This chapter conducts an extant of literature review on some selected components of the thematic areas of the study. The notable area includes: farmers information literacy and awareness towards government agricultural policies, sources of information about these policies, and how innovative or modern information telecommunication enhance the diffusion of data on farming methods, techniques and policies.
FARMERS INFORMATION LITERACY AND AWARENESS TOWARDS GOVERNMENT AGRICULTURAL POLICIES
Agricultural information is the various sets of information and messages that are important to agricultural productive activities of farmers, such information include: crop production and security, animal production and management, and natural resource production and conservation (Tadesse, 2008).
Information is a means of transferring events for better awareness to add new meaning that could alter events, animations, or experiences, awareness and usage of information produce knowledge (Low, 2000). Furthermore, the ever increasing information explosion on agricultural produce: Seedling, harvesting, marketing and storage, policies among others may have considerable implications for farmers, implementation of farm animals and the extension services (Oto, 2011, Ovwigho, 2009).
The report of research findings has it that dissemination of adequate agriculture information literacy to the grass root, especially to smallholder farmers will enhance productivity (Low, 2000). The importance of farmers information literacy and awareness towards agricultural production and food security cannot be over-emphasized. Sokoya, Onifade and Alabi (2012), observed that interpersonal connectivity between farmers and agricultural extension agents will enhance farmers’ information literacy, knowledge and awareness of the current trend in agriculture that will boost stages of farming and abundant food supply (Onifade ; Alabi, 2012).
The importance of farmers’ information literacy cannot be over emphasized as they create what the nation need to feed her populace all year round. Donations from various researchers’ results on how important agricultural information has asset that, production can be increased if farmers have accurate data on agricultural policies, patterns and techniques (Sokoya, Onifade and Alabi, 2012). Olowu (2008) opined that, such research results include high yielding breeds of the animal, disease resistant breed of seeds and seedlings, mechanized farming and different storage means which farmers must know to improve productivity and increase food security.
Farmers’information literacy in this subject area is seen as the farmers’ ability to critically think and determine the extent of their information need and be able to access available information effectively, efficiently and evaluate the information to accomplish a specific role in farming” (Low (2000).
Different definitions are given to information literacy depending on the concept of the study, American Library Association (1995) expressed that “To be information literate, a person must be able to recognise when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information” Therefore information literate people are those who have learned how to learn, having the ability and skilled in critical thinking; to be information literate is a lifelong learning (Library Association 1995).
Eamin Ali (2012) observed that an information literate individual is able to:
? Determine the extent of information needed
? Access the needed information effectively and efficiently
? Evaluate information and its sources critically
? Incorporate selected information into one’s knowledge base
? Use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose, and
? Understand the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information, and access and use information ethically and legally (Association of College and Research Libraries, 2000).
The needed information could be useful to farmer at different stages of farming; harvesting, marketing and food storage. Inaddtion, Oladeji (2011) opined that, storage of farm produce by smallholder farmer is not the soul’s duty of farmers, but other stakeholders like investors who, though do not have knowledge of farming but have the scientific knowledge of storage and financial capability to buy farm produce in large quantity at the peak of the harvest season (Oladeji, 2011). Therefore smallholder farmers need to know and plant more of such farm produce that investors are yearning for and be able to join the investor through different media; such media expressed the strategic ways of marketing farm produce after harvesting.
Dude ; Anyanwu (2009), Oladele (2011), Ota and Shimayohol (2011), Oladeji, (2012) in their research on the importance of information on farm practices they observed that farmers can obtain required data through different channels; majorly through agricultural extension agents, mass media, folk narratives, social networking and interpersonal relationship with fellow farmers and relations and agricultural project administrators like. Even though the smallholder farmers need much government, agriculture, information to facilitate their productivity, it is difficult for government agricultural policies to be propagated to the smallholder farmers in the rural residential districts. It is equally a upshot that the literature is again reviewed on the origins of agricultural data (Dude ; Anyanwu, 2009, Oladele, 2011, Ota ; Shimayohol,2011 and Oladeji, 2012)
SOURCES AND ACCESS TO AGRICULTURAL INFORMATION
An information source is a person, thing, or place from which information comes, arises, or is obtained. That is, the source might then inform a person about something or provide knowledge about it (Feather and Sturges, 2004). Data sources are split into separate, distinct categories, primary, secondary, tertiary, and hence on, any system producing or containing information intended for transmission is an information source. Data sources are distinguished by the sort of representation; text (books, diaries, manuscripts), graphic (graphs, diagrams, designs, charts), and audio visual (audio recordings, motion images, slides) (Feather and Sturges, 2004). The characteristics of a serious information source are relevant, timelessness, accuracy, accessibility, cost effectiveness, dependability, usability, exhaustiveness and aggregation level (Feather and Sturges, 2004).
Oladele (1999) point out that, the efficiency of technologies to engender and disseminate depend on effective communication which is the central process of data dispersion (Oladele, 1999). Thus, it is expected that the message from the client should be given back to the source or researchers in the communication process to be over. Despite the efforts at the technological innovation transfer, the wide gap between the layers of production, which research contends, is attainable and that which farmers achieve, suggests a missing link (Oladele, 1999).
