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Community Radio in Promoting Agricultural Growth and Development in Rural Areas

Assessment of the Use of Community Radio in Promoting Agricultural Growth and Development in Rural Areas

ABSTRACT

This research work was carried out to assess the use of community radio in promoting agricultural growth and development in rural areas using Ebiem-Ekpaomaka community in Ikwo Local Government Area of Ebonyi State as a case study. The use of community radio in promoting agricultural growth was investigated among three hundred and ninety (390) respondents that were randomly selected in five (5) hamlets through the use of Taro-Yamane formula. The researcher used survey research method in the work. The questionnaire contained both closed and open-ended questions that were used to elicit responses from the respondents. The objectives of the work were to examine the attitude of Ebiem-Ekpaomaka farmers towards the agricultural radio program ‘ka anyi ga ubi’ which means (lets go farming) usually aired on Ebonyi Broadcasting Corporation (EBBC), Abakaliki, discover the level of exposure of Ebiem-Ekpaomaka community farmers towards agricultural radio programs, determine the level of influence of agricultural radio program to the behaviour of farmers towards modern agricultural practices and ascertain the level of effectiveness of agricultural radio program on the rural farmers. The findings revealed that majority of the respondents admitted that they gained some new knowledge trough listening to the agricultural radio program. The program to a large extent had the desired impact on the listeners. The findings showed linkages between community radio and agriculture through the help of agricultural radio programs. Due to the importance of community radio group in agricultural growth and development, the researcher recommended a national survey of all local government areas in the country to ascertain and obtain a more conclusive report on the role of community radio in agricultural growth and development. Secondly, information packaged for rural dwellers consumption should be relevant to the rural dwellers and also the language of the information transmitted should be in local, familiar and understandable language.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1       Background to the Study

Community radio is radio of the people, by the people and for the people. African Charter on Broadcasting (ACB, 2001) defined community radio as a radio which is for, by and about the community, whose ownership and management is representative of the community which pursues a social development agenda and which is not profit oriented. In other words, community radio is established in order to serve the interest of community by mobilizing, informing, educating and entertaining people living in a particular community. A rural community is made up of people that share similar culture, interests, beliefs, traditions and core values. This makes it possible for rural dwellers to live a communal life. They exchange information through face to face talks, through their opinion leaders, through visits to one another’s home, in the market place, village town halls and in some villages in Nigeria presently the town crier passes information across to the rural dwellers and this he does by moving around from one place to another so as to cover the whole village. The town crier uses a wooden or metallic gong to attract the attention of the villagers usually he makes the announcement early in the morning when the people are yet to go about their daily activities or in the night when they must have come back home.

But due to changes in factors like education, population explosion, proper time management and development, community radio is a necessary tool in information dissemination in rural areas. This is because radio has so many advantages above other means of communication in mobilizing, educating, informing and even entertaining the people on issues that concern them so as for them to keep up to trends like urban and big cities in the country despite living in rural area, a rural dweller through the use of community radio can become knowledgeable about events happening around him, in the urban areas in the country as well as outside the country (Tancard and Verner, 2005).

One of the advantages of community radio is the use of dialectal language in packaging and presenting news stories and even programmes. Since community radio is radio of the people, this means that community radio is run by the rural dwellers, they are the owners of such radio station and their language is known to them, their language which is part of their culture is also an identifying mark which they can use in broadcasting information across to the community and this enhances understanding and helps the people to assimilate and put into practice the information they get from community radio and such information can be useful on different aspects of their life. For instance, basic life necessities like food, clothing, and shelter are mainly gotten from agriculture. Hence, the relationship between radio, the rural community and agriculture cannot be over emphasized. It is therefore essential that agricultural sector is improved and this can be made possible and easier if rural broadcasting through community radio is encouraged (WSIS, 2005).

According to Fromlet and Bathena (1993) “Community participation is a fundamental characteristic of rural radio-live public shows, village debates and participation in the actual management of the radio station are just a few examples. This approach empowers rural people to participate in the dialogue and decision-making processes essential for them to control their own economic, social and cultural environment and play active part in development activities”.

In other words, there is need for rural dwellers to involve themselves right from the first step in rural broadcasting which is establishment of community radio, carrying out administrative and journalistic duties so as to ensure the smooth operation of the radio station.

