Evaluating Agricultural Extension Education And Youth Development Programs. This research work which is also a project work gives detailed infromation on Evaluating Agricultural Extension Education And Youth Development Programs can solve major issue relating to Agricultural extension.
1.1 Background information
The era of invention of agriculture led to greater number of people living together, causing population growth and enabling people to form a social attitude to life through increased human inter relationship and interaction, thus enabling them to live in communities.
People derive a lot of things from agriculture including food, feed, clothing, shelter, employment, income, raw materials. These assisted them in sustaining their livelihood.
In the present day situation of a developing nation like Nigeria, agriculture is mainly practiced in the rural area and large percentage of rural populace are illiterate and cannot read directly from researchers and subject matter specialist.
This is brought about by the need for agricultural extension agents who are specially trained to teach rural farmers better ways of farming to increase output in agricultural production.
Agricultural extension education usually starts at the farmer level of knowledge. According to Oloruntoba (2002), who emphasized on; the competence of evaluation of trainees in agricultural extension and again increasing production efficiency and income, promoting better levels of living and lifting the social education standards of rural life.
It can also be described as the drive and assistance given to farmers to help them improve their methods of production and marketing Mgbada, (2002).
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Literature were reviewed as related to this work in the following areas of study the process of evaluation of agricultural extension education and youth development programmes in secondary schools.
These reviews were as stipulated in already prepared works as in the text books, journals, magazines, newspaper, seminars and some thesis related to this work.
– The objective of education
-Role of education in youth participation in agriculture
-Youth development programmes
-The roles of teachers in agric extension
– Interest of youths in agriculture
– Youth participation in agriculture
– Youth engagement in agriculture in Africa
– Nature and extent of youth engagement in agriculture
– Constraints to youth engagement with agriculture
– Strategies to improve youth involvement in agriculture
– Youth and rural development
-Youth participation in rural development-
– Rural youth extension programmes
-Agricultural education and rural development
– Basic principles for developing an F.A.O strategy in support of agricultural education and training
-Some policy recommendations to improve youth participation in agriculture
2. 1.The objective of education
Education is a means by which a society obtains stability whether formal or informal. It is through education that the young members of the society are taught the expected behaviour of the society and learning the rules of the policy.
Sociology is the branch of education which deals or entails the study of human behaviour in a given society; sociology also studies the values, attitudes, ideas, beliefs and technology of a given group of people.
As such, education enables individuals to acquire us able and socially accepted vocational skills which assists the unemployed individual to be productive.
Through education systems, people are taught how to meet up with changing situations. Schools are opened in communities not only to preserve cultures and maintain continuity, but also to bring about progressive Changes where students are taught how to live in a dynamic society.
The Nigeria educational research council (N E R C), in its national curriculum conference stated the general objectives of Nigeria education as: permanent literacy to ensure that the child becomes a better producer and consumer of goods.
Sound basics of scientific and reflective thinking, ability to solve personal and social problem using the method of intelligence, citizenship education as an effective participating and contributing member of Nigerian society, character and moral training and sound attitudes development, adaptability to social environment, physical, emotional and intellectual growth, self discipline, identification with humanity and the world around him, opportunity to develop mechanical vocational and manipulative skills.
2.2 Role of education in youth participation in agriculture
Agriculture is an important sector in the economic development and poverty alleviation drive of many countries.
The importance of this sector is more pronounced in the developing countries including Nigeria where it is the main thrust of national survival, employment, food and foreign exchange earning Adedoyin, S.F. (2005),Breitenbach, M.C. (2006), Gwanya, T. (2008).
Though youths have desirable qualities that can promote agriculture, most of them have strong apathy toward it Adebayo, K. and Okuneye, P. A. (2005).
This has resulted in mass unemployment and lack of sustainable livelihood activities among the youths. This has further led most youths into cultism, prostitution and street begging, among others. With fewer youths into Agriculture, the long-term future of the agricultural sector is in question.
The development of the agricultural sector of the Nigerian economy therefore depends on the young people, more especially the rural youths.
