Title Page   –          –           –           –          –          –           –                             i

Approval Page          –            –           –          –          –           –                            ii

Certification Page     –           –           –          –          –           –                            iii

Dedication                –           –           –          –          –           –                            iv

Acknowledgements      –           –           –          –          –           –                            v

Table of Contents     –           –           –          –          –           –                            vi

List of Figures   –        –           –           –          –          –           –                            ix

List of Tables           –           –           –          –          –           –                            x

Abstract    –          –           –           –          –          –           –                           xi

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION              –           –           – 1

 Background of the study                 –           –           –                               1

 Statement of the problem             –           –           –                             7

 Purpose of the study  –    –           –           –           –                               8

 Research questions      –          –           –           –                                           9

 Significance of the study        –     –           –           –                               9

 Scope of the study      –           –       –           –           –                             10

CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW          –           – 11

 Conceptual framework  –             –             –                                       11

 Concept of information needs –              –             –                            11

           Artisanal fishermen: An Overview of their Demographic Characteristics    –          –      15

 Importance of artisanal fishery sector in Nigeria    –           –          –     21

 Information needs of artisanal fishermen –           –           –            –   24

 Methods of information dissemination to artisanal fishermen-    – 29

 Public library role in extension services to artisanal fishermen     –   33

 Challenges associated with agricultural information dissemination to artisanal fishermen –     –      –     –       –        –        –         –                41

 Strategies for enhancing dissemination of agricultural information to artisanal fishermen-         –                –            –             –             –   44

Review of empirical studies  –           –           –                             49

Summary of literature review – –         –          –                                         54

 CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHODS –  –           –           – 56

 Research design           –        –           –           –                            56

 Area of the study             –           –           –           –           –                 56

 Population of the study           –           –           –           –                 57

 Sample and sampling techniques       –           –                 57

 Instruments for data collection            –           –           –                58

 Validation of the instruments –               –           –                            59

 Method of data collection     –                –           –           –                 59

 Method of data analysis        –        –           –           –                            60


 Findings of the study –       –          –          –          –            –          63

 Summary of the major findings           –           –                            79

CHAPTER FIVE: DISCUSSION  –              –           –           – 82

 Discussion of the findings    –  –           –           –           –                 82

 Demographic characteristics of artisanal fishermen in Benue State          –     –     –    –          –          –            –     –     –    –          –          –            82

 Information needs of artisanal fishermen in Benue State   84

 Methods through which information is disseminated to artisanal fishermen Benue  State-     –     –     –    –           –                –            89

 Roles of public library in extension services to artisanal fishermen in the study area       –     –     –    –          –          –         90

Challenges associated with agriculture information dissemination to artisanal fishermen in the study area                              –                     91

Strategies for enhancing information dissemination to artisanal fishermen    –     –     –    –          –          –            –     –     –    –          –          –          92

 Implications of this study           –                       –           –                 93

Recommendations    –             –           –           –           –           –     95

Limitations of the study      –        –           –           –           –                97

 Suggestions for further research-     –     –             –         –       –       97

 Conclusion   –               – –           –           –  98

References     –       –           –           –           –           –            –  100

Appendix 1    –           –           –           –           –           – 110

Appendix 2    –                –           –           –           –           – 116

Appendix 3    –       –           –              –                 – 120

Appendix 4        –     –              –             –            –             – –                     122

Appendix 5      – –           –            –             –            –                            123

Appendix 6 –         –              –          –          –           –      –            – 124


Fig1. Pie chart showing sex distribution of artisanal fishermen in Benue State        –           –   65

Fig2. Bar chart showing age group distribution of artisanal fishermen in Benue State –       –   66

Fig3. Pie showing occupational specialization of artisanal fishermen in Benue State           –   67

Fig4. Bar chart showing the fishing experience of artisanal fishermen in Benue State         –   68

Fig5. Pie chart showing the educational background of artisanal fishermen –           –           –   69


