ANALYSIS OF GENDER ACCESS TO AND UTILISATION OF VETERINARY EXTENSION SERVICES IN EBONYI STATE
Price: 2000 Naira (BSC, MSC)
1.1 Background of the Study
Livestock production is a source of employment and livelihood in Nigerian agriculture. A large percentage of the rural people satisfy their subsistence needs through livestock production which involves the rearing and marketing of livestock. This class of animals includes cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, and poultry. According to Tewe (1997) Nigeria’s livestock resources include 13,885,813 cattle, 34,453,724 goats, 22,092,602 sheep, 3,406,381 pigs and 104,247,960 poultry. Traditionally managed stock is over 85% for all species while commercially managed is only significant for poultry at 13.8% and to a lesser extent for pigs at 3.24%. Livestock production management practices vary according to the group of livestock in question. Large and small ruminant production is characterized by two types of management practices; the traditional or range system and the modern ranch or commercial system. The extensive scavenging system, the semi intensive system and intensive (commercialized) systems are the predominant management systems for pig production. The traditional or free range system and the commercialized production which can be by battery cages or deep liter method are the two prevalent management systems in poultry production. Livestock contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has increased from Naira 992.91 million in 1973-74 to N5.684 billion in 1996. However, its percentage contribution to the GDP has not changed dramatically, accounting for only 3.54% of the GDP in 1973-74 and increasing to a mere 3.79 by 1996. It actually suffered a decline in 1995, accounting for only 3.35% of the GDP in that year (National Rolling Plan 1997-1999).
Livestock diseases in Nigeria have seriously influenced the productivity of livestock population. As a result of the devastating outcome of livestock diseases, animal protein output has not been able to meet up with the national demand. Livestock diseases can be infection or non-infectious. Livestock disease can also be communicable; such diseases are easily transmitted from one host to another through direct contact whether by inhalation or body contact. There are also zoonotic livestock diseases which infect both man and animals e.g. anthrax and tuberculosis. (Saibu 1991). The prevention and control of animal diseases is a frequently reoccurring problem at all national and international levels which usually brings about direct action being taken by veterinary services. According to Majiyagbe and Lamide (1997), in Nigeria the loss of livestock exists at a much higher rate than in developed countries and at times such production losses range between 30 and 40% which could be estimated at a minimum of 200 million Naira per annum at 1981 price.
In order to prevent this trend, veterinary services are currently provided in southwestern Nigeria. The services make the farmer aware of livestock management in terms of prevention and control of animal diseases. The outreach clinics are located in different parts where services such as advisory, treatment, control are provided to the livestock farmers. From the foregoing, the study intends to seek answers to the questions of farmers’ awareness and contact with contact veterinary centers for services. The objective of the study is to determine the awareness, access and benefits of veterinary services to farmers. Also, significant relationships between awareness of the services and the benefit derived from veterinary services were explored in the paper.
Agriculture remains the nation’s main economic bedrock employing 70 – 80 percent of the total population, mostly on a subsistence level (Asiabaka and Owens, 2002). However, in spite of the potentialities and prospects of producing food and population growth is a serious problem in Nigeria today. According to Agbamu (2005), sequel to the food situation in many developing societies, which are predominantly agricultural, finding how to raise productivity among the rural poor in these countries have become of the two or three most urgent questions confronting the International development community today. Agricultural development implies a shift from traditional methods of production that include new technological components such as new varieties, cultural practices, commercial fertilizers and pesticides as well as new crops and new farming systems (Agbamu 2005).
Consequently, a wide range of policies and approaches have been formulated in most of these countries (Nigeria inclusive) to reverse the worsening food and agricultural trends towards sustained agricultural growth. This has necessitated putting in place a combination of factors comprising the right technology, effective extension, access to physical inputs, adequate market support services and some infrastructures to improve agricultural productivity and raise the standard of living of rural dwellers. (Aphamu and Obikhian, 2008).