What is more, there has been a weak linkage of data between the farmer, extension workers, and researchers mean that the farmers are not included in the planning of the innovation hence; they do not cognize where to get information, despite the fact that they are the end users. Agricultural information disseminated by different information sources needs to be found. It’s therefore imperative therefore to distinguish the origins of agricultural information utilized by farmers.
Opera (2008) investigated the overall sources of agricultural information available to farmers in Imo State (Nigeria), as good as the farmers’ preferred sources. The result of the survey reveals that 88.1% of the farmers’ source of agricultural information were through extension agents. On the other hand, Ozowa (2008) indicated that, among all the surviving sources of agricultural information, Nigerian farmers ranked extension workers the most eminent in providing credible data and advice. The probe was held out on small farmers in Imo state, Nigeria (Ozwa, 2008).
Mokotjo and Kalusopa (2010) in their survey work also found out that print sources are among the sources of information to farmers in Lesotho. Their study reveals that, though most of the farmers have acquired primary education, the agricultural information delivered to them is written in local languages. This enables them to use the data effectively. It also shows a higher literacy level in Lesotho and indeed, according to the literacy rate in Africa, Lesotho occupies the seventh spot with a literacy rate of 84.80% (Aneki, 2012). Yet, only 13% out of 61.7% of the farmers in Lesotho are of the view prints media as one of the appropriate technologies Ngulube (2011) significantly differ from the finding from Mokotjo and Kalusopa (2010). They contend that, print materials have to distribute data to less than 2 per cent to smallholder farmers in rural Nigeria.
Furthermore, the rapid growth of information has profoundly altered the media landscape in African nations. Data and Communication innovation is a term that combines computer and telecommunications technology in handling, acquiring, processing, storing and distributing information (Chauhan, 2009; and Malhan, 2007). Inforation, and Communication are the propagation and dissemination of Agricultural Information to smallholder Farmers in Northern Ghana. A universal or an encompassing term that encompasses all those technologies that are employed in collecting, storing, organizing and communicating data in diverse forms (Chisita, 2010).
Also, modern communication methods such as ICT can become a key enabler of the agricultural-food sector by creating dynamic and real time global level exchange of data as stated by Rao (2009, 492) “Effective deployment of ICT can lead to increase in agricultural competitiveness through cuts in production and transaction prices, raising production efficiencies and farm incomes, conserving natural resources, and by providing more information, choice and value to stakeholders.” In using innovative communication successfully to support smallholder farmers and rural residential districts, the foremost step is to empower farming communities to determine their own needs (Ballantyne, 2009:356).
With wider access to and usage of innovative communication tools such as, receiving set, notice board and Magazines the potentials of opening up of communication as easily as sharing information would be enhanced, thus as to assist farmers, researchers, extension workers and policy shapers. It will also constrict the information gap that exists between the farmers and the researchers on the other hand, because there will be a feedback (Ballantyne, 2009).
In the same view, Renwick (2010), points out that, most of the little island countries are above the 100% and some are over 200% mobile phone penetration mark. This entails that many people owned more than one cellular telephone phone and over 100% of the farmers used cell phones to receive agricultural information. This argues that innovative communication is a really useful tool in the diffusion of agricultural information to the farmers especially in rural regions where cell phones have been adopted by both literate and illiterate farmers.
Innovation communication has become the most important tool that is crucial in processing and disseminating agricultural information. In the same train of thought, Bolarin and Ayanlade (2010) asserts that mobile telephones and computer arrangements are the most employed and widely owned tools today by extension workers and their establishments in many African nations today. This is because; in their survey about 75% of the respondents surveyed by Bolarin and Ayanlade (2010) perceived themselves as frequent users of multimedia. Looking at the findings of Renwick (2010) and Bolaring and Ayanlade, both have failed to mention Television, with its accessories which now usually called “Multi-TV” which almost are found I every house in the rural regions, even area without electricity uses either a generator or an auto battery for this medium.
Other sources of information for smallholder farmers that are equally important, but less recognized are the traditional sources. The traditional system is the kind of information emanating from colleagues, during weddings, naming ceremonies, burials, agricultural shows and festivals and in some cases through town criers (Aina, 1995). Demiryurek et al. (2008) argues that Dairy farmers in Turkey use four categories of information, all of which are traditional sources of information relayed from family members. The four classes are: extension workers, posters and booklets, family members and the electronic media.
In the Caribbean, smallholder farmers rely heavily on traditional knowledge and informal meetings among themselves for farming (Renwick, 2010). Questions as to what to plant, what the moon phase is best for sowing seeds and transplanting seedlings, and how often to rotate crops are answered through colleagues. This intimates that, a unit of the sources of information to farmers in the Caribbean is the traditional source which is conveyed through oral channels by colleagues. This accords with the position obtaining in Nigeria as reported by Anne (1995).