Community radio will thrive where urban or government stations have not succeeded, this is because of many factors for instance, proximity. Community radio stations are usually located closely to the rural community and this enables the people to become active in the running of the station, broadcast programs are packaged to suit the desires and interest of the community. Government owned radio stations, transmitting from the cities attempt to reach as many community as possible with little or no regards to the agricultural needs of the different communities that are involved.

In Nigeria, there are many communities with different agricultural needs that are peculiar to them. For instance, the communities in riverine like the Niger Delta area which includes Yenagoa, Port Harcourt, Benin City, Uyo, are mainly into fish farming while communities in upland are mainly into crop cultivation and animal husbandry. Therefore our rural communities need to be well educated about and informed on the ways to enhance their agricultural practice. For instance, a community that fishing is its main source of livelihood can get informed about methods of increasing fish production, proper and modern preservation methods and even handling and marketing so as to enhance profit while rural dwellers who are into farming and animal husbandry will be educated on modern cultivation and harvest methods, how to handle application of pesticides and weed control, animal immunization, breeding techniques, proper feeding etc. All with the objective of promoting agricultural development in rural areas and this will in turn minimize the disturbing trend of massive exodus of rural dwellers from local communities to urban areas, a situation that has caused congestion and other social vices that are associated with population explosion like armed robbery, high level of unemployment, kidnapping, cultism, drug peddling, ritual killing and hooliganism.

Community radio reaches every rural dweller educated and illiterate, well placed and the less privileged in the community. The community radio station that serves Ebiem-Ekpaomaka Community is Ebonyi Broadcasting Corporation (EBBC). The radio station handles issues concerning agricultural development of the community as well as other issues on health, education, religion and even entertainment programmes like dramas, folk tales, debates, music, news and so on. But for the purpose of this study, the researcher focused on “ka anyi ga ubi” (let’s go farming) an agricultural programme on EBBC which is aired every Tuesday by 7: pm. The programme is packaged in Igbo language so as to enable both educated and illiterate farmers to understand it and as such implement the innovations for the growth and development of agriculture in Ebiem-Ekpaomaka community and other neighbouring villages. The presenter of the program normally invites experts/resource persons in different fields of agriculture, like animal husbandry, horticulture, fishery and aquaculture, poultry, snail farming, honeycomb harvesting and so on. The experts in these various fields of agriculture shed light on new innovations in agriculture. The program is sponsored by well meaning Ebonyians, Ebonyi State Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, and Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO).

It is against this background that the researcher undertook to examine the use of community radio in promoting agricultural growth and development in rural areas of Nigeria.

1.2       Statement of Research Problem

The driving need to present the importance of community radio in promoting agricultural growth and development in rural areas, necessitated this work. Community radio is part of the general development process and it provides the needed link between agricultural extension workers and rural farmers. According to (Mboho, 2009), “the use of broadcast medium in disseminating agricultural information is an example of planned communication”. Community radio and agricultural growth and development is closely linked, though care should be taken not to over-assume that the effect of th e use of community radio is both automatic and total. It is a gradual process.

Community radio is essential for the conduct of everyday life, it aids in the transmission of messages throughout the various parts of the community. Community radio plays a very vital role in agricultural growth and development, but at what level they play their role is still subject to controversy. At the ordinary level of society, it plays a crucial and obstructive role.

Communication scholars have given different and contrasting roles to community radio. According to Aina, (1989), who identified non-provision of necessary agricultural information as a key factor limiting agricultural development in Nigeria. Just as reiterated by Youdeowei, (1995), lack of access to relevant agricultural information by farmers in developing countries cuts across all subsectors of agriculture and different stages of agricultural production process. Farmers need to be informed and educated about improved  agricultural practices to enable them increase their productivity and income. Several channels such as extension agents, individuals, farmer-to-farmer contact, print media (newspapers, magazines, newsletters, leaflets, pamphlets, and posters) and electronic media (radio, television, film, slides and film strips) have been widely used to disseminate information to farmers. (Van den Ban and Hawkins, 1992; Oluwu and Oyedokun, 2000

 1.3       Objectives of the Study

The general objective of the study is to examine the attitude of Ebiem-Ekpaomaka community farmers toward agricultural programme on EBBC, Abakaliki.

Specifically the study is set to :

  1. Discover the level of exposure of Ebiem-Ekpaomaka community farmers towards

agricultural radio programmes.

