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Information and Communication Technologies for Agric Devt - The Role of Youths

Information and Communication Technologies for Agric Devt - The Role of Youths



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Published by TaofeeqYekinni

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Published by: TaofeeqYekinni on Jul 26, 2009
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INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES (ICTS) FORAGRICULTURAL AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT: THE ROLE OF YOUTHSBy YEKINNI, Oyedeji TaofeeqAgricultural Economics and Extension Department,Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, PMB 4000, OgbomosoandALAKA, Fatai A.…. Department, Federal College of Education (Special), OyoAbstract
The challenges facing agriculture in developing countries represent effects of globalisation on the enterprises. Digital divide between the developed anddeveloping countries constitute the source of disparity in the performance of thesector among the countries; hence the need for adoption of ICTs in thedeveloping countries. The study pursued the need to use youths in theimplementation of ICT strategy for agricultural development in Nigeria statingtheir unique characteristics that make them qualify for the job. It highlighted theextent of availability of ICT infrastructures in Nigeria; propose way of using thefacility for rural development; and suggest ways of including youths in thestrategy to enable them participate in community development. The studyrecommended adequate basic education for the youths to make them ready for civic responsibilities.
Key words:
ICT, youths, agricultural and rural development, Nigeria
Introduction/Problem Statement
In recent years, new sets of challenges are emerging for agricultural productionand management activities in developing countries, which are manifested in formof the exponential increase in the demand for food and fibre, issues regarding thecontinuous introduction of new pests and diseases, issues of cost of farm anddomestic energy requirements, value added concerns in exported agriculturalproducts, the phytosanitary requirements for exported agricultural products, therealities of challenges inherent in World Trade Organisation (WTO)’s policy ontrade in agricultural products among other issues. These issues constitute theburden of globalisation on the agricultural management and practices in thesecountries.Given the fact that information revolution brought about globalisation, informationutilisation or application is believed to hold the solution to the challenges of globalisation in whatever form they are manifested. According to CTA (2000),efficient information dissemination remains the key to bridge the gap between thedeveloped and underdeveloped countries. This is part of the challenge thatconfronts the development actors and stakeholders in developing countries.However, the development specialists are yet to adapt the appropriateagricultural and rural development strategies to accommodate the changesbrought by globalisation (Antoine, 2000).According to UNDP (2001), the use of Information Communication Technologiesin development programming is not new. In 2000 however, it assumed a newprominence, when the United Nations and G8 group of industrialised countriesflagged off Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICTD)as a global development priority. Since then, the understanding of ICTD as acore development issue has been rapidly evolving. It has been argued that theproblem of underdevelopment is attributable to the inability of a large portion of the world’s population to access and effectively use ICTs and the potentialbenefits they enable. In fact, “the Digital Divide, being the disparities between the‘connected’ and the ‘unplugged’, is really a reflection of the age-old divides of poverty, education, and restricted human choices” (UNDP, 2001).2
The general objective of this write up is to highlight the role of the youths in theimplementation of ICT use for agricultural and rural development. It is also meantto mention the following sub-objectives
To highlight the extent of availability of ICT infrastructures and services inNigeria
To propose ways of opportunity for rural communities to improve their capacity for decision-making on development issues by increasing their access to information through the use of new ICTs;
To suggest strategy to circumvent the rural people’s barrier of illiteracy tothe use of new ICTs by using the youths as the human interface betweenthem and the equipments.
To enable the youth to participate in community development;
ICT in Nigeria
A major indicator of infrastructural requirement for digital ICT use is Teledensity. Itis a measure of the penetration of telephone lines within a territory. Nigeria’steledensity has grown from near zero at the turn of the millennium to about 8% in just four years. This shows a geometric increase in the availability of the facility tothe extent that Nigeria is now officially the largest growth market for telecommunication in Africa and the Middle East (NCC, 2005). In the same vein,as shown in table 1.1 below, there is progressive increase in the number of people using Internet in Nigeria facilitated through the enhanced teledensitystatus.3

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