Similarly, Opara (2008) reported that agricultural information in its broadest sense includes indigenous agricultural knowledge (IAK) which is transmitted by word of mouth from person to person. This is a very usual practice in Nigeria and hugely relied on by old farmers as easily as the illiterate and many others who favor the oral dissemination of data. Oral tradition is an important method of disseminating agricultural information in many African cultures. This is because it recognizes existing traditional or indigenous channels of data dispersal.
Furthermore, Lwoga, et al. (2011) in their study on access and utilization of agricultural information and knowledge in Tanzania reports that the major sources of data for farmers are predominantly local (neighbors’, friends and kin) which entails that their major sources of information are traditional. To emphasize the importance of traditional information in Africa, Aina (1995) points out that one of the sources of information for many farmers in Africa is traditional. That is information obtained not from official sources directly, but through colleagues or family members.
Moreover, Aina opined that, though the majority of the farmers in Africa are illiterate, it is possible to provide them with necessary information through the information gate- keepers popularly known in North Western Nigeria as SARKIN NOMA (Information gatekeeper), who is a literate farmer among the farming community with a wealth of experience and vast country. The purpose of a SARKIN NOMA is to provide advice and information on a regular basis to other farmers for improvement. The contention by Ugboma (2010) buttresses the various studies cited, where in a study conducted on access to agricultural information by fish farmers in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria, Ugboma observed that 63% of the respondents indicates that, their source of information is through traditional, as well as personal experience. The same source has been possible in the Northern region of Ghana since funerals, naming ceremonies, weeding, and more often communal labor and togetherness are revered, however, information on this source can be falsified if it is taken and driven home by a person who has in-depth knowledge of the field.
The Role Of Icts As An Innovative Tool In The Dissemination Of Agriculture Information
The role of ICTs particularly radio, video and mobile phones can accelerate agricultural growth by improving access to information on government agricultural policies in Ghana. They can provide useful and relevant information to resolve problems of individual farmers as well as smallholder farming communities by enabling individuals and families to discover and gain fresh accomplishments and technologies and also share innovations globally. This will serve to further the transfer of knowledge for sustainable and equitable agricultural development and help to bring about increased production in farming activities and improved livelihoods of the smallholder farmers.
This is further supported by Soriano (2007) that through ICT use, at that place are more benefits associated with economic aspects of increased earnings and output. From the position of agricultural information and knowledge systems (AKIS), ICT can be regarded as a useful instrument in improving linkages between research, farmers and agricultural extension.
On the other hand, communication, thinking must also contemplate the environment it operates in. In developing nations like Ghana, easy access to state-of-the-art ICT technologies, particularly in rural areas, is far-fetched at least in the short term. Traditional communication media still seems one of the best choices for the use of communication and conveyance of knowledge on agricultural policies. Founded on his study led in India Kumar (2006) asserts “Even when modern media have penetrated isolated areas, the older forms maintain their validity, especially when utilized to influence attitudes, instigate action and encourage change. Extensive experience shown that traditional patterns of communication can be effective in breaking up the superstitions, archaic perceptions and unscientific that people have inherited every bit part of tradition and which are hard to alter if the benefits of change are strong to demonstrate (Kumar, 2006).
One of the traditional communication tools, Radio, is withal the most accessible, affordable and most widely used mass medium in many rural communities in Ghana. It is Often the only mass medium in rural regions. Myers (2008) emphasizing the importance of mass communications in Africa stated that Radio seems to have established itself as a developmental tool, especially with the rise of community and local radios, which have facilitated a far more participatory and horizontal type of communication than was possible with the older, centralized broadcasting model of the 1960s and 70s. There appears also to have been a re-discovery of radio in the context of new ICTs, a realization that technology has made radio into a more two-way medium and that it can help bridge the digital divide by providing a powerful tool for data dissemination and access, especially for difficult-to-reach rural audiences.
Congruent with the argument, GTZ (2003) reported that print media work well with public exposure of government agricultural policies. They include newspapers, bill stickers, picture albums, wrappers, folders, stickers, calendars, etc. Compared to other media, print has the vantage of being relatively cheap, as well as safer to memorize because of the fact that written words or pictures to stick better in mind. This medium is comparatively low-priced and available for a wide range of people (GTZ, 2003).
When it comes to farmers a hand-on practical instruction is important. Trainings, field visits and practical demonstrations are important knowledge sharing tools as knowledge is mostly embedded in farmers’ practices. Robert (2003) explained that farmers and their families teach in informal contexts; such as in a field, under a tree in a village, or in a meeting way. Teaching materials should be in terminology farmers’ use and interpret, with examples. Most importantly, they need to be in language farmers’ use and interpret. Method and result demonstrations on fields are needed (Robert, 2003). Aside from the above, the lingering question mostly post to many smallholders farmers is the sorts of communication challenge they confront in their rural residential districts.
