INFLUENCE OF INFORMATION SOURCES ON FARMERS KNOWLEDGE AND USAGE OF POULTRY DRUGS IN EDO AND DELTA STATES, NIGERIA
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Worldwide, more chickens are kept than any other type of poultry, with over 50 billion birds being raised each year as source of meat and eggs. [Card and Leslie,2011] Traditionally, such birds would have been kept extensively in small flocks, foraging during the day and housed at night, this is still the case in developing countries, where the women often make important contributions to family livelihoods through keeping poultry, however, rising world populations and urbanization have led to the bulk of production being in larger, more intensive specialist units. These are often situated close to where the feed is grown or near to where the meat is needed, and result in cheap, safe food being made available for urban communities. (Eriksson and Larson,2014).
The African traditional way of rearing livestock originally uses less of synthetic drugs, although the birds raised are hardy in nature. There is therefore the need for the use of veterinary knowledge of local farmers as a basis for the development of organic alternatives of livestock production. (Adler and Jerry,2012). Indigenous knowledge has gone a long way over the years to ensure minimal livelihoods for the rural resource-poor people in Nigeria. Most small-holder farmers that desire to adopt modern practices of animal health care are constrained by lack of finance and unavailability of consultancy advice from veterinary officers in remote villages (Kolawole, 2011)
According to Eurostat,(2012) it was stated in value terms, that the EU-27’s crop output grew by 9.1 % in 2011 to EUR 203,330 million and animal output increased by 9.9% to EUR 154,057 million and recently there has been a remarkable interest in livestock production. Poultry farming has numerous benefits; as a result many farmers prefer to invest in it. People generally establish poultry farm for the purpose of producing eggs, meat and generating high revenue from these products. Billions of chickens are being raised throughout the world as a good source of food from their eggs and meat. However, here I am shortly describing the main benefits of poultry farming. The main benefit of poultry farming is, it doesn’t require high capital for starting. It doesn’t require a big space unless you are going to start commercially. It also ensures high return of investment within a very short period. Some poultry birds like broiler chickens take shorter duration of time to mature and generating profit.
The importance of the poultry industry cannot be over emphasized, because of the vital roles it plays in human nutrition and creation of employment opportunity it provides for the teeming population. The industry if desired attention is paid by government at all levels, poultry industry can successfully absorb a large number of unemployed youth across the country currently searching for unavailable jobs. Through its chain of agro-allied activities, commercial feed aim toll milling, poultry productions processing, poultry marketing, vertinary, pharmaceuticals, hatchery operation and breeder farming. In addition, the industry if properly harnessed, can also serve as source of foreign earning, complementing the crude oil (our present main source of foreign earning) responsible for over 90% of our exports e.g. a product of the industry gives about 3.5g of the total 7.2g animals protein required for individual dietary need per day. Again, (broiler table meat chicken) is the toast of every fast food outlets across the country. This is because chicken meat is cholesterol free; compare to red meat beef, mutton, pork, veal, venison and others, which contains cholesterol (a chemical substance), responsible for the increasing rate of heart diseases amongst Nigerians in recent times. Among which to be mentioned poultry contribute to GDP and GNP of the country.
Furthermore, poultry industry at the moment is bedeviled by enormous problems. Among which are lack of government funding, lack of credit facility, high cost of feeding ingredients, diseases, increasing cost of medications, marketing and lack of storage facility. Diseases are one of the major challenges to the industry, because of the economic importance of the disease causing organisms like bacteria, virus, fungal and protozoan, which poultry birds are susceptible to, bringing about devastating effects to both the flocks and the farmers .For instance, the outbreak of avian influenza otherwise known as bird flu, in 2015/2016, led to death of over 1.5 million birds across the country (Sahara reporter). It will be recalled that large number of poor farmers lost their means of livelihood, when their flocks were destroyed by government without compensation; yet foreign donor agencies are willing to address the problem of avian influenza stated by (WHO, 2015. The intake of protein in Nigeria stands at 3.5g per caput per day(Ironkwe and Amefule,2014) and this is far less than the 35g per caput per day recommended by the World Health Organization (W.H.O),this shortage of animal protein consumption is partly due to the high cost of conventional meat sources like cattle, goat, sheep(Tewe,2015),it is therefore necessary to search for a cheaper alternative source of meat to meet the ever increasing demand for animal protein.
