (iii) investigate the use of safety practices during the application of pesticides among vegetable farmers; (iv) examine the perceived health status of vegetable farmers; (v) identify capacity building needs of vegetable farmers on safety practices for pesticide use; and (vi) examine the constraints to safety practices employed by vegetable farmers in the study area. A three-stage sampling technique was used to select 532 registered members of Vegetable Farmers’ Group of the Kwara State Agricultural Development Project (KWADP). The first stage involved purposive selection of 11 major vegetable producing Local Government Areas in three zones of KWADP. The second stage involved a selection of 27 communities across the 11 LGAs. The third stage was a random selection of 50% members of the group in the communities. Interview schedule was used to elicit information. However, response rate was 85% (455). Data collected were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics such as Multiple and Multinomial Regression analyses at 5% level of significance. The findings of the study were that: majority of the farmers (95.6%) grow vegetable on a small scale (X ̅=0.4 ha) with mean annual income of N101,648.90 per hectare; types of pesticides commonly used by respondents were Cypermethrin (90.5%), Atrazin (87.5%) and Paraquat Dichloride (63.1%); knowledge level (X ̅=2.43) and usage of safety practices (X ̅=1.7) for pesticide handling and application were low; main ill health symptoms experienced during pesticide use were conjunctivitis (red eye) (65.3%) cough (61.1%) and running nose (34.4%); majority (84%) of the farmers perceived their health status as good; capacity building on safety practices was needed for reading instructional manual (X ̅=8.68) and compliance with recommended dosage (X ̅=9.01); constraints to usage of safety practices during pesticide application include poor finance (X ̅=3.77), illiteracy (X ̅=3.63) and inadequate information on pesticide dosage (X ̅=3.60); and perceived health status measured was significantly influenced by the usage of safety practices such as compliance with dosage recommendation (p=0.001), reading instruction manual (p=0.093) and avoiding re-use of pesticide container (p=0.001). The type of pesticide used was significantly related to the occurrence of running nose (t=3.157; p=0.002), conjunctivitis (t=5.66; p=0.001) and cough (t=2.224; p=0.027). In conclusion, contrary to the perceived good health status among vegetable farmers using pesticides, majority experienced conjunctivitis (red eye) and cough as a form of ill health that were significantly associated with the use of pesticides in Kwara State, Nigeria. It is therefore, recommended that vegetable farmers should be well informed and trained on the importance of safety practices of pesticide use.