Relevance Of The Radio In Dissemination Of Agricultural Information
Wireless is one of the effective ways of communicating agricultural messages such as technologies and best drills that can help farmers improve production. This tin be accomplished through different programs like radio forums tailored to local communities. Dodds (1999) opined about the relevance of the radio in spreading of farming information with examples of the 50% of Zambian farmers who supported that their crop yields increased by listening to the radio programs on agricultural extension education.
Paired with that, the availability and economic consumption of radio in spreading of agricultural information helping farmers to improve production with quality in order to gain more profit. Djankov et al., (2001) further reported that independent radio broadcasting services have been found to be positive about rural development issues such as programs focusing on improving rural lives through farming and functioning markets. It was found in Indonesia that, vegetable farmers used the monetary values that were being spread by their local radios as a beginning point in negotiating with traders a day before the market day (Shepherd, 2000). This causes the farmers to sell their produce at the right price and time instead of being under represented by the middle men. A similar Study in Pakistan confirmed that widely available information on prevailing market costs for seed cotton strengthened farmers’ position when bargaining with traders (Mwakaje, 2010).
Role Of Mobile Phone To Access Agricultural Information Mobile Phone Offers Easy Accessibility Of Information To The Users.
There is widespread use of mobile phones by farmers and extension workers as a result of them inflate of mobile phones across the African continent during the information exchange which is very useful to both parties in improving the agricultural activities. Different researches have been taken to determine the extent of the usefulness of mobile phones in agricultural development. For example; Kwadwo and Ayalew (2011) indicated that in the Philippines, the Nutrient Management for Rice Mobile program send the information to the rice farmers via their mobile phones about the optimal timing of harvesting and planting, application of the right amount and type of fertilizers at every growth stage. This can facilitate the farmers in the room that they maximize on the crop produce as well as minimizing on the losses through rice growth monitoring. The farmers and extension workers are able to dial a toll-free number and hear a voice command in their preferred local language, which after prompt them to use their keypad to answer 12 to 15 questions about their rice harvest.
Some other work by Jensen (2007) in Kerala state of India indicates that adoption of mobile phones by fishermen helped in reducing price dispersion, elimination of waste, and adherence to one price, thereby benefitting both fishermen and dealers. According to Kwadwo and Ayalew (2011) in Ghana, Esoko, a local company, implemented Cocoa link, a pilot program that provides cocoa farmers with useful info about improving farming practices, farm safety, crop disease prevention, postharvest and production. In this plan, farmers receive information and specific replies to questions at no charge through voice and SMS messages in their local language or English. Likewise in India, Reuters Market Light (RML) sends four SMS messages a day to its subscribers, farmers who subscribe to the system receive information about the weather, crops, and the current and projected commodity prices at different markets (Kwadwo and Ayalew, 2011). The studies by Jensen (2007) and Kwadwo (2011) have all fail to consider the illiteracy nature of the rural agriculture, farmers, they also neglect to see the multiplicity of languages of the African nations.
Another model that demonstrates the usefulness of a mobile phone in helping farmer activities is the utilization of mobile phones to synchronize production practices with export market requirements in Colombo (De Silva, 2008), and the usage of mobile phones by grain traders in Niger to obtain pricing information in other markets (Aker, 2008).
Accessibility and Timeliness of Television in Dissemination of Agricultural Information
Video is also becoming an important tool utilized by the farmers in rural residential districts. Granting to the Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA, 2012), television is used by about 26% of Tanzanians. The primary reason why television is becoming popularly used among the masses is that masses are able to easily capture information which builds their learning skills through educational programs about health and agricultural development (Buren, 2000). Much of its success in teaching lies in the unique combination of sight and sound; and this pairing of audio and visual stimuli has proven that it can alter human behavior and ultimately improves farmer teaching (Sher et al., 2004).
TV is one of the important and effective information and communication tools available today which can be employed effectively to transfer agricultural information among the farming communities. Aside from using the radio and mobile phone in accessing agricultural information,
Television is seen every bit unitary in the It is one powerful channel of communication which conveys information very fast and it holds the potential of providing information very well to large audiences dispersed over wide geographical regions. Efficient usage of television would also help the smallholder farmers in the region to obtain different information which is significant in improving agricultural productivity. Sher (2001) described that significance of television for rural residential districts and development of farming cannot be refused as it brings on many agriculture programs for the rural communities in their local languages.
The triple tool in the public exposure of government Agriculture Policies
The three ICTs interested in this study, i.e. radio, tv and mobile phone have distinct strength and failings. For that understanding, the complementarities between them is very much encouraged so as to make certain that the information brought to farmers is adequate and of high caliber. Jung (2013) contends that the listeners of radio have moved from being passive consumers to active participants. They utilize their mobile phone to shout or send SMS when a certain programs and policies are being lead and require different questions they receive. Therefore mobile phone has helped the radio to establish rapport with the listeners/farmers. Mostly the role of novel technology (mobile telephone set) by radio station has taken a qualitative improvement in the services they offer, allowing for greater speed in processing and spreading data and thus filling the demands of many farmers Jung (2013).
