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Empirical analysis of the Agricultural extension service in Western States of Nigeria as an adult education system Opeke, Raphael Olabamiji


Agriculture is the primary industry in Nigeria. About 75 percent of the people of the Western States of Nigeria (Ogun, Oyo, and Ondo States) depend on agriculture with cocoa production as the principal foreign exchange earner. Over the years, other researchers have questioned the effectiveness of the Agricultural Extension Services as adult education agencies in the country and have argued the stagnant nature of farm practices among peasant farmers. The purpose of the study is to investigate the roles that Agricultural Extension Services in the Western States of Nigeria should play for farmers and rural non-farm peoples. The investigation is focused on identification of the methods and techniques agricultural extension agents use in teaching farmers and examines the effectiveness of such methods as correlates of cocoa production among farmers. A conceptual model based on Verner's theoretical framework was used to evaluate the Extension Service as an adult education system. The subjects included 70 extension supervisors, 109 village level extension agents, and 140 cocoa farmers. Interview schedules consisting of structured Likert scales were used to collect data for the study. Descriptive statistics, correlational analyses, univariate and multivariate analyses of variance, and regression analyses were used to examine factors affecting cocoa production. The Extension staff in the Western States of Nigeria perceived administrative function as the "most important" function, and educational function second. The farmers perceived administrative function of the extension service as the "least important" and ranked educational function as the "most important". The most effective instructional techniques recalled by the farmers were those techniques least used by extension agents. The educational components of the extension service in the states did not emerge as significant predictors of cocoa production; even though 55 percent of the instructions given to the farmers occurred under systematic instructional techniques. It was concluded that Agricultural Extension Service in the Western States of Nigeria did not provide effective educational service for the rural people. Extension activities carried out as the most important in the states are not those which the farmers expected from the Ministry of Agriculture. Educational methods and techniques used by the extension agents did not make a significant impact on the peasant farmers, and were judged ineffective to the farmers' own situation. The present system of extension administration tends to relegate the education of rural farmers to a peripheral purpose within the institutional framework. The study utilized a broad perspective of the educational process of rural farmers through agricultural extension and thereby concluded that instructional techniques based on personal and group contacts are deemed the most effective by the farmers in improving their own farm practices.

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