Table1. Distribution of questionnaires among fishermen, public libraries/extension workers and organization of interview and focus group discussion in three local government areas of the study –               –             –              –                –            –                    –               –          –             62

Table2. Percentage distribution of demographic characteristics of artisanal fishermen in Benue state  64

Table3.Percentageresponses on the information need of artisanal fishermen in Benue State                70                                                                                                                              

Table4. Responses on methods through whch information are disseminated to artisanal fishermen in    Benue state   –          –          –                    72

Table5.Mean responses of theRoles of public libraries in extension services to artisanal fishermen state in Benue-       –                          –      74

Table6. Mean responses on theChallenges associated with agricultural information dissemination to artisanal fishermen in Benue State            76

Table7. Mean responses on theStrategies for enhancing information dissemination to artisanal fishermen in Benue state    78


This work investigated information needs and information dissemination to artisanal fishermen in selected communities in three local Government areas of Benue State. Six (6) research questions guided the study. The work sought to find out the demographic characteristic of artisanal fishermen, their information needs, methods of information dissemination, the roles of public libraries in extension services, challenges associated with agricultural information dissemination and strategies for enhancing agricultural information dissemination to artisanal fishermen in Benue state. Descriptive survey design was used and the sample size of 198 fishermen out of the total population of 391 was selected. The instruments of the study were questionnaires which have (94) ninety-four items, structured interview and focus group discussion used based on the questionnaire.These instruments were used to embraced categories of artisanal fishermen. Descriptive statistics method such as frequencies, simple percentages and mean (x̅) were used to analyze the data. These information were presented in tables, bar and pie charts for clarification. The study reveals that both sex engaged in the artisanal industry in the state, however, males were the dominant group. Also, a little proportion of artisanal fishermen (34%) had western education that cut across all levels.The fishing industry is dominated by young energetic adults who are in the middle ages. The major methods of information to artisanal fishermen include traditional and modern sources like traditional fishing festivals, community fishing competitions, radio and cell phone. Results also show that, the information needs of fishermen in Benue state are mostly occupationally directed, such as effects of obnoxious fishing practices, conflict resolution, fish processing, storage and preservation. Public libraries have not done much in supporting extension workers in  disseminating information to artisanal fishermen. However, they provide agricultural journals, books, fisheries magazines and pamphlets that are expected to aid extension services to artisanal fishermen.The challenges of disseminating information to artisanal fishermen were acute shortage of librarians/extension workers and lack of linkage between public libraries and extension workers. It was recommended that more librarians and extension workers be recruited and there should be a linkage between librarians and extension workers.Conclusively, the information needs and information dissemination of artisanal fishermen in the study area are not well met and this resulted to low productivity. Therefore, the dissemination of adequate, relevant and current information to artisanal fishermen will increase fish production rate in the state.

                                                CHAPTER ONE


Background to the Study

Information is the bedrock of every occupation and derives its greatest worth in sharing for smooth and effective operation and success of the occupation. In the Agricultural sector, every farmer needs information to catch up with the cultural and technological advancement in the 21st century. Oladele (2006) advanced that information is vital for increasing production. It also serves as impetus for sharing experiences, best practices, sources of financial aids and new markets. In addition, Aina, Kaniki and Ojiambo (1995) advocate that, information has a vital role to play in improving and sustaining agricultural production of any nation.  Agricultural as the predominant occupation of rural communities seems to be witnessing its worst performance in recent times, due to lack of information. In confirmative with the above, Gholamreza, Babu and Asenso (2010) advance that despite the wide range of reforms initiative in Agricultural sector in India in the last decades, access to quality of information provided to marginalized and poor farmers is uneven. With access to information a farmer may perhaps, be lifted from the state of ignorance, illiteracy and poverty to a state of enlightenment, prosperity, literacy and high productivity. Therefore, relevant information acquired and utilized by artisanal fishermen may enable them to increase their perception, expand their horizons, enhance competence, enlarge their sense of perspective and above all, increase their production rate.