Information and communication are essential ingredients needed for effective transfer of technologies that are designed to boost agricultural production. For farmers to benefit from such technologies they must first have access to them and learn how to effectively utilize them in their farming systems and practices (Ariyo et al.2013). This is the responsibility of agricultural extension agencies all over the world. These extension agencies make use of different approaches, means and media in transferring improved agricultural technologies to farmers. Mass media methods in agricultural information dissemination generally, are useful in reaching a wide audience at a very fast rate. They are useful sources of agricultural information to farmers and as well constitute methods of notifying farmers of new developments and emergencies. They could equally be important in stimulating farmers’ interest in new ideas and practices (Ani et al.2017).
Common sources of agricultural information sources that have been used are the extension services, radio, television, magazines, newspaper and face to face communication. According to Statrasts,(2014) this information sources is seen as an institution or individuals that create or bring about message and the characteristics of a good information source are relevance, timelessness, accuracy, cost effectiveness reliability, usability exhaustiveness and aggregation level. Lately research institutions have embraced the modern sources of information such as internet especially online database, journals and articles that have made information more readily accessible, accurate and timely. These modern sources have been used within research institutions and extension service units but their effectiveness in availing information to farmers have been criticized. It is thought that the modern sources of information have social, education, economic, cultural and technical constraints which limits their effectiveness in disseminating agricultural information to farmers(Bashir,2014)
It is important to disseminate agricultural information to ensure farmers have adequate knowledge and skills to address their needs and sustain production. Research institutions have a responsibility of ensuring that the information they disseminate is packaged in a way that makes it easy for the end-users to understand and to use appropriate dissemination channels that would make the information accessible to the end users (farmers),(Ghobrial and Musa,2016). Hence, the information supply from extension, research. Education and other sources has become managed by agricultural organizations and especially disseminated to farmers so that they can make better decisions to take advantages of market opportunities and to manage continuous changes in their production systems (Demiryurek, 2010).
According to Davin (2016) every individual whether literate or non-literate needs information in order to make decisions thus every sector of the population engaged in agriculture needs information. The concept that information is the message has different meanings in different contexts. Luciano Floridi (2010). Thus, the concept of information becomes closely related to notions of constraint, communication, control, data, form, instruction, knowledge, meaning, understanding, mental stimuli, pattern, perception, representation, and entropy. The role of communication boarder on it’s effectiveness which is foundational to socio-economic and political development of a nation.
Adekunle and Ogoto (2014), asserted that effective communication is a precondition for sustainable technology transfer in agriculture; and the feed forward- feed back mechanisms which are essential ingredients in the technology transfer process are only made possible through communication process. A good communicator or information source knows his audience, his wants, needs, message, the effective channel of communication applicable to his audience, prepares his information to be communicated carefully, speaks clearly, uses simple languages that people understand and is aware of the limitation of time. The credibility and technical competence of the communicator (extension agent) will go a long way in people (farmers) putting their trust in him as an authority of valid assertions and a reckoned officer. Hence Torimiro and Akinyemiju (2014) opined that in order to maintain good credibility extension agents need to have adequate knowledge and skill in dealing with people, and that a message is not of no value unease it is understood, accepted by the receiver and creates a motivation to act.
Ekumankma and Nwankwo (2012) observed the poor exposure of farmers to appropriate agricultural information as one of the major reasons for low yield recorded by many Nigerian farmers. This have been of great concern to agricultural communicators, administrators, and policy makers in the country over the years and finds expression in the federal governments’ effort in initiating different agricultural programmes including Agricultural Development Programmes across the country in the last four decades. Uphoff (2010) and Leeuwis (2014) accreting a new societal function for extension said that emphasis/responsibilities have shifted from a function that fostered knowledge and technology transfer between farmers and researchers and among farmers themselves to include more complex tasks of altering interdependencies and co-ordination between various actors, in addition new challenges, problems and development- some of which operate at a larger scale than before (e.g. ecological degradation, globalization and knowledge society) that further complicate matters, hence the issues extension is dealing with now are concerned more broadly with rural resource management- resource in this context include not only water, land, biological process and biophysical inputs, but also human relations, forms of organizations, economic and legal institutions, knowledge or skills.
