AGRICULTURAL INFORMATION SOURCES AND THE PRODUCTION CAPACITY OF CASSAVA FARMERS IN AKWA IBOM NORTH WEST SENATORIAL DISTRICT
1.1 Background of the Study
Human race is totally dependent on agriculture and information, and as the world population continues to grow, there must be continuous reassessment of agricultural practices to optimize their efficiency and productivity. In the quest for human capital development especially to help developing countries like Nigeria to reduce poverty and promote food security, improvement of agricultural produce was chosen as a major means of poverty alleviation. Therefore, different programmes were initiated at different times in different locations to provide agricultural information to the rural and urban farmers towards boosting their production capacity. Nigeria was privileged to be one of such chosen countries for these agricultural project, such projects were carried out by different bodies such as the technical centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (TCARC) which was established in 1983 with the mandate of developing and providing services that will improve access to information for enhancing agricultural production (Olawu, 2008). It was aimed at enabling local farmers to access, acquire, exchange and utilize information in all areas of agricultural produce to boost production.
Capacity can be defined as the maximum output that a business can produce in a given period with the available resources. Production capacity is usually measured in production units such as in kilograms. The production capacity of agricultural produce is determined by a plan, in terms of the production list and assortment, as well as quantitative relationships. The plan is based on the fullest utilization of agricultural information, production machines and equipment, planting space, advanced technology and organization of labour. Production capacity in this context can be defined as the maximum output of cassava that a farmer can produce in a given period with the available resources at his disposal.
In recent times, attention has been focused on the provision of agricultural information to all the farmers as well as agricultural information user population and not restricted to research scientists, as is the case in most agricultural libraries in Nigeria. The provision of agricultural information to extension officers and farmers through libraries, extension agent, televisions, radio, neighbors, friends, cooperative societies, posters, newspaper and pamphlets are neglected by the cassava farmers and this also hinders increase agricultural production of cassava in Nigeria and Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District in particular.