Artisanal fishery as one of the subsector of agriculture is carried out in coastal states and inland waters of Nigeria. In essence, Nigeria’s inland water bodies are primarily utilized for fishing by artisanal fishermen who supply fish for domestic consumption. They are primarily illiterate people, young and old between the ages of 10-60years in rural communities with weight of fishing experiences and have little or no basic education. In addition, World Fish (2000) maintains that, artisanal fishermen are characterized by labour intensive, low productivity, low income, low technology and lack of skillful techniques. They also make use of fishing nets of various sizes, hooks and lines, dugout canoes, boats and above all have access to little information which in most cases is not so relevant.

Artisanal fishermen seems to be one of the most disadvantaged and isolated groups in Nigeria due to the nature of the fishing communities terrains where there are no good roads, and access to basic amenities such as electricity, pipe borne water, hospitals and schools is a bit difficult. Occupationally, artisanal fishermen lack funds that will help them afford mechanized and non-mechanized fishing crafts, spare parts and fishing gears. More so, Annune (1993) advanced that lack fishermen well organized and viable cooperatives that could attract government attention for better assistance and a reliable fish transportation system, such as refrigerated trucks, for movement of their products to distribution centers for marketing. They also lack education and training. Abdel-malek (1982)  quoted in Annune (2000) asserts that training on how to use improved fishing equipment, smoke drying and fumigation of fish stores to avoid infestation, fish markets with adequate storage facilities and sanitary conditions are essential to forestall post harvest losses. Above all, low level of information accessible to artisanal fishermen may hinder their production rate, since information is the key for effective functioning of the artisanal fishery sector.

 In artisanal fishery sector both traditional, printed and non- printed materials may be used to access and disseminate information. Traditionally, artisanal fishermen get information by word of mouth, ceremonies, town criers, village meetings, church meetings. For instance, Otolo (2009) reveals that, people in the Isoko riverine area of Delta state rely heavily on town criers, community meetings, friends, relations, church meetings, village meetings, conventions and personal experience. In addition, society has diverse modern methods of passing information to artisanal fishermen, such as pamphlets, journals, books, radio, television, cell phone, leaflets, bulletin, and pamphlets to facilitate information dissemination. Beare and Rushoke (2001) advanced other means of disseminating information such as monthly bulletin, community radio broadcasting and mobile cell phone. In addition, Njoku (2003) emphasized the use of radio, television, library and mobile phones within their rural communities.

With the aforementioned methods, information dissemination and accessibility has reduced the world to a global village. However, it seems the artisanal fishery sector in general and Benue state in particular is still confronted with challenges. This may be due to the fact that the artisanal fishermen are predominantly non-literate, more accustomed to oral tradition and can better relate to information exchange in the way they understand. Also, it is observed that the little information accessible by artisanal fishermen is disseminated through foreign language in radio, which has little or no impact on their lives. To be precise, the information disseminated to artisanal fishing communities is in printed or non printed media in English language. This may hinder effective utilization by the artisanal fishermen where most of them cannot read nor understand English.

In spite of this, there seem to be different ways of passing information to artisanal fishermen, such as personal contact, training and visitation, group discussion, packaging and repackaging method. In agreement with the above, Shibanda (1999) advances that interpersonal methods are the popular sources of information in fish marketing. In addition, Banjo (2008) emphasizes the use of oral medium such as discussion forum, listening, viewing sessions and drama. Furthermore, Ibeanu (2008) advocated the use of workshop, periodic report, newsletter, monographs, websites and data bases to disseminate information to rural communities. Apart from the above, information agents may reach out to artisanal fishermen through organization of workshops in local dialect, use of radio to run fisheries programmes in their local language, holding discussion classes, creating awareness of new innovations and visitation to fishing communities to have personal contact with them through an interpreter.