This is because a larger population of youths represents the link between the present and the future as well as a reservoir of labour.
The role agriculture has played in the industrial growth and development of most of the industrialized countries in the world can not be over emphasized Battese, G.E. and Coelli, T.J. (1995).
Youth-in-Agriculture programme has been described as a very important structure for land and agrarian reform which will go a long way towards promoting the interest of youth in the agricultural sector of the economy.
Since agricultural development is the basic tool for economic development, there is the need for more emphasis to be placed on the role youth can play in agriculture.
In Nigeria, agricultural production is still carried out using physical strength, which declines with age. This has therefore been observed as one of the major constraints to agricultural production in Nigeria.
The successive regimes at the Federal Government level have introduced various agricultural development schemes with the aim of encouraging the youth and boosting food production and farmers’ income through provision of agricultural infrastructure, inputs and effective extension work (Muhammad-Lawal, A., Omotesho, O.A. and Falola, 2009).
The state and local governments also introduced some agricultural programmes aimed at boosting food production and youths’ participation.
2. 3 Youth Development Programmes in Nigeria.
Successive governmental administration in Nigeria have initiated policies aimed in involving youths in agriculture as lucrative vocation some specific programmes implemented in Nigeria to enhance youths participation in agriculture, the farm settlement scheme, the school-to-land program and mobilization of schools for agriculture and industry.
The forgoing programmes had the material investment, moreover, little efforts was made towards enhancing the effectiveness and sustainability of the programmes.
2. 4 The Roles of Teachers in Agricultural Extension.
Effective research linkage under the children in agricultural programmes demands appropriate training of school teachers in order to improve their knowledge and necessary skills in various areas of Agriculture.
Thus training of teachers is a crucial techniques in implementing the children in agricultural programmes. Meaningful training for teachers requires adequate facilities, payment of training, incentives to teachers and personnel in the implementation process of the children in agricultural programs.
2. 5 Interest of Youths in Agriculture.
The wide spread popularity of formal education in Nigerian society has its own problems.
It is unfortunate that primary and secondary school leavers who have been unable to meet their educational career often return to their village filled with disappointment and a sense of frustration.
This is particularly the case when the reason for the abrupt termination of their education career could either be that they failed requisite examination for higher institution or that their parents are unable to meet up with enhanced school fees. In either case, they suddenly realised that their dreams of obtaining worth while employment in urban surroundings have disintegrated and one is faced with the prospect of having to spend the rest of their lives foiling as poverty stricken farmers.
2. 6 Youth participation in agriculture
In recognizing the population of the Nigeria youths and role they can play in agricultural development, Akpan asserts that the neglect of the contribution of the youth in Nigeria will amount to ignoring 80% of the human resources.
while he contended that if our present leaders in agriculture can put down their manuscript briefly and help to organize a truly Nigeria youth movement, the long term solution to the country’s food shortage would have been found.
A necessary appendage was the school agricultural programmes started by various state governments through the state ministry of Agriculture and natural resources with their objectives; to make the youths appreciate the dignity of labour, to enable the schools contribute to food production, to develop the interest of youths in modern techniques of Agriculture, to enable the youths appreciate the problem of Nigeria farmers, to foster a desire in the children to improve agriculture in Nigeria, lastly to enhance rural development.
The youths played a very dynamic role in agricultural production as a major source of farm labour attributable to the farm families before the introduction of free primary education in 1955.
Through their exposure to farming, majority of the youth had taken up farming as full time profession.
2.7 Youth Engagement in Agriculture in Africa
Available literature points to the fact that agriculture remains a key sector where the surplus unemployed youthful labor force can be employed in Africa.
Agriculture currently plays a major role in the lives of the many young people and it is projected to remain so even in the next few decades FAC, (2011).
Indeed the World Bank agriculture for development report of 2008 stresses that employment creation in agriculture is likely to happen in countries with large agricultural sectors.
With improved agricultural productivity, more and better jobs are likely to be created (World Bank 2008). Not only does a modern and productive agricultural sector have the potential to overcome food insecurity, it can offer employment opportunities to young people Vale, (2012).