Leeuwis (2014) observed that communication intervention which is seen as different communication services since they essentially define kinds of products that can be delivered by communication workers and at the same time seen as different strategies because they refer also to the way in which communication intervention is supposed to contribute to societal problem solving. Depending on one’s analysis of the problem, one may decide that improving a specific type of service is an appropriate strategy towards improving the situation. Leeuwis (2014) further opined that the term farm management communication is general communication function which can be relevant within different communication services and strategies include: raising awareness; consciousness of predefined issues; exploring views and issues; information provision and training, with corresponding roles of communication workers to include; providing (confrontational) feedback; raising questions; stimulating people to talk (active listening, active learning); translating and structuring information; and educators/trainers. Hence, effective communication can improve farmers’ value for adoption of proven technologies.
Feedback is a critical component of effective communication(Witzany,G 2012).This farmers knowledge on the usage of poultry drugs is either lagging behind in Nigeria or it is not put into practice maximally(UNIDO,CBN,2010)
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Agriculture, which is production oriented is a field that is always in need of right information and at the right time.(Dileepkumar,2013),this means that both crop and livestock farmers should always be linked to the right information needed in the production process by adequate information sources. Agricultural information can also be seen as an important factor which interacts with the other production factors such as land, labour, managerial ability, the productivity of these other factors can arguably be improved by the relevant, reliable and useful information and knowledge (Demiryurek, 2010).
The problem to lack of or minimal use of drugs observed in poultry production in Nigeria could be linked to information technologies and information sources (information revolution) affecting competitiveness (Porter and Miller,2015).Part of the reason why farmers do not engage in the usage of poultry drugs is that, historically the extension services has been focused on improving production and productivity (Gebremedhi et al,2016) and abandoned the farmers after the harvest. This is why various stakeholders of agriculture need to critically analyse the information sources that are available and accessible to poultry production and also the information needs of the farmers, the structure of the organisations involved in these activities are issues that need to be explored generally(Demiryurek et al,2014) in poultry production specifically.
The problem of the usage of poultry drugs is a great one and emphasis on it cannot be too much at this time when the nations’ agriculture is undergoing transformation in the Agriculture Transformation Agenda (ATA) in the economy of this nation. The rural/village poultry system in Nigeria typically lacks access to organized health inputs. The structure of the rural poultry production system has constrained attempts to institute health extension services. Small flock size, mixed age and species flock composition, improper housing, scavenging, among other factors have made the use of conventional schedule-oriented health inputs like medication and vaccination difficult.(Kolawole, 2011). This study here will provide answers to the questions that borders on information sources on farmers knowledge and usage of poultry drugs in Edo and Delta states, Nigeria. Some of the specific questions this research is poised to answer are:
What are the socio-economic characteristics of poultry farmers in Edo and Delta states?
What are the various sources of information on poultry drugs available to respondents in Edo and Delta states?
What are the respondent’s accesses and preferences for poultry drugs usage information source?
What is the respondent’s awareness for the effects of poultry drugs usage?
What are the constraints respondents faces in sourcing and adopting poultry drugs information?
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The broad objective of the study is to access the influence of information sources on farmers knowledge and usage of poultry drugs in Edo and Delta states, Nigeria. The specific objectives are to;
identify the social economic characteristics of poultry farmers in the study area;
ascertain respondents on poultry drug information sources, access, preference and usage;
assess respondents’ knowledge on the effects of poultry drugs usage; and
examine constraints respondents face in sourcing and adopting poultry drugs information and in application of poultry drugs.
1.4 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
Ho: There is no significant relationship between the social economic characteristics of poultry farmers and their access to various sources of information