AVAILABILITY, ACCESS AND UTILIZATION OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES AMONG STAFF OF WOMEN IN AGRICULTURE SUB-PROGRAMME OF AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMMES
Background of the Study
The sustainable production of food is the first pillar of food security; and millions of women work as farmers, farm workers and natural resource managers. In doing so, they contribute to national agricultural output, maintenance of the environment and family food security (Onyemobi, 2000). According to Nnadozie and Ibe (2000), women play very significant roles in Nigeria agricultural production, processing and utilization. Agricultural extension personnel are very important in the development of agriculture. They utilize strategic vital agricultural information for the individual and general improvement of the farmers, homemakers and youths. This could be in the area of their farming techniques, family nutrition and health and community development. Agricultural extensionists serve as links between farmers and researchers (Agumagu, Adesope, Mathews- Njoku and Nwaogwugwu, 2008). Therefore, Nnadozie and Ibe (2000) were of the opinion that the integration of women in extension is essential for the achievement of some goals such as increased food production, food self-sufficiency and sustained reduction of poverty and malnutrition.
The involvement of women in agriculture has attracted greater attention in recent years. Over the past two or three decades, considerable research has been done on gender – related issues in Nigerian agriculture. This has had some impact on policy formulation and programming, including perhaps the creation of Women- in- Agriculture (WIA) units in several State and Federal Government Ministries of Agriculture and the Agricultural Development Programmes (ADPs) in Nigeria. It is however difficult to gauge how effective this has been, especially in terms of moving agriculture forward. (Adekanye,Otitolaiye and Opaluwa, 2009). According to Onyibe (2001), the Agricultural development programmes of the different States of the Federation have made important advances in incorporating gender in agricultural extension, by modifying the ADP system midstream to provide for women farmers through the creation of WIA programmes in the Department of Extension Services of the ADPs with a gender focus.