Decent livelihoods/employment in agriculture can be created through upgrading the existing jobs in agriculture or by creating new ones FAO, (2010).
Most commentators tend to agree that given the high and volatile food prices that have been experienced since 2010, producing food locally by encouraging young people to join or remain in the sector could be a worthwhile investment Brooks (Vale, 2012).
The ever increasing demand for agricultural products both regionally and internationally creates yet another opportunity for the youth to actively engage themselves in agriculture and earn income from agricultural activities. Furthermore, most African countries are producing below the potential yields implying that more improvements are possible with increased labor and land productivity (Brooks, 2012).
Despite the recognition of the potential of the agriculture sector internationally and nationally, literature points to the decline of youth interest and engagement in farming. Yet, most point out that the young people should be at the forefront of revitalizing agriculture since they tend to be more innovative (Vale, 2012; FAC, 2011).
Indeed, if their contribution is matched with the right skills and capital, the much needed youth dividend might be realized Brooks, (2012).
Lack of incentives and drudgery are some of the reasons why the youth are disinterested in agriculture (IFAD, 2011).
FAC (2011), underscores the current limited effort by most governments to engage the youth in agriculture and target the youth specifically with a view to understanding the constraints they face and devise plausible solutions to overcome them.
The specific factors affecting youth employment in agriculture have received little research attention nationally. The current trend however is that so many youth are leaving agriculture even with the increased government support due to various reasons: Young people perceive agriculture as a profession of intense labor, not profitable and unable to support their livelihood compared to what white collar jobs offer (Youth in Farming 2011).
Therefore, the decline in participation of the youth in agricultural production is linked to the rural-urban migration phenomenon.
The decision to migrate involves both “push” and “pull” factors, Lewis (1954); Harris and Todaro, (1970). The ‘push factors’ include among others – declining national resources; increasing cost of social amenities; loss of employment; and lack of opportunities for personal development. Among the listed ‘pull factors’ is the likelihood of better employment opportunities Bogue, (1969).
However, Akpan (2010), points out that some empirical studies found that economic push factors (such as, the lack of rural credit, unemployment, and rural poverty among others) are most important; while economic pull factors (such as, perception of high wages from urban employment) are dominant.
This predisposition is used to help explain why there is a declining involvement of the youth in agriculture.
Among the farm specific characteristics, it is found that an increase in average farm-size significantly reduces the tendency to close down farms or leave agriculture (Glauben et al. 2003; Goetz and Debertin, 2001).
The justification being that large farm sizes make farming much more economically viable for the farmers by enabling them to reap economies of scale and use of better and cost-effective technologies, (Sharma, 2009).
Adekunle et al. (2006), point out inadequate credit facility, lack of agricultural insurance, poor returns to agricultural investment, lack of basic farming knowledge and lack of access to tractors and other farm inputs as the major constraints hindering youth participation in agriculture.
Considering the individual characteristics, some of the authors e.g. Sharma (2007), have found higher education and greater number of skills to lead to greater probability to leave agriculture with exceptions (Zhao, 1999 and Nnadi et al., 2008).
Sharma (2009), found that possession of non-farm skills seems to be an important factor in determining out-migration of Indian youth from agriculture with the odds of a farmer moving out of farming increasing with skill attainment.
On the other hand, Weiss (1999), reveals several other farmer associated and significant characteristics such as gender, age, family size, succession information and attitude towards risk that explain the withdrawal of the youth out of agriculture.
Indeed, a number of policy makers and academicians have expressed serious concerns over the “graying of farm sector” because of increased exit and dropping rates of entry into farming by the rural youth (Gale, 2002).
The youth with a rural background cope easily with professional and technical work in agriculture (Aphunu and Atoma, 2010). The majority (80 percent) of Ugandans live in rural areas where agriculture forms the main source of livelihood. This type of setting exposes the majority of youths to agricultural activities.
