The Role of Agricultural Libraries in Literacy Education as a Prelude to Capacity Building among Rural Farmers in Nigeria

Ahiaoma Ibegwam, Stella N.I. Anasi, Chimezie P. Uzuegbu, (doi: 10.23953/cloud.ijalis.223)

Abstract


Illiteracy among Nigerians, with its social and economic implications, has become a growing concern in recent years. National awareness of problems associated with limited literacy skills has led to legislation, beginning at the federal level, to fund new literacy programmes and expand existing programmes. Libraries and information centers are viewed as an important component of this massive educational effort, especially in the light of the fact that 75 percent of farmers in Nigeria are illiterate rural dwellers. A descriptive survey method was adopted for the study. Data collected was analyzed using descriptive statistics and presented in forms of tables and charts. The findings revealed that agricultural libraries have major roles to play in literacy education to rural farmers in order to build their capacity to produce technology based agricultural goods that will reverse the negative impact of agriculture on the Nigerian economy. Results also showed that rural farmers had farm related information needs, peculiar information sources, and the agricultural information gathered by farmers were used to meet production related needs. The role agricultural libraries can play in literacy education of rural farmers in Nigeria were enunciated to include providing information to the extension workers and repackaging agricultural information for the rural farmers in local languages and dialects where necessary. Information Communication Technology developments within the library that can impact on the generation and dissemination of agricultural information to farmers included dissemination of information on posters, use of digital white boards for interactive extension workshops and dissemination of current digital agricultural information from the internet among others. In conclusion, the agricultural libraries have the human and material resources to join the extension team to conduct research and give rural farmer necessary information needed to provide to achieve technology based agriculture that will help the Nigerian nation achieve food sufficiency and security. It was recommended that Agricultural librarians should consider joining the agricultural extension team. The repackaging of agricultural information accessible to the library via online as well as the offline sources should be considered by the librarians in liaison with the agricultural experts. The agricultural librarians should spearhead the advocacy that will ensure the establishment of public libraries in all the local government areas in Abia state as this will ease the access to information to these rural farmers.


Keywords


Agricultural Libraries; Literacy Education; Capacity Building; Rural Farmers; Nigeria

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