This study was carried out to investigate the Information services Provision for access and

utilization of Agricultural Science Students by National Agricultural Extension Research and

Liaison Services, (NAERLS) Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria. Six research questions

were raised to guide the study. The questions found out the types of agricultural information

services for access and use by agricultural science students from NAERLS, ABU, Zaria, the

level of awareness of agricultural science students on agricultural information services provided

by NAERLS, ABU, Zaria, the preferred channels of accessing agricultural information services

by the students, the extent to which agricultural science students utilize agricultural information

services by NAERLS, the level of satisfaction of agricultural science students with agricultural

information services by NAERLS and the attendant challenges agricultural science students face

in accessing and utilizing agricultural information services by NAERLS, ABU Zaria. The study

adopted quantitative research method and descriptive research design. The population of the

study was 995 and a sample size of 320 was drawn for the study. The instrument used for data

collection was the questionnaire, while proportionate stratified random sampling technique was

used in selecting respondents for the study. Data collected were analysed using frequency tables,

simple percentages and descriptive mean of standard deviation. Findings revealed that

agricultural science students of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria access and use services like

technical/scientific and commercial agricultural information services but others are not aware of

these services. Owing to low level of or non awareness, the students would not highly utilize

agricultural information services. And if for obvious reasons accessing and utilizing some of

these services, the preferred channels are through recommended practices, researches and

training and visits. Ratings on satisfaction were low which could not be far from the fact that the

services were not highly accessed and utilized by the students. Among the attributed challenges

to the utilization of agricultural information services are, but not limited to technophobia and

lack of proper orientation. The study concluded that agricultural science students of Ahmadu

Bello University Zaria are interested in access and use of Agricultural Extension Information

Services (AEIS) but not up to date, and not much aware of the AEIS of NAERLS. Many do not

know of the existence of such information services in NAERLS even though they are available.

It is recommended that awareness should be created on the availability of these agricultural

information services as they are of importance to the entire students of Ahmadu Bello University

Zaria and not the agricultural science students alone. Also efforts should be intensified on

creating a pact between NAERLS, their international counterparts and their immediate

environment which they are expected to serve.                                                       




1.1 Background to the Study

Information provision in all ramifications is a calculated and deliberate attempt made by an individual or a group to circulate generated and stored information to a particular targeted

audience and for a particular purpose (Empowerment, Self Reliance, Health, Education etc).

This Information is either provided willingly at the provider‟s accord or at the demand/request of

the user. Provision of information is central to all discipline and human endeavor. The amount of

information an individual or a group is inclined to through provision determines how they fare in

today‟s world. This is especially true when the information to be provided has to do with self

reliance or personal development. Adequate information provision and understanding of how

information impact behavioral changes have implications in many domains (youth/student,

development, reliance empowerment, health, education etc)

The importance of information provision to a group of people cannot be overemphasized

most especially when it has to do with students. These groups of individuals are expected to use

whatever information at their disposal to brace themselves for graduation in order to be self

reliant in a nation where government employment is bleak. Students generally need information

provision for one thing or the other but agricultural information provision for agricultural science

students takes the lead. This is for the fact that, the government on many occasions have

encouraged not just the students, but the entire nation to embrace agriculture with the believe that

Nigerian weather and climate is agricultural friendly.

For effective information provision, students/users need to be aware of the types of

information services available with the agencies responsible for such services. It is when

awareness is achieved that users can eventually access and utilize the services available.


As a result of the above, there have been intense growing interests in information provision

relating to Human Capital Development (HCD). This is mostly targeted towards students in

order to assist developing countries in Africa and Nigeria particularly to reduce poverty, create

empowerment, sustain self reliance and promote food security through agriculture and

Agricultural Information Services (AIS). Improvement on agricultural practices and embracing

agricultural produce were chosen as major means of this process of empowerment and poverty

alleviation (Adams, 2011). To this effect, different agricultural programs were initiated at

different times in different locations in Africa and Nigeria was privileged to be one of such

chosen countries for these agricultural projects. These projects are being carried out by different

bodies; such as Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (TCARC) and National

Agricultural Research Institutes (NARIs) under which National Agricultural Extension Research

and Liaison Services belongs.

Their mandates are towards providing Agricultural Extension Information and Services

(AEIS) that will improve access to information on agricultural development and to strengthen the

capacity of continents like Africa and countries like Nigeria, to produce, acquire, exchange and

utilise agricultural information for self reliance among students (Bokor, 2011). Similarly and in

line with the above, there were also foundations and research institutes such as the International

Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) established to carry out researches to find sustainable

solutions to ending hunger and poverty alleviation while promoting empowerment and self

reliance in developing world through agricultural extension information provision and services.

