1.1 Background of the Study
The sustainable production of food is the first pillar of
food security, and millions of women farmers work as formers, and natural
resources managers. In doing so, they contribute to national agricultural
output, maintenance of the environment and family food security (Onyemibi,
According to Nnadozie and Ibe (2006) women play a very
significant role in Nigeria Agricultural production, processing and
utilization. Agricultural Extension Personnel are very important in the
development of agriculture. They utilize strategic vital agriculture
information for the individual and general improvement of the farmers,
homemakers and youths. This could be in the area of their family technique,
family nutrition, and community development. Therefore, according to Nnadozie
and Ibe (2006) the integration of women in extension is essential for the
achievement of some goals such as increase food production, food
self-sufficiency and sustained reduction of poverty and mal-nutrition.
The participation of women in agriculture has attracted
greater attention in recent times over the years. In the past two or three
decades, considerable research has been done on gender-related issues in
Nigerian agriculture. These have had some effect on policy formulation and
programme including perhaps the creation of women-in-agriculture (WIA) unit in
several states and federal government ministries of agriculture and the
Agricultural Development Programme (ADP’s). It is however, difficult to measure
how effective this has been especially in terms of moving agriculture forward
(2007)www.unn.edu.ng. Women-in-agriculture (WIA) are sub-componentsin the
extension unit of the ADP’s and it focus on improving agricultural production,
processing and marketing by rural women. Women-in-agriculture (WIA) were
mandated to carryout genderspecific activities among 30% of farmers which of
necessity must be women in AkwaIbom State Agricultural Development Project
(AKADEP), (2000). The agent works directly with women farmers, identifying and
directing women into groups in the blocks and registering groups into
cooperative societies. The formation of WIA group facilities dissemination of
Agricultural innovation and farm inputs and credit than they would have as
individuals (Saito and Gadzame 1996). The greatest activities of WIA still
remains to form women groups and assist them establish group-farms. IT is
through these groups that WIA extension agent transfer recommended technologies
to the women for adoption. However, the WIAprogramme places much emphasis on
off-farm activities of the women and has concentrated in the transfer of the
following home economic technologies;
(1) Cassava processing and utilization-pancake, flow and
(2) Processing and storage of maize, garri, cassava flower,
tapioca maize flour, malted maize drink, corn meal; pap (wet and malted maize
(3) Processing and utilization of soybean into soymilk,
flour paste and soymeal.
(4) Processing and storage of fresh tomatoes into tomato
(5) Rabbit meat processing and utilization.
(6) Processing and storage of melon.
(7) Cocoyam processing and utilization into cocoyam flour
for soup thickening and cocoyam chips.
(8) Dry season vegetable garden.
(9) Harvesting and storage of paddy rice.
All these cannot be achieved without the effective use of
communication. Any means by which information can be transferred between women
in agriculture and rural women is very important for sustainable agriculture.
Information and Communication Technology is the scientific,
technological and engineering disciplines and the management technologies used
in the handling of information, processing and application related to computer.
It is also concern with the interaction with man and machines; and associated
socio-economic and cultural matters (Osuagwu, 2011).
Information Technology according to Marshall (1984) in
Madu(2000) is the coming together of computing and telecommunications for the
purpose of handling information tools and processes to access, retrieve, store
organize, manipulate, produce present and exchange information by electronic
and other automated means. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is an
umbrella a term that includes any communication decides or application,
encompassing radio, television, cellular phones, computer and network hardware
and software, satellite system and so on, as well as the various services and
applications. Associated with them, such as video conferencing and distance
learning (search target.com, 2017). It alsoencompasses diverse set or technological
tools and resources used to communicate, and to create, disseminate, store and
manage information. Also,Hazelma andFlor (2004) stated that ICT refers to all
information and communication systems and technologies inclusive not only of
digital formats interface with radio; cable and wireless, television, video
cellular phones, print media and others. The above definitions have revealed a
number of ICT tools which are highly crucial to any agricultural development
system and to women farmers in particular.
