INFORMATION BEHAVIOUR AND QUALITY OF LIFE OF CROP FARMERS IN ILORIN, KWARA STATE, NIGERIA
The study examined information behaviour and quality of life of crop farmers in Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria, a case study of Kwara State crop farmers. The study employed the survey design and the purposive sampling technique to select 450 crop farmers. A well-constructed questionnaire, which was adjudged valid and reliable, was used for collection of data from the respondents. The data obtained through the administration of the questionnaires was analyzed using the Pearson correlation analysis.
The results of the correlation analysis showed that there is positive and significant relationship between information behaviour and quality of life (r=0.772; p<0.05).
The study concludes that information behavior has a positive significant impact on quality of life of farmers in Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria.
The study suggested that; Farmers in kwara state can be provided with basic Internet literacy courses, which will enable them to gain skills in Internet search and information literacy; Farming associations and libraries can provide the agricultural books for farmers; Local government can undertake more significant roles; Travellling libraries can visit small villages and provide the farmers with required information and ecology books, resources periodically; Farming companies are also recommended to provide electronic and printed resources about recent farming techniqes, irrigation methods, tools, characteristics of the seeds they provide and sell.
1.1 Background to the Study
Crop farming is an important aspect of agriculture in many countries of the world. There is a likelihood that crop production is older than human civilization and its essential features have remained almost unchanged since the dawn of history. In the past decades, most Nigerian farmers merely engage in subsistence farming to provide food for their family while little of their produce is made available for sale in the market. But in recent years, growth in agricultural output in Nigeria has been on the rise as farmer are stepping away from subsistence agriculture and embracing modern civilization – investing in large scale farming and ultimately, increasing agricultural products. Although, studies have shown that 70 percent of Nigeria’s agricultural output comes from peasant farmers who reside in the rural areas (Egwu, 2016).
In recent times, bank lending to agricultural sector. has significantly contributed to real growth in agricultural output in Nigeria. In a related study, Idoko, Sunday and Sheri (2012) examined the effect of government expenditure on the Nigerian agricultural output and found a significant relationship between government expenditure and Nigerian agricultural sector output during the evaluation period. Uger (2013) examined the effect of government expenditure on agricultural sector using annual time series data from 1991 to 2010 and round a positive insignificant relationship between agricultural financing (expenditure) and its output in Nigeria. A sustainable agricultural output in Nigeria will contribute to quality of life of the citizenry in terms of food availability and income generation among farmer. Quality of life is a term used in everyday life to describe the overall wellbeing of people and the society in terms or physical health, family. education, employment, wealth, religious beliefs. finance and the environment. Quality of life (QOL,) can be defined in many ways. for example. Phillips (2006) defined the quality of life in a rural setting. as a multidimensional phenomenon determined by the interactive and cumulative impacts of various factors such as infrastructure, housing conditions, standard of living, income, access to various amenities and satisfaction about the social and physical environment.
Abraham (1973) defines the expression of quality of life as the degree of satisfaction or dissatisfaction felt by people with various aspects of their lives~ Quality of life is the provision of the necessary conditions for happiness and satisfaction (McCall, 1975). George and Bearon (1980) identified four dimensions of quality of life, two of which are ‘objective (general health and functional status; socio-economic status) and two of which are subjective’ (life satisfaction, self-esteem). In contrast, Hughes (1990) highlights eight dimensions, or what she describes as ‘constituent elements’, or quality of life (personal autonomy. expressed satisfaction. physical and mental well-being, socio-economic status, quality of the environment, purposeful activity, social integration and cultural factors). People have an idea of what sort of things would enhance their individual quality of life as well as that of the other people. For instance, higher pay; more satisfaction in their working lives; longer holidays; time to pursue enjoyable and satisfying leisure; emotional fulfilment in relationships and having a long healthy and happy life (Clark. 2003~ Cosianza. Fisher. Ali, Beer, Bond. Bournans. Danigelis. Dickinson. Fl liou. Farlcy &
Akinyemi, Owoaje, Popoola and Ilesanmi (2012) posit that quality of life has a substantial overlap with concepts such as social functioning, disability, social support and well-being and regarded the subjective nature of the quality of life assessment as problematic. The World Bank described the quality of life using absence of poverty and unemployment: earnings growth; health and life expectancy; decent housing; educated population; high levels of cultural participation and low rate of crime; equity in social opportunities and the absence or political corruption (World Bank. 2007).