In Nigeria particularly, the National Agricultural Extension Research and Liaison

Services (NAERLS) is one of such organizations primarily saddled with the responsibility of

making known to the public new agricultural innovations and information services for improved

production. NAERLS is one of the 18 agro based research institutes under the Federal Ministry

of Agriculture (FMA) for these purposes (Idachaba, 2010). For the effective coverage of the


country, NAERLS has five zones (North East Zone, North Central Zone, North Western Zone,

South Eastern Zone and South Western Zone). According to Shaib, Aliyu, & Bakshi (1997),

NAERLS‟ specific mandate includes the development, collation, and dissemination of

appropriate agricultural information technologies including monitoring and evaluation of general

agricultural information and providing such to the public. NAERLS goes further offering special

agricultural services to individuals and organizations on training in any aspect of agriculture,

extension information publications, research based agricultural publications, documentaries on

livestock production, mechanization, agricultural youth clubs, irrigation, publicity, campaigns,

agricultural development and professional advice (NAERLS, 1993). All these are to make

available to the public essential farming and agricultural information for better practices aimed at

empowerment of the populace especially in agricultural activities thereby discouraging mono

economy and overdependence on oil as it is the case in Nigeria.

According to Adams (2011) agriculture and farming in Nigeria is incomparable to

petroleum and the most important contributor to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in terms of

employment, empowerment, self reliance and development. Before the oil boom, Nigeria was

almost self-sufficient and reliant in agricultural production from which most foreign exchanges

were earned through cash crop export (FAO, 2011). But due to complacency towards essential

agricultural knowledge, practices and acquisition of farming information on the part of the

Nigerian masses, the country supplements its agricultural production for imports of food and

agricultural materials from countries whose Agricultural Extension Information Programs proves

vibrant (Anderson, 2010). The place of agricultural information services and utilization pointing

to its relevance in the area of self reliance cannot be overemphasized. Therefore if agricultural

information has to be made available for self reliance, there is the necessity for adequate

knowledge and awareness on agricultural information services from places like NAERLS. In the

light of serving the interest of the Nigerian populace by disseminating agricultural information


on various innovations, the NAERLS services are therefore geared towards meeting needed

public services. In this regard therefore, it can be conclusively put that NAERLS engages in

agricultural information provision, services and dissemination to the general public. But what is

the extent of public and agricultural science students‟ knowledge about NAERLS services

bearing in mind that Nigeria is blessed with arable land to support agriculture practices in all


The knowledge of Agricultural Information Services and its provision has a great

importance for intended practitioners. Agriculture Extension information, Agricultural

Development Projects and researches keeps emerging with new and improved agricultural

information communication processes, but many have not still seen the place of agriculture in the

society. More specifically, in the study area (Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria), agricultural

research institutes abounds in avalanche (Institute for Agricultural Researches, Division of

Agricultural Colleges, National Animal Production Research Institute). Therefore, Agriculture

Extension Information knowledge which involves the conceptualization, design, generation,

development, evaluation and application of innovative ways to apply agricultural information for

empowerment by the public needs to gain wide coverage and acceptability to adequately meet

public/students demand for national development.

A central issue worthy of note is that AEIS is one of the action lines identified for

national development in the declaration and plan of action of the World Summit on Information

Society (WSIS). It is mainly on the applications of Agriculture Extension knowledge and

information services for self reliance. Agriculture Extension Information Service (AEIS) as an

integration and utilization of information technology in farming related operations could be

rewarding if the services are well tailored (Scott, 2013). Its acceptability has to do with the

integration of much diverse technologies beyond just the storage of agricultural information but

extending such information to the public. This is against the notion that general location of farms


and agricultural practices are in rural areas where technology cannot thrive and that agricultural

production are limited to land tillage alone. Agreeably, access to extension information and

communication technology like computers, wireless network and the internet might be generally

low in rural areas (Scott, 2013). AEIS should transcend agricultural practices applicable solely to

tillage and encompasses technological transfer, crop cultivation; water management, fertilizer

application; pest management; harvesting; post-harvest handling, transportation of food/food

products; packaging; food preservation; food processing/value addition; food quality

management; food safety; food storage and food marketing (Jones, 2015). Stakeholders in

agricultural industry especially students need information and knowledge about these services to

manage their activities efficiently. For this reason, AEIS for acquiring information and

knowledge for making decisions in agricultural industry should deliver accurate, complete and

concise information to the public. For effectiveness, the information provided by the system

must be user-friendly, well channelled and targeted to the expected users (Reddy, 2012).