However, Adebayo et al. (2006), notes that despite their (youths) rich rural life, farming background and experience, rural youth’s effective participation in agriculture can be curtailed in the absence of viable institutional framework for mobilizing, developing and channeling the unique abilities, experiences and aspirations of rural youths towards agriculture.
In the same vein, because traditional agriculture is based on the hand hoe and other rudimentary tools, subsistence agriculture holds no interest or appeal for young people.
Unimproved conditions in Ugandan agricultural have rendered agriculture unattractive to the youth (Youth in Farming, 2011). In circumstances where willingness to contribute is matched with opportunity, the youth have made a big contribution to economic growth and social development (Brooks et al., 2012).
Suriname (2011) further points out that the poor image of persons involved in agriculture needs to be changed and the young people are the ideal catalysts for such change given their greater propensity and willingness to adopt new ideas, concepts and technology which are all critical to changing the way agriculture is practiced and perceived.
To further attract the youth into agriculture, deliberate efforts by agri-support agencies to make inputs such as good seed, fertilizers, basic mechanization and agricultural market information available and affordable should be undertaken (Mbeine, 2012). Jong-Dae (2012), argues that the very high population growth and growing percentage of the youth in the population need not be seen as liabilities but rather as assets for transforming Ugandan agriculture.
The youth possess unique capabilities (dynamism, strength, adventure, ambition), and these are assets for agriculture (Nnadi and Akwiwu 2008).
Youths represent the most active segment of the population and the engine that do most productive work of the society (Adesope 1996). The youth have also been identified as constituting the major resource base for any country which wishes to embark on any meaningful agricultural and rural development projects (Onuekwusi, 2005).
Youths are a formidable force in the agricultural production process, constituting a sizeable proportion of future progressive farmers and better citizens, especially in rural areas(Aphunu and Atoma 2010).
Therefore the youth present an opportunity for a sustained effort to participate in development process because they possess greater energy, workforce and potential and have the capacity to drive positive change. Stimulating growth of employment in the agricultural sector remains paramount in countries with a large agricultural sector, and improvements in agricultural productivity can generate more and better jobs in most developing countries (World Bank, 2008).
2.8 Nature and Extent of Youth Engagement in Agriculture
Youths are very important resources for every nation especially for sustaining agricultural productivity, an important sector for the development. The youth is a stakeholder in the development process especially in view of the great assets of youth, resilience, resourcefulness and perseverance.
Unfortunately, this category of people is virtually left out in policies and programmes considerations (FAO et al., 2009) even though this is a critical stage for this group of people since this is a period of transition into adulthood.
For instance, the unemployment rate of this group globally ranked 12.6% compared with 4.8% as the rate of the adults in 2010 according to United Nation (UN) (2011), and this has the potential of tempting most youth to embark on migration especially to urban centers and beyond since this act creates room for accessing job opportunities.
This group of people is over 1.8 billion in the world today, 90% of whom live in developing countries, where they tend to make up a large proportion of the population and needs to be empowered since this is an important means of improving food security, youth livelihoods and employment.
There is insufficient youth participation in the agricultural sector Mangal (2009), even though this class of people is the most productive of any society as it contains people in the prime of their lives physically and mentally. Agriculture being one of the foundation pillars of any society can only function as such if this insufficient youth participation is reversed.
For instance improving youth productivity in the agricultural sector and exploring effective livelihood diversification is imperative. Also, investing in the youth by promoting good habit is crucial if they are to realize their full potential. This is in view of the fact that the number and proportion of the older persons is growing faster than any other age group (UNFPA and Help Age International, 2012).
The youth with the dynamism and flexibility has the potential as an agent of positive change and this should be ensured by development programmes. In the most adverse and risky situations, young people have an extraordinary resilience and ability to cope (UNFPA, 2006).
As stakeholders, rural-based youth are actively engaged in family livelihood activities and play key support roles within their families and usually desire to be acknowledged, emotionally and financially, for such contributions and for the supporting role they played within their families, in addition to controlling the financial returns from their activities (PAFNET, 2010).
