Academic journal article Journal of Development Communication

The Use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTS) by Agricultural Researchers in Edo State, Nigeria

Academic journal article Journal of Development Communication

The Use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTS) by Agricultural Researchers in Edo State, Nigeria

Article excerpt

Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) has been broadly viewed as those technologies that facilitates the communication process and enhances the processing and transmission of information by electronic means (CTA, 2003). Omotayo (2005) also posited that ICTs includes a wide range of media from radio and television to telephones (fixed and mobile), computers and the internet. This term is also used to denote a wide range of service application and technologies using various types of equipment and software, often running over telecom networks (Brussel, 2001). ICTs have revolutionised information dissemination worldwide with an individual not been limited by factors such as distance, time factor, culture or language of people. This has increased the amount and quality of information that one can have access to irrespective of ones location worldwide. ICTs especially the modern ones such as computers and internet have been noted to have considerable potentials to facilitate the flow of information in every organisation (Hedjazi et al, 2006). IDB (2003) while agreeing with this view noted that physical borders dissipate with ICTs as information flows freely through the digital medium, which is less controlled as compared to other existing mass media.

Furthermore, other inherent benefits of ICTs for agricultural and rural development as espoused by Koutsoursis (2006) include: the ability to reach areas that are not easily accessible, access to regular and reliable information, enhance education through distant learning, and faster delivery of information on technical assistance.

The use of ICTs has witnessed an upsurge in recent years in most urban areas of several African countries despite the problems of access, connectivity, literacy content and costs (CTA, 2003); however, the usage of this mode of information dissemination is still very limited in the most rural areas in sub-Sahara Africa due to these aforementioned reasons.

Information is a sine-qua-non in order to have a change in the behaviour of human-beings which eventually results in social change. The dissemination of information is essential in bringing about a change or improvement in agricultural production and economic emancipation of farmers and this may only be achieved when they have accurate information that would enable them make informed decisions. The flow of relevant and vital information among different agricultural practitioners is important in diagnosing and proffering laudable solutions to the myriads of problems confronting these farmers.

This becomes more pertinent in a country like Nigeria where the nation's agricultural technology development and dissemination have not been efficient enough to boost agricultural productivity in reducing poverty levels (Akinbile, 2007). Furthermore, the level of contribution to agricultural development by agricultural researchers has been greatly limited due to the lack of access to electronic technology and the ineffective use of libraries (Adetunji et al, 2002). Furthermore, the agricultural research information system is characterised by very few avenue for reporting research findings (Aina, 1990) and agricultural researchers have limited access to agricultural libraries and documentation centres (Aina, 1995). With the current availability of many ICTs, in developing countries, according to Omotayo (2005), there are still some limitations to the use of ICTs. Therefore ascertaining the level of usage of ICTs by agricultural researchers will provide empirical evidence to solve imminent problems to the use of ICTs.

Objectives of the Study

Sequel to the foregoing, the general objective of this study was to ascertain the use of ICTs by agricultural researchers in tertiary and research institutes in Edo state of Nigeria.

The specific objectives were to:

1. ascertain the personal characteristics of agricultural researchers in the study area

2. …

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