Costanza et al. (2008) reasoned that quality of life is the extent to which objective human needs such as subsistence, reproduction, security and affection are achieved with respect to personal perceptions of subjective wellbeing. Zaid and Popoola (2010) further viewed the concept of quality of life as values that play an important role in the experience of qualitative lire because they represent the needs, aspirations and goals of individuals. Eurostat (2015) explains the quality of life as a broad concept encompasses a number of different dimensions by which the elements or factors making up a complete entity of quality of life can be understood. It is clear from the perspectives of these scholars that quality of life involves the combination or objective indicators such as labour and health status, the living environment as well as the family and financial situation together with individuals’ subjective perception.
Quality of life of farmers will improve if they have the right perspectives of their information needs, seeking and use. Access to and use of information will empower the rural, farmers on a path toward financial stability which would improve their quality of life. Information is an important resource for individual growth and survival, it plays a significant role in enlightening people, improving their standard of living, participating in decision making processes and making informed decision (Adekanye, 2014). Buttressing this, Abdullahi, Osahon, and Esther (2015) stated that in formation has become an essential tool for competitive advantage both at the individual, organization, societal and national level and therefore: information is needed to be able to take a right decision and also reduce uncertainty.
Information behaviour is the totality of human behavior in relation to sources and channels of information, including both active and passive information seeking, and information use (Wilson, 2000). Thus, it includes direct communication with others, as well as the passive reception of information without any intention to act on the information given. According to Wilsons 1999 model on information behaviour (Wilson, 1999), information behaviour is a wide concept in an individuals’ life world. Within it is information seeking: the purposeful act of” looking for information to meet a need, solve a problem or increase understanding. Within information seeking is information retrieval: which is the seeking of definite information within some kind of information system (Wilson, 1999). Therefore, the two main components of information behaviour are information seeking and information retrieval (Bawden & Robinson, 2015).
Information need is the desire to acquire new knowledge or facts about something which is considered as essential and worth having: stressing that, information need is purposive in nature and is a consequence or behaviour to satisfy some goals (Emmanuel. 2012) Information is an important resource tor individual growth and survival. Yusuf (2012) explained that the progress of modern societies as well as individuals depends a great deal upon the provision of the right kind of information, in the right form and at the right time. Information is needed to be able to take a right decision and also reduce uncertainty. However, according to Bawden & Robinson (2015), it is not just a simple concept but information needs of individuals differ and at times are linked with the individual’s work activities. Consequently, agricultural information needs of farmers are closely connected with their farming activities.
Visakhi and Srivastava (2002) divided information needs of the farmers into six groups: Agricultural inputs: Farmers need information about improved variety of seeds; Field acquisition: Farmers are required to know the different types of schemes, subsidies; pesticides, agricultural equipment, weather conditions, harvest and postharvest technology: agricultural credit: farmers need information about credit facilities, terms of loans; agricultural technology: farmers should be fed with information about innovative technology in their farming: agricultural marketing: day to day market trend on price of different variety of crops are necessary for the farmers: food technology: information on postharvest food technology is needed by the farmers to get optimum benefit out of their crop. Nonetheless, it is still insufficient to limit development effort to just understanding farmers’ information needs. Researchers need to explore other aspect of farmers’ information behaviour: information seeking and sources for information retrieval, as this will give a better understanding of how agricultural information can be disseminated more efficiently and hence, further enhance the development of better intervention programs.
