Understanding Information Communication Strategies Among Farmers for Effective Utilization of Climate Research and Forecast in the Niger-Delta, Nigeria

Onwuemele Andrew


Agriculture constitutes the principal livelihood of 70 per cent of the world’s poor and the primary means of their food security. The poor, who depend on agriculture for sustenance and livelihoods is currently faced with the challenges of changing climatic conditions. Generally, it is believed that the impact is most felt by the poor due to their weak capacity to adapt. The Niger-Delta region where the study is based is particularly vulnerable to climate change due to its location in the coastal region coupled with its high mean annual rainfall of about 4500mm. Reports on the environmental state of the region are conclusive that the area has become an ecological wasteland. Access to accurate and up to date climate research and forecast are vital for climate change adaptation practices. Other studies have shown that the use of ICT including internet, mobile phones, emails, community radio, TV, telecenters, computers are not fully utilized by farmers, especially in rural areas in the region. It is therefore necessary to identify the information communication and knowledge sharing strategies among farmers in the region with a view to mainstreaming them into climate research and seasonal climate forecast dissemination strategies in the Niger-delta region of Nigeria. This study aims at understanding farmer’s information communication strategies in the Niger-delta region of Nigeria. Two local communities (Illushi and Isoko) in the region that are noted for high agricultural activities but highly vulnerable to climate change were purposively selected for the study. Data for the study were obtained through questionnaire administration and in-depth interviews (IDI). Focus group discussions (FGD) were also conducted for selected farming groups in each of the communities. Analysis of data was done with the use of statistical packages of the Social Sciences (SPSS) using mainly descriptive statistics while the IDI and FGD were content analysed. The study identified the main information communication strategies among farmers to include village meetings, town hall meetings, town crier, traditional shrines and deity, churches, market places, local bars (pepper soup joint), age group meetings, among others. Among other recommendations, the paper calls for the integration of these local medium of information sharing among farmers with the modern media and the translation of climate forecast and research outputs into local languages to enhance access and utilization of climate research and forecasts among farmers in the Niger-Delta region.

Keywords: Information; Communication; Strategies; Climate Forecast; Niger-Delta, Nigeria

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5766 ISSN (Online)2225-0484

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