Also, agricultural extension information services being systematic processes in nature

where agricultural information is generated, transformed, transferred, consolidated, received and

fed back in such a manner that these processes function together should be systematic. This

underpins that the knowledge acquisition and information dissemination by

agricultural producers are expected to be vibrant for utilization where extension institutes are

located like the study area (Roling, 2008). Extensions are expected to disseminate emerging

ideas amongst their prospective clients. This is in view of the role of research and advisory

services in agricultural extension information works which is to give highly accurate, specific,

unbiased, technical, agricultural information and advice in direct response to the needs of their

clients (Maningas, 2014).

In view of this, NAERLS stands a central place in the provision and not just storage of

AIS meant for sustainable agricultural production. Agricultural Information stored is useless


except disseminated through extension services. So, knowledge of information stored and the

medium of communication have a central role to play in facilitating the exposure of agricultural

information seekers to a variety of agricultural related information. This according to

Blackenburg (2012) could only be made possible through the proper articulation and

transmission of related agricultural extension information through appropriate technologies and

medium to the clients. Moreover, communication of agricultural information forms an important

factor that should interact with the entire productivity processes.

Productivity of these other factors, such as land, labour, capital and managerial ability,

can be improved by relevant, reliable and timely agricultural information provision through

AEIS (Bokor, 2011). This agricultural information provided by extension research, education

and agricultural organizations will in turn enable stakeholder make productive decisions.

Maningas, (2014) supported the above revealing that agricultural extension information and its

communication within the reach of the prospective clients is equivalent to empowerment through

control over their resources and productive decision-making processes. Productive

communication of agricultural extension information is very important for self reliance and

urban growth. It provides income for members of the communities depending upon raising

agricultural extension information and productivity through proper information communication

channels (Hayami & Ruttan, 2011). In achieving this, Jones, (2015) stressed that there is a need

for a collaboration between agricultural extension information providers, their immediate public

and governments of the Nations for information sharing on agricultural information services to

create employment, self reliance among the nationals. This is vital among Nigerian teeming

unemployed population.

The Nigerian government in its bid to improve on her students‟ reliance and in order to

reduce the danger of unemployment had always stressed the importance of self-sufficiency in


agriculture and food production. These have been through measures like Operation Feed the

Nation (OFN), 1976 dated back to Obasanjo Military Administration, Green Revolution in 1980,

Directorate for Food, Roads and Rural Infrastructure (DFFRI) 1986, Agricultural Development

Projects (ADPs) between 1979 to 2016, River Basin Development Authority(ies) 1976, Better

Life for Rural Women, Family Support Program (FSP) in 1993, Family Economic Advancement

Program (FEAP) in 1996, Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) 1986 to 1988, the

introduction of entrepreneur education for self reliance in universities and a host of other


Even though some of these programs have not produced sustainable and instant results,

other measures by government include the agricultural transformational agenda designed to

boost employment generation by creating agricultural value chain to keep the masses abreast of

practicable agriculture, Youth With Innovation In Nigeria (YOUWIN); Graduate Internship,

Community Service Program, N-Power Agro and FADAMA III & IV all present opportunities

for reliance. Inclusive is the approval of 15 billion revolving agricultural loan which according to

some beneficiaries‟ have been cumbersome in accessing (Idachaba, 2010). Even with the above,

the Nigerian students, churned out yearly in our tertiary institutions haunt for white collar job

which the government is yet to provide.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Viable AEIS is supposed to occupy a central place in self reliance and development in societies

where the services are available. This is because AEIS in agriculture and food production are key

facets of inclusive national development. The society and students in particular have agricultural

information needs to empower them which can be fulfilled through a well coordinated AEIS

based on appropriate modern technologies. Agriculture being an important sector of most


growing economy as studies have shown has high potentials for self reliance, employment

generation, food security and poverty reduction (Idachaba, 2010; Anderson, 2012 & Scott 2013).

Despite the place and importance of agriculture, it remains unclear why farming and

agricultural practices are not fascinating to students. The fact remains that unemployment

population growth is not met with job provision at the desired level and poverty is still high.

Even with evident potentials of agriculture and the suitability of Nigerian climate/weather for

practices, students from different higher institutions and Ahmadu Bello University inclusive are

finding it difficult to embrace agriculture for empowerment knowing full well they have limited

choices in national job security.