Information seeking, at times referred to as information seeking behaviour is an individual’s way and manner’ of gathering and sourcing for information for personal use, knowledge updating and development (Igwe, 2012), According to Yusuf (2012), information seeking behaviour is the complex pattern of actions and interactions which people engage in when seeing ‘information of whatever kind and for whatever purpose. The type or seeking strategy adopted by a user depends on the users’ choice from available alternative ways or seeking for a particular need. The information seeking strategies adopted by an individual have been grouped into browsing and monitoring (Ford, 2015). Browsing entails an undirected but active search in order to find information while monitoring is directed but a passive search 1’01’ information, Wilson (1999) however, described individuals’ search pattern and behaviour as passive attention, passive search, active search and ongoing search.
Information sources are various means by which information is recorded for use be an individual and organization. Sources of information include radio, television, extension workers, cooperative societies, friends and colleagues, newspapers and magazines, books/leaflets, phones, libraries and institutes. Also, observation of people organizations, speeches, documents, picture and art work can also be described as information sources (Adio, Abu, Yusuf & Nansoh 2016).
Demiryurek (1999) also grouped sources of agricultural information into traditional and modern sources. Traditional information sources include the farmer’s personal experience, family members and neighbours while modern information sources include the mass media, public extension services, farmers’ union and associations, agricultural faculties, input dealers and the, internet.
Information retrieval on the other hand, is the design, evaluation and use of information systems, It is also described as the end result of information seeking (Ford, 20 IS). The main difference between information seeking and retrieval is that the information seeking deals with behaviour and performance of a system while information retrieval deals with behaviour and the performance of a person. Researches (Hill, 2009) have been carried out on the study the farmers’ information seeking behaviour in regard to the type of information sought and the sources of information used. It was discovered that farmers as individuals have their favoured information sources which include interpersonal information (Solano, Leon, Perez, & Herrero, 2003), internet, written information and communication networks (Achugbue & Anie, 2011); as well as a common pattern to their information seeking behaviour in regard to the type of information sought and the sources or information used (Hill, 2009).
The evaluation, synthesizing and putting to use of information gathered in the information seeking stage is termed information use (Hill, 2009). Crop farmers can use available information to access agricultural loans, resolve land ownership issues and adopt right marketing strategies. Information specific to the extension agents are used to obtain right access to improved breeds, control major pests and diseases, handle insecticides properly and yield enhancing methods (Elijah, 2010). This knowledge can further be used to design extension intervention programs that will enable the farmers to obtain required information from fewer sources.
The role of agriculture in the development and growth of the Nigerian economy is shown in its contribution to the total food supply in the country. According to CBN (2010), the rate or increase in food production of 2.5 percent per annum does not keep pace with the annual population growth rate of 2.8 percent per annum in Nigeria. Fakiyesi (2001) maintained that Nigeria’s domestic food supply has been far short of the need of the population which has significantly affected citizens’ quality of life. Over the period 2007-2010, prices of food items were more volatile than they had been for decades and the experience in the last two years has further affected quality of life of people severely due to economic recession in Nigeria. This situations are bad for farmers (who are left not knowing how and where to invest) and worse for consumers, especially the poor, who are unable to afford basic food (Sasson, 2012). Besides, Cop farmers in kwara state lacks the basic infrastructure for large scale farming which has the potential to significantly influence their quality of life since most farming activities are laborious and undertaken manual1y by most farmers in the state. In addition, there is poor access to relevant agricultural information which is germane for sustainable agricultural practices in the states hence, the current study examines information behaviour and quality of life of crop, farmers in Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria.