Researches from different field of endeavor have also reported a behavior relating to TV viewing through smart phone. For example, Jung (2013) reported that smart phones offer various services including web surfing and TV watching. Yet in a real sense this is affordable to only a low proportion of the literate smallholder farmers in Ghana. Maybe the mobile phone owners use their device to get relevant data on TV programs they are interested in watching and then mobile phone may offer complementarities for consumption.
We can as well honor the radio-television simulcast programs. DIA (2002) discovered that the connection between radio and television is characterized not merely by a degree of complementary, but likewise the two ICTs draw information on the same sources. The complementarities between radio and television can also be considered in the allocation of listening hours of their respective audiences. Sometimes radio and television operate in a complementary way with one ICT airing a certain program, later on the other ICT repeat the same program.
Generally, ICT in Ghana is acknowledged as possessing the potential to speed up the socio- economic evolution of the country (Esselaar et al., 2001; Mwakaje, 2010). This stems from the fact that the monetary value of such technologies has turned down, making it possible for many farmers to own mobile telephones, as well as accessing other ICT facilities including the radio and television (Mwakaje, 2010). The power to own ICT facilities by farmers allows government extension services in the state to apply ICTs in providing agricultural information and training to the rural smallholder farmers for better Agricultural productivity. Rao (2007) added that, ICT can accelerate agricultural growth by facilitating knowledge management. One manner of wielding the knowledge is to implant it into products, where it is more easily distributed. This tin be performed through a wide scope of activities including effective information management, i.e. gathering, filtering, sorting, storing and then disseminating (Rao, 2007).
Since it was observed that mobile phone, radio and television are suitable for the provision and dissemination of agricultural information among smallholder farmers, it was thus necessary to seek out their strength in terms of accessibility, relevance and timeliness of the data they supply and explore how they can complement each other to communicate the character information to farmers.
Forms Of Agriculture Communication
Verbal And Written Agriculture Communication
Verbal and written communications have different strengths and weaknesses. In line, the decision to communicate verbally or in written form can be a potent one. Every bit we’ll examine below, each style of communication has particular strengths and pitfalls. When determining whether to communicate verbally or in writing, ask yourself: Do I desire to convey facts or opinions? Verbal communications are a safer way to express feelings. Written communications do a more honest job of communicating facts.
Picture a manager making a speech to a squad of 20 employees. The manager speaks at a normal rate. The employees appear interested. But how much information is being sent? Likely not every bit much as the speaker believes. The fact is that humans listen much more flying than they talk. The average public speaker communicates at a velocity of around 125 words a minute, and that pace sounds fine to the audience. (In fact, anything faster than that probably would sound strange. To place that number in perspective, someone having an excited conversation speaks at approximately 150 words a minute.) Based on these numbers, we could accept that the audience holds more than enough time to pack in each word the speaker gives up, which actually produces a problem. The median individual in the audience can hear 400 to 500 words a min (Lee & Hatesohl, 2008). The audience holds more than adequate time to get a line. As a consequence, their minds may wander.
As you can image, oral communication is the most frequently used form of communication, but it is also an inherently flawed medium for conveying specific facts. Listeners’ minds wander. It’s nothing personal—in fact, it’s a completely normal psychological occurrence. In business, once we understand this fact, we can make more intelligent communication choices based on the kind of information we want to convey
Most tasks require more or less degree of authorship. Granting to the National Commission on Writing, 67% of salaried employees in large American companies and professional state employees receive some sort of writing responsibility. Half of responding companies reported that they take writing into consideration when hiring professional employees, and 91% always take writing into account when hiring (Flink, 2007). Luckily, it is potential to learn to write intelligibly.
Here are some tips on doing it well. Thomas Jefferson summed up the principles of writing well with this idea: “Don’t use two words when one will do.” Put another way, half the words can cause double the shock. One of the oldest myths in business is that writing more will make us sound more important. The opposite is also true. Leaders who can put across simply and clearly project a stronger picture than those who compose a lot but read nothing
What you say is a vital piece of any communication. Astonishingly, what you don’t say can be even more significant. Inquiry shows that nonverbal cues can also touch on whether or not you make a job offer. Judges examining videotapes of actual applicants were able to assess the social skills of job candidates with the sound turned off. They observed the rate of gesturing, time spent letting the cat out of the bag, and formality of dress to determine which candidates would be the most socially successful on the job (Gifford, Ng, ; Wilkinson, 1985). Research also shows that 55% of in-person communication comes from nonverbal cues such as facial expressions, body posture, and tone of voice. Granting to one survey, only 7% of a receiver’s comprehension of a message is grounded in the sender’s actual words, 38% is based on paralanguage (the feel, gait, and intensity of speech), and 55% is based on nonverbal cues (body language) (Mehrabian, 1981). To be effective communicators, our body language, appearance, and tone must align with the words we’re straining to communicate. Inquiry indicates that when individuals are lying, they are more likely to blink more frequently, shift their weight, and shrug (Siegman, 1985)
The growth of e-mail has been dramatic, but it has also created challenges in handling data and increasing the speed of managing jobs. Over 100 million adults in the United States use email at least once a day (Taylor, 2002). Internet users around the world send an estimated 60 billion e-mails each day, and a big percentage of these are spam or scam attempts (60 Billion emails sent daily worldwide, 2006). That makes e-mail the second most popular medium of communication worldwide, second only to voice. Less than 1% of all written human communications, even reaches paper these days (Isom, 2008). To combat the overuse of e-mail, companies such as Intel has even established “no email Fridays.” During these times, all communication is done via other communication channels. Learning to be more effectual in your e-mail communications is an important accomplishment. To find out more, check out the OB Toolbox on business e-mail do’s and Don’ts
An important, although often ignored rule when communicating emotional information is that e-mail’s lack of fullness can be your loss. As we found out in the chart above, e-mail is a medium-rich channel. It can convey facts quickly. Only when it comes to emotion, e-mail’s flaws make it a far less desirable choice than oral communication—the 55% of nonverbal cues that create a conversation comprehensible to a listener are missing. Researchers also note that e-mail readers don’t pick up on satire and other tonal aspects of composing as much as the author believes they will (Kruger, 2005).