The question therefore remains as to whether these students lack the knowledge and

awareness of the available types of AEIS in services of NAERLS that could cater for their

empowerment needs against social ills. Smith (2011) and Rivera (2013) argued that important

ideas generated by extension workers will have no use unless communicated to the appropriate

quarters. They noted that most researches on agricultural extension information services do not

reach the end users owing to inefficient channel thereby making generated information useless.

In the case of this study, NAERLS is situated in Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. By its

mandate, it is saddled with providing agricultural related information services to their host

community and beyond using different media. Through such agricultural institutions like

NAERLS, Continents and Countries like Asia, India, Mauritius, South Africa and others have

boasted of graduate empowerment and reliance with recorded successes (Smith, 2011).

Observation by the researcher however, revealed that most students of Ahmadu Bello

University, Zaria, are victims of unemployment and prey to antisocial behaviours whereas

services in NAERLS can sustain them. From further observations and as a result of the above,

most students of ABU, Zaria resort to proceeding for their second or third degrees as the case

may be due to lack of immediate job opportunities after graduation. This study therefore


becomes necessary to find out agricultural science students‟ access and utilization of AEIS

provision and dissemination by the NAERLS, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria.

1.3 Research Questions

The study seeks to provide answers to the following research questions:

1. What types of agricultural information services are required by agricultural science students

in NAERLS, ABU, Zaria?

2. What is the level of awareness of agricultural science students on agricultural information

services available in NAERLS, ABU, Zaria?

3. What are the preferred channels of accessing agricultural information services by agricultural

science students available in NAERLS?

4. To what extent do agricultural science students utilize agricultural information services

available in NAERLS?

5. To what extent are agricultural science students satisfied with agricultural information

services in NAERLS?

6. What challenges do agricultural science students face in utilizing agricultural information

services in NAERLS, ABU Zaria?

1.4 Objectives of the Study

The objective of the study is to assess the Information Services Provision for access and

utilization of agricultural science students by national agricultural extension research and liaison

services, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria. In specific terms, the study aims at achieving

the following objectives:

1. To find out the types of agricultural information services required by agricultural science

students in NAERLS, ABU, Zaria


2. To determine the level of awareness of agricultural science students on agricultural

information services available in NAERLS.

3. To identify agricultural science students‟ preferred channels of agricultural information

service access form NAERLS, ABU Zaria.

4. To determine the extent of utilization of agricultural information services to agricultural

science students.

5. To determine the level of satisfaction of agricultural science students on agricultural

information services by NAERLS.

6. To identify the challenges faced by agricultural science students in utilizing agricultural

information services by NAERLS.

1.5 Significance of the Study

Information forms the root of any meaningful achievement especially when it has to do

with self reliance and National development. Awareness of its availability and communicating it

efficiently is also very important. In a world of unemployed graduate in the balance, information

not only matters but communicating AEIS takes the central stage. This is because AEIS will

enable both agricultural information providers and the students respond to the needs of the public

in the area of agricultural information provision for reliance and development.

The findings and recommendations of this study will create more awareness on one hand

to assist NAERLS to serve the students and the public better in the area of the information

services it provides. On the other hand, it will motivate students to appreciate the usefulness of

AIS in the area of empowerment, self reliance and job provision. It will also add to literature on

utilization of agricultural information showing its importance in empowerment and self reliance.

1.6 Scope of the Study

The focus of this research was to assess the place of Agricultural Information provision

for Self-reliance among agricultural science students by the National Agricultural Extension


Research and Liaison Services. The study was limited to Agricultural Science Students, Faculty

of Agriculture, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. This is because ABU, Zaria is one of the

institutions where agriculture extension information services are to be provided to the public

through the National Agricultural Extension Research and Liaison Services.

1.7 Operational Definition of Terms

The following are the operational definitions of the key terms used in the study:

Agricultural Extension Services The activity and practice of generating and disseminating

research information, technological findings and innovations on agriculture to the expected users

of such information in person.

Agricultural Information Services The functions and activities carried out by organizations to

ensure availability of agricultural information to clients through media broadcast, publications,

extension visits, etc

Agriculture The processes involved in tilling, cultivating and preparing the land for planting

crops and rearing of animals for human need.

Information Provision This is the act and process of reaching out to the public particularly

those who need information with the resources of an organization either on demand or wilfully.

Reliance The creation of enabling environment through provision of information and services

for people to be able to carry out activities that will make them independent.




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