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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 920: XXVIII International Horticultural Congress on Science and Horticulture for People (IHC2010): VI International Symposium on Horticultural Education, Research Training and Consultancy

VARIATIONS AND EFFECT OF THE USE OF MOBILE PHONES FOR IMPROVING FARM KNOWLEDGE IN HORTICULTURAL CROPS AMONGST FARMERS IN BENUE STATE, NIGERIA

Author:   E.C. Odiaka
Keywords:   consequences, mass media, utility, farm knowledge, horticulture
Abstract:
Hunger is a longstanding item on the agenda of international and national policymakers and strategies to overcome it are being intensively discussed in the context of the Millennium Development Goals. Household food security is determined by four factors, one of which is food availability. Vegetables are an important food crop for local consumption and export and production is rapidly growing in developing countries but availability depends on actual production that is influenced in part by the production information available to farmers. This study examined the dissimilarity and extent of use of mobile phones by vegetable farmers to share information and its effect on their knowledge. Data collected from 250 farmers in Benue, Nigeria, using a structured questionnaire showed that 76.2, 47.7 and 55.1% of the farmers used mobile phones to obtain information on vegetable crops in the North East, North West and South zones respectively. 62.0% use it 1-10 times a month, 22.0% use it 11-19 times and 8.4% use it more than 19 times a month while 7.6% do not use mobile phones. 77.2% considered usage cost as very high and 64.8% found irregular network another major problem. Logit regression showed that the use of mobile phones (1.317) had a positive, significant (p<0.05) effect on farmersí knowledge. Since it was found that the mobile phone utilization pattern differed according to geopolitical arrangements and had a positive effect on farmers knowledge, it was recommended that all stakeholders should encourage its use by farmers to enhance steady and reliable production and farm income because it is user-friendly and can be used anywhere there is network as a supplementary information channel. Its use can also boost utilization.
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