1.2 Problem Statement
Sustainable agriculture is best defined as a way of
producing food that meets the needs of the nation without compromising the
ability of the future generations to meet their own needs (Okori, 2003). Women
are major actors in all aspect of life. They are farmers, civil servant, home
managers craftsmen, traders which or combination of two or more of these
Generally, women play significant role in agriculture all
over the world. According to FAO (1996), they contribute as high as 70% of
workface, 80% producers (Rahman and Usman, 2014) 10% processors of basic food
stuff 60-90% of farm laboratory. Also they keep livestock, fetch water, carry
fuel wood (Akpabio, 2005) and contribute74% of fish producers and marketers. However,
in order to complement the effort of women to provide adequate food in quantity
and quality to the ever-increasing population. Women in agriculture programme
sought to improve agriculture\al extension services her women. Women in
agriculture (WIA) programme ensure that extension services in every level of
operations from state inadequate down to the village. Extension is fundamental
to rural way. But according to Egbuna (2003) the need for information and
communication technologies is inevitable if extension must succeed in their
The role of ICT enhances food security and support rural
livelihoods was officially endorsed at the worlds summit on the information
society (WSIS) in 2005. ICTs are technologies involve in retrieving, disseminating
and implementing data and information using microelectronics, optics and
telecommunication and computers (FAO, 1993). Although itis recently a new
phenomenon, evidence of its contribution to agricultural development and
poverty alleviation is becoming increasingly recognized.
According to Meeraet al (2004) ICT can bring about new
information services to rural areas where women farmers will have much greater
control of their resources than ever before. However, there is still dearth of
knowledge and information and new technology in agriculture that is yet to be
exploited. Access to such information sources is a crucial reference for
sustainable agricultural development especially among women farmers. Presently,
it is still quite unclear whether farmers in Akwa Ibom State are adequately
exposed to the use of ICTs in their farming operations. It is expected that
there should be a flow of knowledge and new information from various research
institutions to the farmers. Also, with the exposition of ICTs in the nation,
there is great expectation that women-in-agriculture (WIA) agent would have
substantially empowered information to women farmers. This is because of how
far farmer’s progress in whatever actually depends largely on the awareness,
accessibility relevance and reliable to accurate information. It is against
this that this study seeks to provide answers to the following questions.
(1) What are the socioeconomic characteristics of women in
the study area?
(2) What are the available ICTs in the study areas?
(3) what is the extent of ICTs accessibility to women farmer
in the study area?
(4) What is the level of utilization of ICTs among women
farmers in the study areas?
(5) What factors constraints women farmers from utilizing
ICTs in the study area?
1.3 Objective of the Study
The general objective of the study is to investigate the
access and utilization of Information and Communication Technology (ICT’s)among
women farmers in AkwaIbom State.
The study sought to;
(i) examine socio-economic characteristics of women farmers
in the study area.
(ii) identify the various ICT available in the study area.
(iii) ascertain the extent of accessibility of ICT among
women farmers in the study areas.
(iv) determine the level of utilization of ICTs among women
farmers in the study area.
(v) identify perceived constraints to the use of ICT
toolsamong women farmers in the study areas.
1.4 Significance of the Study
The finding of this study are expected to guide government,
to formulate policies and generate programme as they relate especially to women
and information disseminating to their counterparts in rural areas.
According to Madukwe (2000) the promise of ICTs in
agricultural extension is that they can energize the collection, processing and
transmission of data, resulting in faster extension of quality information to
more farmers in the bottom-up and interactive channel of communication. Also
increasing the use of ICTs in agricultural extension will now narrow the gender
disparities in terms of access to agricultural information. It is expected that
this study will expose different areas of use of ICT which will motivate the
ADP’s and other agricultural organizations/agencies to adjust and recognize
programme in favour of ICT utilization by women in agriculture. Researchable
areas should also be exposed to students and researchers though this study for
further relevant of ICTs in agricultural development generally.