The agricultural extension services operates from the back drop belief that increased agricultural productivity depends primarily upon the acceptance of improved cultural and technological change at the rural farm level and that peasant farmers can achieve higher farm yield only if they adopt recommended scientific farming techniques in place of their traditional practices (Aphum and Obikhian, 2008), moreover, Aphum and Obikhian have posited that successful adoption of improved farming techniques is predicted upon rural farmers acquiring the knowledge and understanding of these technologies, a process most effectively accomplished by the Agricultural Development Programme (ADP) extension strategy was based on the premise that a combination of essential factors comprising of the right technology, effective extension, access to physical production enhancing input, adequate market and other infrastructural facilities are essential ingredient to get agriculture moving and to improve productivity in order to raise the living standard of rural dwellers (Braimah, 1992). However, there seems to be a gap existing between these strategies and the utilization of the many impressive research results at the production end and hence no appreciable impact on the overall agricultural production (Omotayo, 2001). Preconditions for extension agents to be effective include ability to communicate, altitude to extension work, and frequency of contact with farmers and field responsibility which are examined from the view points of the farmers. The proposition is that the accomplishment of extension services (ADP) goals depends primarily on the effectiveness of the extension agents achieving the programme objectives. This study therefore sought to determine how extension services could be done through women community development groups.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Over the years, our rural farmers depend on indigenous or local or local knowledge for improved farming system/animal husbandry. Such knowledge (indigenous or local knowledge) refers to skill and experience gained through oral tradition and practice over many generations (Nonm, 1988). Acquisition of such primitive skill by our rural farmers e.g. rural farmers in Local Government Area of Ebonyi state have not helped to improve agricultural yield (Obidike, 2011).
All that is witnessed in our rural agricultural system range from poor farm yield, emergence of new crops and diseases, resistant plant weeds and pests that attack farm crops, old farm implements, poor quality fertilizer etc. Agricultural information are always meant to get to rural farmers through extension workers, community’s libraries, radio, television, film shows, state and local government agricultural agencies etc. (Obidike, 2011).
However, women form one of the segments of the society that is disproportionately represented below poverty line (Corbett, 2006). It is also in record that 83% of the poor in Nigeria are women (Adebayo and Amao, 2003). In the rural areas a large number of women are illiterate, very poor, have high rate of infection and are economically oppressed (Essien, 2000). Ani (2002) observed that only a small fraction of women in Nigeria had the benefit of higher education and that the majority is engaged in petty trading and peasant farming. Despite the low educational and poor economic background of Nigerian women, they are still responsible for more than half of the nation’s food basket and contribute more than two-thirds of the working hours in the farms (Barret et al., 2001). They also reported that African women are responsible for 60% of micro processing activities especially the processing of Agricultural produce.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The broad objective of the study is to analysis of gender access to utilization of veterinary extension services in Ebonyi State. The specific objectives are to:
- ascertain the socio-economic characteristics of the women agricultural cooperatives members;
- examine if women agricultural cooperative societies are exposed to agricultural extension services;
- identify the agricultural technologies the members are exposed to and the level of awareness of those technologies.
- appraise the trial and adoption profile of the agricultural technologies amongst the women cooperative members and,
- examine the challenges faced by the women agricultural cooperative members in adopting improved agricultural technologies.
1.4 Hypothesis of the Study
H1: There is no significant gender access to utilization of veterinary extension services in Ebonyi State
H2: There is no significant relationship between the level of awareness of agricultural technologies of extension agents and the adoption of agricultural technologies.
1.5 Significance of this Study
The most important of this study is to contribute to the body of knowledge by analyzing of gender access to and utilization of veterinary extension service and help and also give hint to other research have detail to work with.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The scope of this study is centered on examining and analyzing of gender access to and utilization of veterinary extension services in Ebonyi state.
1.7 Limitation of the Study
Theresearchworkislimitedand analysis of gender access to and utilization of veterinary extension services in Ebonyi state.Themainconstraintoftheresearchisdividedintothefollowing parts.
- Timeconstraints-duetotheshorttimegivenforthestudy,the researchercouldnotgetalltherequiredinformationneededforthe study.
- Finance-asaresultofmoneyconstrainttheresearcherhadnot enoughmoneytocarryoutthestudybeyondthelevel.The researchercouldnotvisitplaceswherenecessaryinformation relevantto thestudycouldbeobtained.
- Attitudeofrespondents–someoftherespondentswereunwillingtocooperatewiththeresearcherbecausetheyfelt,theyhavenothing tobenefitfromthestudybothfinanciallyandotherwise.Besides theywereafraidoflosingtheirjobs,ifallinformationneededare releasedto theresearcher.
1.8 Definition of Term
Agricultural extension: is the application of scientific research and new knowledge to agricultural practices through farmer education. The field of ‘extension’ now encompasses a wider range of communication and learning activities organized for rural people by educators from different disciplines, including agriculture, agricultural marketing, health, and business studies.
Veterinary medicine: is the branch of medicine that deals with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease, disorder and injury in non-human animals. The scope of veterinary medicine is wide, covering all animal species, both domesticated and wild, with a wide range of conditions which can affect different species.
Veterinary physician, usually called a vet, which is shortened from veterinarian (American English) or veterinary surgeon (British English), is a professional who practices veterinary medicine by treating diseases, disorders, and injuries in animals.
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