Agricultural Extension Service Needs of Women Homestead Farmers in Etche Local Government Area of Rivers State, Nigeria
This study assessed agricultural extension service needs of women homestead farmers in Etche Local Government Area of Rivers State, Nigeria. In specific terms, the study described the socio-demographic characteristics of women homestead farmers, identified the activities of women in homestead farming, ascertained the farming systems adopted by women homestead farmers, identified the extension service needs of women homestead farmers and ascertained the challenges to access extension services by women homestead farmers in the study area. A Simple random sampling technique was used to select 20 respondents from 4 out of the 5 clans in the study area to give a sample size of 80. Data were collected using a structured and validated questionnaire. Data were analyzed using mean, frequencies and percentages. The result showed that majority of the women homestead farmers are young adults, married and with some form of formal education. Also, farming activities carried out by women in the homestead farms includes harvesting (mean = 3.81), (mean = 3.79), planting (mean = 3.78), marketing of farm produce (mean = 3.71), weeding (mean = 3.65), processing of farm produce (mean = 3.56) amongst other activities. The result further showed that crop rotation (mean=3.09), mixed cropping (mean=2.81) and mono cropping (mean=2.58) are commonly practiced in the homestead farms. It was found that access to credits (mean = 3.45), improved seeds (mean = 3.43), farm inputs (mean = 3.40), loans (mean = 3.34), improved storage facilities (mean = 3.31), farming implements (mean = 3.20), fertilizers (mean = 3.19), learning of new skills (mean = 3.18) are among the agricultural extension service needs of women homestead farmers in the study area. While challenges encountered by women homestead farmers in accessing extension services includes poor extension service delivery (mean = 3.68), inadequate number of extension agents (mean = 3.64) among others. It is therefore recommended that agricultural extension agencies should reach the women homestead farmers with improved agricultural innovations for an increased productivity through an effective and need-based agricultural extension services.