1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
The success of agricultural development
programmes in developing countries largely depends on the nature and
extent of use of mass media in mobilizing farmers who live mostly in
rural areas for the need for development. Communication has been
acknowledged for playing, a prominent role in the success of
agricultural production and adoption of innovations through programmes
aired. The planners in developing countries realized that the
development of agriculture could be hastened with the effective use of
mass media (GCRA, 2003). Mass media has been defined as any material,
objects, instruments or system which serves to communicate information
including letters, pamphlets, and other written and printed materials,
all types of cinema films, radio, television and video system (Adams,
Several channels such as the extension
agent, individuals, farmers-to-farmers contact, print media (news
papers, magazines, news letter, pamphlet and posters) and electronics
media (Radio, television, and film schedules and films trips) have been
widely used to disseminate information to farmers in rural area (Van
& Hawkins, 1992; Olowu & Oyedokun, 2000).
Among the mass media means of
communication, radio is found to be the most important means of
communicating agricultural information to the rural farmers. In the
opinion of (Kuponiyi, 2000), radio is one of the broadcast medium which
the rural populations are very familiar with and which almost all
experts identified to be the most appropriate for rural emancipation
programme. This is because radio beats distance and has immediate effect
on farmers. Furthermore, radio is favored as a medium of communication
in rural communities because of the advantages ascribed to it, inform of
transcending the barrier of illiteracy and demanding less intellectual
exertion than the print media massages (Folarin, 1990).
Absence of a functional agricultural
information delivery system is a major constraint to agricultural
development in Nigeria. Aina, (1989) identified non-provision of
necessary agricultural information as a key factor limiting agricultural
development in Nigeria. According to 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. Radio is one broadcast medium which almost all
experts identify to be the most appropriate for rural emancipation
programme. This is because a radio set is cheap to obtain and is widely
owned in the rural areas. This is made possible by the advent of the
battery-operated transistorized sets.
The terms rural radio have come to be
used to describe FM stations established to broadcast to a local and
predominantly rural audience. The growth of rural radio stations over
the past few decades reflects both the improvements in information
technologies and the shifting development paradigm towards a more
participatory style of information and knowledge transfer.
Rural area based radio is the focus of
this study because the predominantly agricultural audiences of these
stations can benefit from information to improve their livelihoods.
Radio initiatives as part of broader communication for development
strategies have been used by international organizations such as the
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Educational
Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Food and
Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations since the late
Radio stations set up in rural areas
have a predominantly agricultural clientele. Whether those who run them
are pursuing the development objectives of the station’s funder or
simply aiming to entertain, they are aware that agricultural issues are
very high on their listeners’ priorities. However, agricultural
extension systems have only shifted to more participatory approaches
relatively recently and so much of their early efforts used the top-down
technical scientific information approach which tended to ignore the
diversity of both local agricultural problems and the farmers’ existing
knowledge and skills. Other social development sectors, such as health
and education, have been more effective, using rural radio to
communicate messages to a target community or a specific demographic
group. In many areas radio stations have become highly valued for
interacting with specific disadvantaged groups and for handling complex
The Independent Television/Radio, Benin
City, Edo state owned by Sir Chief G.O. Igbinedion was inaugurated by
the Oba of Benin, Omo ‘N’ Oba Nedo, Uku Akpolokpolo Oba Erediawa on
Saturday 7th November 1998 urging the Station’s operators to carry out
their objectives with the same zeal for the running of Independent
Television which was founded a year earlier and has demonstrated
excellence. There has been the acquisition of State of the Art digital
ultra high-tech virtual studios equipment including high definition
cameras, teleprompters, virtual studio components, complete digital
studio lightening systems and digital sound console. The station is
located at Iguosa, an outskirt of Benin where rural farmers can easily
receive clear signals of Independent Television/radio.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The reason behind airing any
agricultural programme by any mass media means is to sensitize and
educate farmers about improved agricultural practice needed to be
adopted. This implies that radio agricultural programmes are an
effective tool in creating awareness on improved agricultural programmes
among farmers. Rural radio broadcasting when skillfully used has proved
to be the most effective medium of communication, which is essential
for developing societies. Radio is also the most highly used media in
accessing development and agricultural information. The listeners of
agricultural programmes are supposed to make use of various improved
practices they gained knowledge of and they found the program aired as
very useful to their agricultural practices.
Despite the fact that many researches
were conducted on the importance of radio agricultural programmes on
listeners in the rural area, no such study was conducted and documented
in the study area. This may limits the listener’s assessment of improved
agricultural technology and hence affects their level of production.
This allowed a huge gap that tends to limit farmers awareness on the
relevance and efficiency of radio as source of information for improving
their agricultural activities. Based on the above, it is therefore,
imperative to examine the listener’s assessment on agricultural
programmes on rural area based radio.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The following are the objectives of this study:
- To examine the level of listeners/farmer’s usage and reactions on agricultural programmes on rural area based radio.
- To determine the perception of listeners benefits of rural
agricultural programmes aired on Independent Television/radio on the
- To examine the opinion of the listeners on the quality of agricultural programmes of Independent Television/radio in Edo State.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- What is the level of listeners/farmer’s usage and reactions on agricultural programmes on rural area based radio?
- What is the perception of listeners benefits of rural agricultural
programmes aired on Independent Television/radio on the listeners?
- What is the opinion of the listeners on the quality of agricultural programmes of Independent Television/radio in Edo State?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The following are the significance of this study:
- Based on the importance of knowledge through agricultural programmes
aired on rural radio to the development of agriculture in the Nigeria,
the results from this study will form a useful guide for policy makers
in sponsoring many other useful agricultural programs. It will also
educate the general public on the benefits of listening to agricultural
programmes on rural radio.
- This research will be a contribution to the body of literature in
the area of the listener’s assessment on agricultural programmes on
rural area based radio, thereby constituting the empirical literature
for future research in the subject area.
1.6 SCOPE/LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This study is limited to public
listeners of Independent Television/radio agricultural programmes living
in Benin and rural environment. It will also cover the opinion of the
listeners on the quality of the agricultural programmes aired in
LIMITATION OF STUDY
Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in
sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in
the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The
researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic
work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Radio: the transmission and reception of electromagnetic waves of radio frequency, especially those carrying sound messages.
Agricultural programmes: educative and informative piece aired on radio to boost the knowledge of farmers in their techniques
Mass media: any of the means of communication, as radio, television or newspapers that reach very large numbers of people
Rural area: Sparsely populated area
outside of the limits of a city or town or a designated commercial,
industrial, or residential center. Rural areas are characterized by
farms, vegetation, and open spaces.
Development: the process in which someone or something grows or changes and becomes more advanced