The background has shown that information behavior and quality of life of crop farmers is synonymous. It has shown that farmers’ ability to identify information need, seeking and used will significantly influence their quality of life which affect their overall wellbeing. Improving farmers’ quality of life requires that they maximize use of the various information sources such as radio, television, extension workers, cooperative societies, friends and colleagues, newspapers and magazines, books/leaflets, phones, libraries and institutes. Utilising these sources will keep farmers abreast of the happenings in government policies on agricultural opportunities and how farmers can key-into available agricultural opportunities that will improve their quality of life and wellbeing.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The quality of life of farmers in Nigeria depends largely on their farm productivity. All availability and use of agricultural information and innovation drives agricultural production and growth this in turn contributes to quality of life of farmers as well as development at the rural and national level. But, the quality of life of farmers in Kwara state appears to be low. This is evident in the low level of income, type of houses, little or no formal education and poor state of health. Could this be because of their information behaviour? Therefore, this study set out to ascertain the influence of information behaviour on quality of life of crop farmers in Ilorin, Kwara State.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The general objective of this study is to investigate information behaviour and the quality of life of crop farmers in Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria. The specific objectives are to:
1 Ascertain the quality of life of crop farmers in Ilorin, Kwara State
2 Identify the information needs of crop farmers in Ilorin, Kwara State.
3 Find out the information seeking behaviour of crop farmers in Ilorin. Kwara State
4 Ascertain the sources use for obtaining information by the crop farmers in Ilorin. Kwara State
5 F2qind out the information retrieval methods of crop farmers in Ilorin, Kwara State.
6 Determine the extent of information use among crop farmers in Ilorin, Kwara State.
7 Ascertain the influence of information behaviour on the quality of li re of crop farmers in Ilorin, Kwara State.
1.4 Research Questions
1 What is the quality of life of crop farmers in Ilorin, Kwara State?
2 What are the information needs of crop farmers in Ilorin, Kwara State’?
3 What are the information seeking behaviour of crop farmers in Ilorin. Kwara State’)
4 What are the information sources used by crop farmers in Ilorin, Kwara State”
5 What arc the information retrieval methods of crop farmers in florin. K wara State’)
6 What is the extent of information use by crop farmers in Ilorin, Kwara State’)
1.5 Research Hypothesis
H01: Information behaviour has no significant influence on the quality of life of crop farmers in Ilorin, Kwara State.
1.6 Scope of the Study
There are different types of farmers such as livestock farmer, poultry farmers, crop farmer and snail farmers. This research will be restricted to assessing the influence of information behaviour on the quality of life of crop farmers in Ilorin. Kwara State. The components of information behaviour to be considered in this research will include information needs, information seeking and information use. The quality of life or crop farmers will involve examining their housing status, health status, income level and educational level. Furthermore, since it may not be possible to recruit all the crop farmers in Kwara Stale, the study will be limited to crop farmers with the highest participation in Ilorin East, South and West local government areas of Kwara State.
1.7 Significance of the Study
This study is worthwhile because its outcome will benefit crop farmers. The study’s findings would determine specific information needs of crop farmers. It would also determine the behavioural pattern of information seeking of crop farmers in llorin Kwara State. The findings will further redirect the information seeking pattern of farmers to achieve needed information quickly, easier and from few sources. This study would also help crop farmers to better understand their quality of life status that could potentially influence their decision making on seeking relevant information to improve their quality of life.
1.8 Operational Definition of Terms
Quality of Life: This refers to the overall wellbeing of crop farmers in terms of their housing, health, educational status and level of income.
Crop farmers: These are farmers that specialize in the planting and harvesting or crops.
Information Behaviour: This is the totality of human behaviour in relation to information need. information retrieval, information seeking and information use.
Information needs: This is the desire to acquire new knowledge or facts about something which is considered as essential and worth having.
Information seeking behaviour: This is the process whereby a user of information saw the need for the information and endeavour to seek the information and upon receiving such made use of the information received for a purpose of which it is sought
Information source: This refers to anything that might inform a person about something or provide knowledge about it; ranging from observations, people, speeches, documents, pictures, organizations, websites, etc.
Information retrieval: This refers to technique and process of searching, recovering, and interpreting information from large amounts of stored data.
Information use: This refers to the extent to which information influences the farmers’ decision making, either when performing their agricultural job or in another activity.