2      Examine the attitude of Ebiem-Ekpaomaka farmers towards the agricultural radio
programme ‘ka anyi ga ubi’ which means (lets go farming) in English language. The
program is aired on Ebonyi Broadcasting Corporation (EBBC), Abakaliki

  1. Determine the level of agricultural knowledge gained from the agricultural radio

program of EBBC radio, Abakaliki to the behaviour of farmers towards adopting

modern agriculrural practices.

  1. Ascertain the impact of agricultural radio programme on the agricultural practices of

the rural farmers.

1.4      Research Questions

Based on the above research objectives, the researcher will seek answers to the following questions:

  1. To what extent does the agricultural programme ”ka anyi ga ubi” help in promoting
    agricultural growth and development in rural areas ?
  2. What is the level of exposure of Ebiem-Ekpaomaka community farmers
    to agricultural programme of EBBC radio, Abakaliki ?
  3. What is the level of influence of agricultural programme on EBBC radio, Abakaliki
    on the behaviour of the rural farmers towards modern agricultural practices?
  4. What is the level of acceptability of agricultural programme on EBBC radio,

Abakaliki?

1.5     Research Hypotheses

From the above stated research questions, some hypothesis were tested in this.

They are as follows;

H0 : The EBBC radio agricultural program ‘ka anyi ga ubi’ does not help in

promoting agricultural growth and development in rural areas.

H1: The EBBC agricultural program ‘ka anyi ga ubi’ helps in promoting agricultural

growth and development in rural areas.

H0: The level of exposure of Ebiem-Ekpaomaka community farmers in Ebonyi state

to agricultural program of EBBC is not high.

H2: The level of exposure of Ebiem-Ekpaomaka community farmers in Ebonyi state

to agricultural radio program of EBBC is high.

H0 : The level of influence of agricultural program on EBBC radio, Abakaliki on

the behaviour of farmers towards modern agricultural practices is not high.

H3: The level of influence of agricultural program on EBBC radio, Abakaliki on

the behaviour of farmers towards modern agricultural practices is high.

H0: The level of effectiveness of agricultural radio program of EBBC radio, is not

high.

H4: The level of effectiveness of agricultural radio program of EBBC radio, is high.

 1.6      Significance of the Study

  1. The study also showed that in a developing country like Nigeria, that community radio

could bring about new development in agricultural practices by stimulating interactions

among farmers towards adopting new agricultural innovations for overall rapid growth

and development of the agricultural sector.

  1. The study also promoted agricultural growth and development in rural areas, because the

research portrayed the general attitude of farmers towards agricultural program they heard

on EBBC radio, Abakaliki as well as the perception and level of credibility of the

program.

  1. The study enabled the researcher to confirm whether or not the rural acceptance of

information from community radio was as a result of its authenticity, credibility and

content.

  1. The work also served as existing literature in this area of study for other researchers

thereby providing credible material that would assist them in their research work and more

importantly closing the gap of knowledge in this area.

 1.7      Scope of the Study

This study covered the farmers of Ebiem-Ekpaomaka community in Ikwo local government area of Ebonyi state, Nigeria. This scope was necessitated by the fact that the coverage of Ebonyi Broadcasting Corporation,(EBBC) may not go far beyond the state. Hence, the researcher considered it necessary to study only the areas within the reach of EBBC.

 1.8      Limitation of the Study

There were difficulties met in the process of eliciting data from the respondents in the rural areas due to their literacy level.

Also, because of geographical and security constraints, instead of conducting a nationwide rural survey, the study was restricted to Ebiem-Ekpaomaka community in Ikwo local government area of Ebonyi state.

1.9       Operational Definition of Terms

Radio:   A device that can capture (receive) the signal sent as radio waves and render
the modulated signal as sound without images.

Community:  Group of people sharing a common understanding, who reveal

themselves by using the same language, manners, tradition and law.

Agriculture:  The act or science of cultivating the ground, including the harvesting of
crops and rearing and management of livestock, tillage, husbandry an
farming.

Development: The application of new innovations to practical problems.

Assessment: The act of making a judgement about something, an idea or opinion
about something.

Promotion :   This is the method that is used to spread the word about your product
or service to customers, stakeholders and the broader public.

Growth:   This refers to a positive change in size, and maturation often over a period
of time.

Role:    A role is a set of connected behaviours, rights, obligation, beliefs, and norm
as conceptualized by people in a social situation

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