The sender may think that certain emotional singers have been included in a message. Only, with written words alone, those singers are not there. This gap between the contour and content of e-mail inspired the rise of emoticons—symbols that provide hints to the emotional side of the lyric in each message. Broadly speaking, however, emoticons are not considered professional in commercial enterprise communication.
You might feel uncomfortable conveying an emotionally laden message verbally, particularly when the message contains unwanted news. Sending an e-mail to your staff that there will be no bonuses this year may look easier than revealing the bad news face-to-face, but that doesn’t mean that e-mail is an effective or appropriate way to develop this sort of intelligence. When the message is emotional, the sender should use verbal communication. Indeed, a dependable rule of thumb is that more emotionally laden messages require more thought in the choice of channel and how they are transmitted.
The data sources for farmers depend on the type of work and services they perform. Data sources are tools or data carriers that meet the data needs of extension workers. Many surveys have been carried to find out the type of information sources of agricultural smallholder farmers. Alfred and Odefadehan (2007) identified various information sources of smallholder farmers to include systems, individual associates, local, national and international seminars, workers, trainings, print and electronic media, telecom, and internet service.
Koyenikan (2011) categorized the above mentioned data sources as formal and informal sources. According to him, the formal sources include state radio stations, local and international print media (such as newspapers, newsletters, and journals) and seminars/workshop, while the informal sources are farmers, family acquaintances and personal assessments and assessment. Some other related work conducted out by Farooq, et al (2010) specifically highlighted the role of Agricultural Research Institutes and Agricultural Officers as information sources while Rama and Joan (1996) identified agent in the bureau, agents in other countries, extension specialists, immediate supervisor, news agencies, state/federal agencies, school teachers and administrators as prominent information sources to agricultural extension workers. However, Mugwisi, Ocholla and Mostert (2012), after emphasizing the position of libraries, internet, colleagues, personal and departmental collections, workshops and seminars, argued that farmers preferred print sources face to face interaction.
According to Ajuwon and Odeku (2012), information sources come in great diversity and various sorts, such as print and non-print patterns. Print connotes books, periodicals, bibliographies, maps, indexes and abstracts, photographs, government documents, technical reports etc. It can also be in electronic shape. Non-print materials include audio visual, multimedia, microfilms, electronic records, diaries, pictures, texts/records from the cyberspace, web documents, etc. These data sources can establish in human archives, libraries and the cyberspace.
Idowu (2002) carried a study on use the of agricultural information source among agricultural farmers and extension workers in Nigeria. The findings described the researchers’ scenario as that of being informational deprived, which entails a situation where researchers have too much information and are unable to cull out the best routes. The policy implication of the findings showed that to ameliorate the carrying into action of agricultural researchers and extension workers and for that, farmers in the rural residential districts, the provision of data sources as easily as the facilities to enhance their function is very important in the research institutes and data dissemination systems.
In an era of knowledge economy, information plays an increasing significant function in every arena of the developmental process. Aina (1991) said that farmers need agricultural information for the purpose of understanding how to apply fertilizers, insecticides for pests and disease control, setting materials, and credits and loans. Hartwich et al., (2007) further argue that lack of agricultural information and knowledge among and between farmers and those who raise farm-relevant knowledge is the central issue in pro-poor agricultural growth.
The overwhelming bulk of farmers acquired agricultural information from traders of different companies and neighbor-friend-relative also appeared as another essential source of data. Similarly, the private sector contributes a substantial role in agriculture, information transfer (Yaseen, Siddiqui ; Ameen, 2014)). The role of data and communication technologies in agriculture is imperative, though, big numbers of farmers involve themselves inquiring information, merely a very small number of farmers utilize mobile phones for searching such information. Lack of appropriate knowledge is the major causal agent of this less exploitation of mobile telephone sets for data exploration (Tadesse ; Bahiigwa, 2015).
