This study investigated the influence of community radio in agricultural development in Akwa Ibom state, Nigeria. The objective was to determine the impact of radio agricultural programmes on the target audience (farmers). The data were collected from a sample of one hundred respondents selected through a simple random sampling technique. The data were analyzed with descriptive statistics viz frequency distribution and percentage. The findings of the study showed that 66% of the respondents listened to agricultural programmes aired on Radio Benue and 42% of the listeners indicated that the programmes were relevant to their agricultural information needs. Majority of the respondents admitted that they gained some new knowledge through listening to the programmes. Non-possession of radio set and unsuitable time of programme presentation were indicated constraints to listener-ship of the programmes. The programmes, to a large extent, had the desired impact on the listeners. It should therefore be sustained but with some modifications in terms of time of presentation and encouragement of group listenership.
1.1 Background to study
“It will be a shameful thing and a very unfortunate scenario to see a prince of a well-known highly influential, connected king with unquantifiable and stupendous wealth begging for food or crying for hunger despite his father’s wealth and popularity” (Okunmadewa cited by Alozie, 2011 Pg 1). A Professor of Agricultural Economics and World Bank Consultant, Foluso Okunmadewa used the above illustration to describe the “sorry” state of Nigeria, a nation blessed with abundant agricultural resources, but has found it increasingly difficult to feed her people (Obi, 2008; Alozie 2011). Okunmadewa offered this view while delivering a paper titled “Food prices crisis and the challenge of sustainable development in Nigeria” at the 40th Interdisciplinary Research Discourse by the post graduate school of the University of Ibadan, Nigeria (Alozie, 2011). According to Obi (20008), critics contend that despite the nation’s massive wealth, especially the wealth generated from oil over the past 50 years, about one in three of Nigeria’s 140 million people goes to bed very hungry every night. As reported by the Alozie (2011), a nongovernmental group, Action Aid, organized a march in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital to promote awareness about widespread hunger in Africa’s most populous nation in 2007. During the march, Action Aid described the plight of Nigerians who suffer from hunger as “an indictment of those who have more than enough to eat in a country with more than enough resources and potential to banish the hunger it breeds”. Like other marches to raise awareness on social issues, it was reported that the police dispersed the march before the protesters reached their goal of presenting petitions to the late president, Umaru Yar’Adua and parliamentarians to encourage policies to end hunger in the country, which ranks fifth in the world hunger index despite her abundant natural but dormant resources ( Obi, 2008; Alozie 2011). However, the problem of food crisis is not peculiar to Nigeria. Hunger and malnutrition increase on daily basis throughout the world. Artisan fisheries and sustainable food system have worsened, crisis exists in peasant and indigenous agriculture and people are loosing sovereign control over their resource (Mboho, 2009). Little wonder why the first United Nations Millennium Development Goal (UNMDGs) is targeted towards eradicating extreme poverty and hunger. The targets include, having between 1990 and 2015, the preparation of people whose income is less than one dollar a day and having, during the same period, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger (SCM News cited in Mboho, 2009). While several factors may be responsible for the hunger crisis in Nigeria, the concern of this paper is to examine the roles of radio in promoting sustainable food production through dissemination of agricultural innovations and stimulation of interactions among peasant farmers towards the attainment of surplus food production and general agricultural development in Nigeria.