Despite the various ways of passing information to artisanal fishermen, there seems to be low production rate in fishing industry generally and Benue state in particular, which may likely be as a result of inadequate provision of information. Ugboma (2010) emphasizes that access to information is very essential for increased productivity by fishermen. Newman (1979) quoted in Omekwu (2001) emphasizes that poor information accessibility is responsible for reduction of agricultural knowledge, productivity and a general problem of poor agricultural performances in Africa, Asia, and South America. Yet, Aluko (1997) opines that the status and power of a nation by the 21st century will be partly determined by information at its disposal and recognition of the importance of information to the development of the societies. The ability to acquire and use information is fundamental to artisanal fishermen in boosting fish production and maintaining an adequate supply to the nation. Therefore, artisanal fishermen need constant information to address their areas of need and as well improve on fish production.

 Information need in this context is the desire to acquire new knowledge or facts about something which is considered as essential and worth having. Gholamreza and Nasir (2005) quoted in Dooga (2010) stated that, information need is purposive in nature and is a consequence of behaviour to satisfy some goals. In the same vein, Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2010) opines that information need is an individual or group’s desire to locate and obtain information to satisfy a conscious or unconscious need. It maintains that information and needs are inseparable; in that need and interests call forth information.

Therefore, information needs of artisanal fishermen revolve around their socio economic activities such as  how to have access to advanced fishing tools, danger of harmful fishing practices, marketing strategies, the issue of middlemen and where and how to obtain loan.  Specifically, Fagade (1992) advances that fishermen need information on modern ways of fishing, the danger of using small mesh nets of various sizes which catch undersized fish, modern ways of processing and preservation, the effects of using poison, explosives and plant extracts to catch fish and other aquatic organisms and how to prevent middlemen exploitation. These needs may be best solved using different methods in disseminating timely, accurate and relevant information to artisanal fisheries sector. In essence, sources such as public libraries, extension services, oral communication, town criers, and mass media like radio and television programs, posters, newspapers and other relevant printed materials may be primary channels of information dissemination to artisanal fishermen. All these methods may be realistic through the use of information agents.

Information agents are channels developed to ensure that, information is effectively disseminated to rural communities to enable them improve on their agricultural production. Therefore in this study, information agents such as public library and extension workers are considered. Public library and extension workers are primarily responsible for acquiring and organizing printed/non printed resources, and then extending this information to artisanal fishermen. That is, public libraries are concerned with the provision of information to all members of the public, regardless of their status, while extension workers are to disseminate appropriate information to farmers, in this case, artisanal fishermen. However, Aina (2010) asserts that the use of librarians in the dissemination of information to farmers has always been mooted. He emphasizes that this is not surprising given the fact that the function of extension workers is akin to that of a public librarian. Since the role of extension workers is similar to that of public libraries there should be collaboration between them to ensure effective information dissemination to farmers in general and artisanal fishermen in particular.

Similarly, (Oladele, 2006) agree that the problem of farmers is lack of access to agricultural information and that even with the advent of information technologies, which have succeeded in eliminating bottlenecks in information dissemination; constraints to access to information are still a real experience. Other challenges that are likely to be associated with information dissemination to artisanal fishermen are lack of libraries, illiteracy, shortage of extension workers, and language barrier. These may greatly inhibit fish production rate in Nigeria and Benue state in particular.  

Benue state was created on the 3rd of February 1976 out of the old Benue-Plateau state. The state has 23 local government areas and out of these, Guma, Katsina Ala and Makurdi were selected with their major fishing communities comprising of Ugee-Mbabai, Abinsi, Mngban-Ngun, Ber-Awuna, Akata, Akututu, Northbank, Fiidi, and Wadata. The major ethnic groups in Benue State are: the Tiv, Idoma, and Igede. These are predominantly peasant farmers who also engage in fishing activities. The bulk of the people live in rural communities where access to basic amenities is difficult. In spite of these, the state is blessed with a vast expanse of inland water resources in terms of rivers with numerous tributaries, lakes, natural ponds, swampy areas and flood plains that call for fishing. Fishing is mostly year round and is carried out by artisanal fishermen who walk along the river banks of these tributaries using their local tools to catch fish (Agishi and Annune, 1995). Like artisanal fishermen from other parts of Nigeria, they may lack relevant information to improve on their production for effective fish supply to the State.