Most of rural farmers never visited demonstrations, and never took voice in group discussions and lectures (Khartoum, Muhammad, Ashra, ;Pervez, 2013). Thus, the government should legalize private sector to take on their part in the rapid broadcasting of agricultural information among farmers (Arfan, Khan ; Khan, 2013) and they should be provided adult literacy programs to raise their training level and to make productive use agricultural information sources.
Different communication channels as mentioned by researchers are useful for good information literacy and awareness programs for farmers, but the method of such channels in delivering information is key. Mite and Devi (2009) discovered that different channels can be used in getting to identify cases of information needs of farmers in rural Manipur in India. According Otto (2011), the purpose of communication channels or media is of capital importance because the knowledge of it will provide keys for understanding and predicting the effects of communication process. It is common knowledge that the practical visual transfer of knowledge will give a more honest understanding of farmers, especially the rural farmers who are believed to be less literate. Otto (2011), observed that farmers in rural neighborhoods are predominantly not lettered as reading printed media was way far from use by rural farmers from whom the majority of farm produce come. Therefore, it is insisted that exposure to various communication channels in farmers, local terminology is the indirect request of farmers. According to Israel and Willson
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY
In most research endeavours, it is important to adopt the most suitable research methodology to assure the soundness of research findings Cresswell (2003). Hence, this chapter gives a detailed description of methods that were practiced to collect and analyze information from the field. Hussey and Hussey (1997:111), offers a distinction between methodology and methods by explaining that research methodology refers to the overall approach to the research process, from the theoretical underpinning to, the solicitation and analysis of data. Whilst methods refer to the various means by which information can be picked up. More broadly, there are assertions that research methodology defines the domain within which a study can be framed (Jonker an;Pennik, 2010: Wahyuni, 2012). Furthermore, research methodologies can also be aligned to research paradigms, and that is why most social science research has ontological and epistemological standpoints especially with regards to their aims and objectives, the relationship between the researcher and the respondent and as the role of a researcher are concerned (Lee, 1992).
The study seeks to answer fundamental questions regarding farmers information literacy and awareness towards government agricultural policies, sources of this information, channel of communication, barriers to effective communication and how communication can be innovated in order to disseminate the right government, agriculture policies at the time and place to the smallholder farmers in the selected communities in the rural areas in the Northern Region. The theoretical basis of this research incorporates various concepts as discussed in Chapter II. This research includes a detailed analysis of the agriculture data obtained from both principal and secondary roots.
3.1 RESEARCH DESIGN
Even though research designs that are applied in investigating social phenomena abound, this subject area is projected in the contour of a case study (Yin, 2009). Several reasons informed this choice of survey design, especially because it involves real-life phenomena and because case studies are desirable for understanding a phenomenon under study in-depth (Yin, 2012). In summation, this research design facilitates questions that take the form of how and why a particular phenomenon is being investigated (Wahyuni, 2012). Case study, research could use a single instance or multiple events. This work takes an exploratory case study plan by studying communication of government agricultural policies to smallholder farmers in the rural areas in Northern Region (Cooper and Schindler, 2005). The procedure of obtaining data includes in-depth interviewing, participant observation, elite or expert interviews and document analysis. When the above advances are combined, two exploratory techniques emerge with wide applicability for the researcher (Cooper and Schindler, 2001):
1. Secondary Data analysis – the initiative measure in an exploratory study which is the search for secondary information.
2. Experience surveys – when interviewing, research participants, the researcher seeks their ideas about important issues or aspects around the subject at hand for the purpose of discovering what is important across the subject’s range of knowledge.
3.2 RESEARCH APPROACH: MIXED METHODS
This research applied a combination of quantitative and qualitative techniques. Quantitative research techniques are used to collect numerical data and involved the use of statistical analysis to arrive at conclusions while qualitative techniques are used to meaningfully interpret and understand the respondents’ experiences and views about smallholder farmers under study. A combination of quantitative and qualitative methods is adopted because qualitative techniques allow researchers to perceive and appreciate the views of people around a phenomenon under study (Punch, 2005). Apparently, a mixed methods approach is viewed as appropriate for this work because it contains different types of data in answering research questions (Karami et at., 2006).
There are assertions that a mixed method approach is best suited for exploratory research, as the questions posed may not have been done before (Karami, Analoui, and Rowley, 2006; Scandura and Williams, 2000). A mixed method approach also strengthens the credibility and reliability of research as the quantitative components is supported by qualitative aspects of the study (Scandura and Williams, 2000). According to Greene, Caracelli and Graham (1989), mixed?methods approach offers five main benefits, namely:
(1). Triangulation—using different sets of data and methodology in order to test hypotheses and consistency of findings;
(2). Complementarity —confirming the validity of results from one study by employing a different research method;
(3). Development—applying results from one method in the design for further research;
(4). Initiation— challenges research results from one method;
(5). Expansion—developing methods in order to explore them further and garner additional detail.
It is generally known that an assortment of qualitative and quantitative methods provides the most reliable insights and research findings.
