Agricultural Extension Agentsí Awareness Of Ict Potentials And Training Needs On Usage For Improved Extension Service Deliv- Ery In Selected Southwest States Of Nigeria
Keywords: ICT, extension workers, awareness of ICT, training needs, extension service delivery
AbstractThe¬†¬† study¬†¬† examined¬†¬† the¬†¬† agricultural¬†¬† extension¬†¬† workers‚Äô awareness¬†¬† of¬†¬† ICT¬†¬† potentials¬†¬† and¬†¬† training needs on ICT usage for improved extension service delivery in selected southwest states of Nigeria. A multistage sampling technique was used to select a total of 132 extension workers‚Äô from Lagos and Ogun States Agricultural Development¬†¬† Programmes¬†¬† (LADA¬† and OGADEP).¬†¬† A¬† validated¬† and¬† reliable questionnaire was used to obtain primary data on socioeconomic characteristics of the respondents, their awareness of ICT potentials and training needs on ICT usage for improved extension services
delivery. Data collected were analysed using frequency counts, percentages and chi-square statistics. Result of the analysis showed that most of the respondents were the Village Extension Agents (78.8 %,), and about 34.1% of them were within the age range of 41 and 45years. About 72.7% the exten- sion agents had first degree (HND/BSc) as the least educational qualification and about 57.6% of them have spent between 11 and 20 years in the extension services. The result also showed that all the extension agents were familiar with the Global System Mobile communication (GSM), 58.3% with the computer and 38.6% of them with the internet. About 43.2% of the extension workers were moderately aware of the ICT potentials for improved extension service delivery based on their mean awareness score of 8.5 (53.1%). The chi-square test of the relationship between the extension workers‚Äô socioeco- nomic characteristics (education: Ōá¬≤ = 45.5,¬† df = 12; professional rank: Ōá¬≤ = 38.7,¬† df = 9; working ex- perience Ōá¬≤ = 65.2, df = 12) and level of awareness of the ICT potentials showed a significant relation- ship at p < 0.05. Similarly, a significant relationship was observed between the extension agents‚Äô level of awareness of ICT potentials and their needs for training on usage for improved extension service delivery (Ōá¬≤ = 71.3, df = 18) at p < 0.05. In the light of this, it was concluded that the extension workers had moderate level awareness of ICT potentials for improved extension services and were in need of training on usage in their extension activities. It was recommended that education on ICT potentials
and¬†¬† training on¬† usage for improved¬† extension service delivery¬†¬† should¬†¬† be promoted and intensified
among the extension workers.