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CLIMATE CHANGE INFORMATION NEEDS OF RURAL FARMERS IN ENUGU STATE, NIGERIA

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CLIMATE CHANGE INFORMATION NEEDS OF RURAL FARMERS IN ENUGU STATE, NIGERIA

 

 

ABSTRACT

 

Adaptation is considered an appropriate response to climate change and variability, especially for

rural farmers. However, the farmers’ ability to effectively respond to climate change challenges

is determined by the quality of information available to the farmers and how easily the

information is accessed. The study sought to assess the information needs of rural farmers on

climate change. A total of I52 respondents were selected using multistage sampling technique.

Percentages, mean scores, standard deviations, factor analysis and multiple linear regression

model were used in data analysis and presentation. The findings show that all the respondents

indicated awareness of climate change. However, the knowledge score used indicated that none

of the respondents had high knowledge on climate change. The respondents’ major and

perceived reliable sources of knowledge were personal observations and friends. These

information sources according to the findings were useful especially on adaptation. The major

areas of information needs of the farmers on adaptation were use of improved varieties,

occupational diversification, use of weed tolerant varieties, change in timing of farm operations,

use of herbicides and pesticides and incorporating residue into the soil. However the findings

indicate that the following were the perceived major constraints to effective communication of

climate change: poor communication linkage between scientists, extension agents and farmers,

lack of proper enlightenment, lack of participatory approach to communication, poor use of local

dialect in translation and communication of climate change information jargon to rural farmers,

lack of communication facilities etc.

 

The respondents’ perceived strategies that can be used for

effective communication of climate change information were: use of vernacular through mass

media to disseminate climate change information, use of participatory approach in

communicating climate change information, incorporating the needs, perception and concern of

the target audience and ensuring relevance of information to the target audience, ensuring

reliability of information, use of credible experts who have knowledge of vernacular, and

bridging the communication gap between scientists, extension agents and farmers. Other

strategies include: use of local and religious leaders to disseminate climate change information,

use of local languages (dialect) and folks, use of audio visual aids and provision of timely

information, training of communicators of climate change information, strengthening agricultural

extension delivery system, provision of communication facilities by government to climate

change communicators, and use of service providers to disseminate climate change information

through short message service. The findings reveal that the following had significant influence

on knowledge level (p≤0.05): years spent in formal education, membership of social/religious

organization, number of climate change training, farm size, marital status, access to credit, and

climate change training.

 

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