Sample size and study population
Malhortra and Peterson (2006) and Zikmund (2003) stated that, the larger the sampling size of a research, the more accurate the data generated but yet, sample sizes differ due to different circumstances. In this inquiry, the sample size was set by using Krejcie, et al (1970) sample size determination formula and table. The entire figure of targeted population in this research would be obtained by collating the number of smallholder Famers in the selected communities. This is possible because of the 2010 population and housing census. Grounded on the sample size table used, the sample size in this research will be 140. But Krejcie and Morgan, (1970) also have a pattern for defining the sample size for any given population. Krejcie and Morgan (1970) sample size:
S = X^2NP (1-P)÷d^2(N-1)+X^2 P(1-P)
S = required sample size.
X^2 = the table value of chi-square for 1 degree of freedom at the desired confidence level
N = the population size.
P = the population proportion (assumed to be.50 since this would provide the maximum Sample size.)
d = the degree of accuracy expressed as a proportion (.05).
The sample size of the study comprised 140 respondents, including the smallholder farmers and subject matter specialists. The survey conformed to the purposive method of study. According to Bryman (2008: 458) “purposive sampling is strategic and entails an effort to show a good balance between research questions and trying out, meaning that the researcher samples on the basis of wanting to interview the great unwashed who are relevant to the research questions.” The survey population consisted of different key informants who are required in communicating agriculture policies to smallholder farmers. The study decided to include farmers as young as 16 years old because most of these are either tied or independent farmers or child headed families that make decisions on their own about their farming activities. The work also admitted the same number of male and female respondents in the focus group discussions so as to understand how communication helps in dissemination of government policies to smallholder farmers in the Region.
3.4 DATA COLLECTION METHODS
3.4.1. Primary Data Collection Methods
The researcher collected both primary and secondary information. The primary data is collected through the use of the following tools: questionnaires and semistructured interviews, observation and survey. An explanation of the research instruments is given at a lower place.
Questionnaires are a simple and effective research tool (Zikmund, 2003). They are cost-effective and reduce distortions in data collection from any ‘interviewer biases introduced during the interview processes. Since this research is trained to identify deeply held personal attitudes, actions and beliefs of farm policies, some of the questions are sensitive in nature, the anonymous nature of the questionnaire would give the respondents the opportunity to show their inner feelings, attitudes and perceptions freely. Additionally, open-ended questions and closed questions were utilized to draw out questions on age, gender and occupation among others. Multiple-choice questions will also be used.
The questionnaire is separated into five sections. Section one (1) sought respondent’s demographic details, notably age, gender, the state their work, their experience and qualifications. The second section is based on the effectiveness of communication on the sources of information on the channel of communication. Part three is on the barriers that impede the smooth flow of communication. The final function will study an advanced scheme that can improve communication among smallholder farmers.
3.5 Interview Transcription
The most significant elements of quality in qualitative research include the severity and dependability in the information analysis operation. One means to accomplish this is through transparency in the inquiry procedure. Interview transcripts form a crucial component of qualitative research (Oliver et al. 2005; Witcher 2010). Transcription of interview transcripts can be natural or de natural. Natural transcription involves the verbatim reproduction of an interview with every utterance, including stuttering, pauses, mannerism and other nonverbal cues all captured. De naturalism, on the other hand, is a transcription approach where non-standard speech patterns are eliminated (Oliver et al. 2005).
To insure the integrity of the information collected, transcription was performed using the naturalism, however, since the audiences were taped recorded into computer-compatible formats, the files are kept and resorted to whenever the naturalism orientation is sought. In gist, the approach adopted will be a cross of the two orientations (Oliver et al. 2005). Each consultation is transcribed and stored up with the identification code as the original sound file. The recording will be performed following the question and response format.
3.6 SECONDARY DATA
In this research, secondary data which will mostly be archival or documentary information that existed prior to this survey was utilized to complement primary data collected purposely for this inquiry. They were obtained from Agriculture Extension Officers. Sanders et al (2000) asserts that secondary information can either be documentary data, survey based data and information from multiple informants. The primary advantage of using secondary information is because it takes less time to collect given that they already exist prior to collecting primary data. More often, secondary data complement primary data, building up for the deficits of the other or providing confirmation. This complementarity is seen as data ‘triangulation’ with a potential of increasing the credibility of research findings (Frankfort-Nachmias and Nachmias 2007).
3.7 DATA ANALYSIS
3.7.1 Quantitative Analysis
In analyzing data obtained from the survey, the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS 21v) software was utilized to present descriptive and inferential statistics. Basic forms of descriptive statistics such as means, frequencies, and standard deviations were gleaned from the dataset to demonstrate and describe key findings and draw informed conclusions (Lawrence, 2006). Chi-square tests were applied to determine significant relationships between variables of communication.
3.7.2 Qualitative analysis
Qualitative content analysis is defined by Mayring (2000: 5) as ‘an approach of empirical, methodological controlled analysis of texts within their context of communication, content analysis, rules and step by step models.’ It is a means by which data are explored to understand the substance of individuals or groups confronted with social or human problems (Creswell, 2007). In this study, data were obtained through primary sources such as, interview and questionnaire.