This study assessed the perception of extension communication among coco-yam farmers in Edo State, Nigeria. From fifty farmers, data were collected, using structured questionnaire complimented with interview schedule and analysed using simple descriptive statistics like simple frequency table, percentages, mean and correlation used for hypothesis text showed. The results showed that coco-yam farmers in three local government areas received information on coco-yam technologies production through extension agents and meetings with others farmers. The contact farmers indicated that they have much higher yields (600-1000kg\acre, with43.1%, frequency of 22 as a result of contact with extension agents, which is an economic effect, which also has raised their social status, improved their skills and increased their knowledge. However, this has shown that the Edo Agricultural Development Programme communication system has an impact on coco-yam production and hence it was found effective. The study concluded that, it was found that the communication system has made much impact on farming and farmers, lives in terms of knowledge, economic benefit, social status, skills and attitude. It was recommended that the local government councils should encourage farmers by providing small scale processing and storage facilities in order to prevent glut during season and scarcity of season.
1.1 BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Extension has been defined as a process directed to bring about changes in the behavior and life style of farmers and rural people. Farm families have seen to be helped to improve step by step (Johnson, 2003). According to Adereti and Ajayi (2005), extension can be defined as an informal out of school system of education designated to help rural people to satisfy their needs interest and desires.
Communication in agricultural extension leads to improve agricultural production of crops and livestock’s through giving relevant information about pest and diseases, also to give relevant information’s about proven agricultural technologies according to Fliese (1984), Communication is a vital issue in agriculture, conveying, improve and recommended agricultural practices through extension workers to clients in order to improve on their agricultural production and in marketing of their produce (Williams, 1989). On the other hand, agricultural extension is an out of school education for rural people. An extension agent is responsible for providing knowledge and information on particular innovations and through communication, he passes such, to farmers. (Ajayi and Gunn 2009)
According to Remison (2005). The term Coco-yam (colocasia esculentus and xanthosoma sagittifolium) is used to refer collectively to member of genus colocasia and the genus xanthosoma which are grown for food in many parts of Africa, especially the wetter parts. They are grown in small plots, often intercropped with food or cash crops. They are volunteer crops in many places and can be classified as minor crops considering the level of attention given to them by farmers. The plants of both species are similar, but the long and short petiole of colocasia is attached to the leaf blade at same point in the middle of the blade not to its edge. The plant of xanthosoma are larger and the leaves are sagittate with triangular basal lobes. They are more prolific in growth and earlier than colocosia. Some authorities refers to colocosia as old coco-yam and xanthosoma as new cocoyam. Taro originated in south central Asia from where it spread to the rest of Africa. Tannia originated in central and south America and were it was first cultivated. There, it was introduced to Africa in the nineteen century, much later than taro. Hence, it is sometimes called new cocoyam. About three quarters of world production comes from Africa and there is probably a greater production of tannia than taro.
According to Onwuere, and Sinba (1991), Law and Peter (2012). Cocoyam has the following uses: fresh corms and cormels of cocoyam can be consumed after being boiled, baked or roasted or fried in oil, boiled corms and cormels are pounded into a paste (“fufu”), similarly, to pounded yam eaten with stew or soup; cocoyam leaves are used for human food, eaten as vegetables in the various part of the world, including several countries in the tropics as it is very nutritious with 20% protein on a dry weight basis, with appreciable amounts of vitamins and minerals, leaves must not be eaten raw but boiled before consumption as it is irritating if eaten raw, corms and leaves of cocoyam can be used as animal feeds, the leaves should be converted to silage before using as a feed top prevent irritation to the animals; the corms of tannia are reserved as planting materials as the corms tend to be woody, coco yam; used as flour after processing by peeling, slicing, (fresh or cooked), drying and milling into flour, cocoyam used as poi after processing by cooking, mashing, stroning bargging (where slight fermentation occur), young shorts of cocoyam’s are sometimes balanced and eaten like asparagus, cocoyam is used for cellulous, soup a favour dish in Trinidad, is made by boiling the chopped up tannia of the leaf with okra, herm and crops, which is now being canned. The peel of cocoyam can be utilized as feed for ruminants rather than been discarded. Taro is used specially for the potentially allegic persons for the treatment of gastro-intestinal disorder.
The people in Edo State consumes cocoyam as a form of dish-popularly known as “porage”. The cocoyam is produced within and all over the state, especially in areas like Iguere, Ehor, Ugiehudu, Oke, Orua, Agboinkaka, Odiguetue Iruckpen Irue etc.
As part of extension delivery, the Edo State ADP on it own has extended its communication services to farmer in some villages earlier mention where cocoyam farmers now practiced or carry out other crops. However, at Oke, Ehor, Iruekpen, Orua, Iguere which are in Orhomwon, Esan south – west and uhumwode local government areas, success has been found within the cocoyam farmers, as they now used it particularly for major cover crops for tree crops like cocoa, rubber, plantain, cola, palm, hence they have added values as the leaves of cocoyam helps in absorbing thunder lighting and acts as shade and smodar of weeds and shade for tree crops thereby assisting them in minimizing used of land, labour and capital (maintenance cultural practices in crop production),
1.2 PROBLEM STATEMENT
Cocoyam nutritionally, haven’t seen it as very rich in carbohydrate, protein, minerals, vitamins and it high medicinal value especially when the succulent tender leaves are slice and cooks as vegetables soup for consumption, this crop as a matter of fact, serves in some other ways, such as cover crop for some permanent crops such as cola, palm oil, rubber, cocoa, in their young growth stages, haven’t know it to be an arable crop. But a lot of people under estimate it, and opts not to have considered it useful and profitable just like yam or cassava, plantain. However, because of these attributes, cocoyam has it and will fit into federal government food security programme, especially as it is obvious as noted by the growing population in the country is experiencing food defects that has caused the Nigerian government to have spent a lot of money in Nigeria industries. Therefore cocoyam as a crop should be given priority for extension, going by it value in nutritional, medicinal, industrial benefits hence questions researchers sorts to answer are:
1. What are the socio-economics characteristics?
2. Will cocoyam production technologies be introduced to farmer by Agricultural Development Programme (ADP) and through what means or information sources?
3. What is the level of adoption of Agricultural Information?
4. What is the attitude of farmer towards technology information on cocoyam?
5. What constraint farmers have in adopting the technologies in cocoyam production?
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The broad objective of this study was to assess the perception of extension communication among coco yam farmers in Edo State, Nigeria.
The specific objectives of the study were to:
- examine socio-economic characteristics of cocoyam farmers in the study area;
- identify cocoyam production technologies introduced to farmers by ADP, and through what information source;
- determine the level of adoption of information;
- determine the attitude of farmers towards information received; and
- identify constraints faced by respondents in adopting cocoyam technologies.
The hypothesis of the study is stated in the null form as follows:
- There is no significant difference between respondents, socio-economic characteristics and frequency of seeking information, technology utilization, awareness and adoption of cocoyam technologies.
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study is importance because its recommendation will be useful to government, policy makers, ADP, farmers individuals and researchers in areas of decision making and implementation with regard to cocoyam farmer’s perception on technologies utilization, sourcing and adoption. It will be a source of empirical data on level of technology utilization, hence, it enrich database of cocoyam production in Edo State, Nigeria.