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CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION 1.1 Background to the Study Agriculture is important to the Nigerian economy as it engages about 70% of the labour force and contributes 32% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP); small farms produce 80% of the total crops (Nigeria forum, 2014). However the sector is faced with a lot of problems which makes it difficult to optimise its potentials. Some of the problems include poor marketing and distribution infrastructure, inadequate access to credit, and weak extension services. In an attempt to ameliorate the constraints, the Government established Agricultural Development Projects (ADPs). In 1975 Kaduna Agricultural Development Project was established to perform extension function under the Ministry of Agriculture. Effective extension involves adequate and timely access by farmers to relevant information, with appropriate incentives, to adopt a new technology if it suits their socio-economic and agro-ecological circumstances. Public extension is one of the sources of information, but not necessarily the most efficient (Anderson et al., 2003). It is widely accepted that extension services are important elements in farming but poor and marginalized farmers in remote villages remain beyond the reach of appropriate extension services.
Extension service in agriculture is indispensable and it offers more than just expert assistance in improvement of production and processing, but also enables flow of information and transfer of knowledge and scientific findings into practice. These activities are performed according to rules which regulate the establishment of
organization, functioning, goals and fields of operation, their obligations and rights. The response of farmers to extension service delivery has not received adequate attention; the focus has been more on research and extension. The public sector programmes are constrained by many factors including lack of transportation, communication and poor skills of service providers. This situation could lead to poor extension service delivery to the farmers that in turn affect their perception on the services they receive. It is an established fact that agricultural production, as currently practiced under traditional methods, has not been able to sustain Nigeria. The effort of government in information dissemination to ginger farmers is appreciable, but farmers’ adoption of innovations remains low and their perception and feedbacks to the extension services have not received adequate attention. Farmers’ acceptance, rejection, compatibility, relevance of the services that are provided by the extension organization (ADP) require a thorough assessment to find out the level of their reactions with regards to farmers’ satisfaction with the extension services that are been delivered to them in the study area. Ginger (Zingiberofficinale) is a rhizome, which consist of numerous short finger-like structures or branches born horizontally near the surface of the soil. Two commercial varieties are commonly cultivated in Nigeria. The yellow ginger variety locally called “TafinGiwa” is stout with short internodes. The black ginger variety locally called “YatsunBiri” has a dull-grey colour rhizome. The yellow variety is more popular than the black variety apparently due to its high yielding capacity and pungency.
Ginger is produced in several parts of Nigeria particularly in the Guinea Savanna Zone (southern part of Kaduna State) and to a little extent in Keffi and Akwanga Local Government Areas of Nasarawa State (Dauda and Waziri, 2006). Ginger offers a substantial protection from stroke and heart attack because of its ability to prevent blood clotting and a multifaceted herb, crucial in the battle against cardiovascular diseases such as bowels and kidney diseases, respiratory system, colds and flu, headache, pains, stomach upsets and as well helps to clear sore throats. 1.2 Problem Statement The level of adoption of technologies by farmers should not always be used in measuring the success or failure of extension delivery because the effectiveness and efficiency of extension delivery mechanism is to a large extent responsible for success or failure of extension programmes. Agbarevo, (2013). Farmers are often blamed for not responding to extension delivery programmes without considering the effectiveness and efficiency which the services are delivered. Although studies have been carried out on extension service delivery for agricultural production and marketing of ginger (Asumgha, 2002), farmers’ feedbacks have not received appropriate attention, with respect to quality of services delivered, in terms of content, timeliness of input supply and farmers’ demand for the services and their level of involvement in extension activities.
It has been observed that farmers are resistant to adoption of innovation in the area, this could be attributed to high cost and late supply of inputs such as fertilizer. Moreover, the low extension activities in the area, inadequate and irregular extension visits as well
as low market prices, remain threats to ginger production, Adegboye, (2010). The low yield of 25-30tonne/ha as against a potential of 70-80tonne/ha in the area is not encouraging. This may be an indication that farmers are not fully benefiting from the production innovations that are passed through the KADP. (Shehu et al., 2013). The yield can be improved if the farmers’ response to agricultural extension service delivery is adequately assessed and incorporated into the adoption and diffusion process of the ADPs and the identified constraints ameliorated. This necessitated the conduct of this study to assess the response of farmers to the extension service delivery in the area. In doing this, the following research questions were raised:
i. What are the socio-economic characteristics of the ginger farmers in the study area?
ii. What are the farmers’ responses to agricultural extension service delivery on ginger production?
iii. What are the socio-economic characteristics affecting ginger farmers’ response to extension services?
iv. What are the effects of farmers’ response to extension service delivery on ginger production
v. What are the constraints faced by ginger farmers in accessing the extension services that are provided by KADP?
1.3 Objectives of the Study The broad objective of the study was to examine the farmers’ response to agricultural extension service delivery on ginger production in Kaduna state. The specific objectives were to;
i. describe the socio-economic characteristics of ginger farmers in the study area
ii. assess farmers’ responses to agricultural extension service delivery,
iii. examine the socio-economic characteristics affecting ginger farmers’ response to extension services,
iv. determine the effects of extension service delivery on the output of ginger farmers and
v. identify the constraints faced by ginger farmers on extension services delivered by the KADP.
1.4 Justification of the study The result of the study will provide the KADP an in-depth understanding of extension service needs of ginger farmers. It is also envisaged that the results of the study will contribute in the design of appropriate extension policies and programmes for ginger farmers to enhance their productive capacity hence their standard of living. The result of the study will also add to the body of knowledge through paper presentation and publications. In addition, it will help the extension organization (KADP) to apply the appropriate strategy for effective extension service delivery.