Exposures of youths to modern cash economy and technologies that give them access to information from around the world are changing the perceived needs of young people, and this must be recognized especially by leaders, thus harnessing the opportunities and challenges thereof.
In Africa, 20% of the population aged between 15 and 24 years, comprising more than 20% of the population and a large majority lives in rural areas.
Being 37% of the working-age population, rural youths who are attached to agriculture are disadvantaged and this is because consideration of the youths as future farmers in Africa has not received adequate attention.
This category of people is the driving force behind economic prosperity in future decades, only if policies and programmes are in place to enhance their opportunities (Ashford, 2007).
According to Dr Namanga Ngogi, President of Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)(2012), 60% of Africa’s population resides in rural areas and the large majority of this population is made up of youths, and the poor participation of this group of young people in farming is a threat to the future of agriculture and rural economic transformation on the continent (Ghana News Agency, 2012).
Involvement of youth in agricultural activities has the potential of reducing the problems of the ageing farm population and increasing youth unemployment and this calls for securing the interest and participation of young people in agriculture in the form of deliberate shift in policy, training and promotion that specially targets the youth. This category of people are not only the productive backbone of every society, the major source of ideas and innovation, but also the main market for food consumption and very often the leaders and drivers of public opinion, public policy and action (Akpan, 2010).
2.9 Constraints to youth engagement with agriculture
The theory of change behind “agripreneurship” is enticingly simple – with training in entrepreneurship, access to financial services and land millions of young people throughout rural Africa will be able to create their own jobs in agriculture. However, the factors militating against this are multi-faceted and can be grouped into two major sub-headings namely: – Exogenous – Endogenous.
Endogenous factors are factors that emanate from the youths themselves as being reasons for their non-engagement with Agriculture.
Strong messages emerging from primary research with young people in rural areas under the project – a four-year study across ten developing countries – and from the Future Agricultures Consortium youth theme, focusing on young people and agricultural policy processes in sub-Saharan Africa, shed light on young people’s attitudes towards agriculture and the likelihood of being able to address food security concerns via engagement of young people with the sector. These factors include:
Disinterest: Agriculture is not considered to be delivering the types of lifestyles and status that young people desire and expect.
These are important dimensions of the attractiveness, or otherwise, of agriculture (invariably farming) as an occupation.
Agriculture is not considered able to deliver via incomes and working conditions the kinds of lifestyles young people need, expect and desire in the 21st century, lifestyles that are ever more visible thanks to revolutionary advances in communications technology that is accessible to (almost) all, even people living in the most remote rural areas.
In this respect, agriculture is regarded as a poor person’s activity, going beyond living standards to people’s sense of pride and self-respect. These are important dimensions of wellbeing and take us beyond narrow, one-dimensional conceptions of what it means to be poor, marginalized and disadvantaged (ILO, 2012).
If agriculture is not able to deliver either the desired living standards or the prospects for upward mobility, then the likelihood of attracting young people into or retaining them in the sector is low.
Doubt: youths do not have strong conviction that agriculture can be a lifelong career choice able to provide their needs and wants. Thus, they stay aloof and un-involved even when they are well-poised by education or experience to make a living out of it. Most young people have no interest in agriculture, not within their own visions for their future.
This is often echoed by their parents. By agriculture, people invariably think of;
Farming: backbreaking work, low input, 365 days a year for little or low return. Those who do see a future for themselves in farming believe it needs to be ‘smarter’, more productive and more reliable.
Negative Perception: youths perceive agriculture negatively. As something you do if you fail in school, as migrants in town or abroad, or by the side with other non-farm businesses. Or may not even be an option at all – pressure on resources, especially land scarcity, pose serious barriers to entry for young people. An apparent sense of insecurity around farming, related to unpredictable climate variability, volatile food prices, rising costs, further acts as a deterrent.
Exogenous factors refer to factors that are outside the control of the youths which affect their ability and capacity to engage with Agriculture. They include the following:
(i) Dearth of infrastructure Very thin body of relevant research
(b) Generalizing the youth demographic
(c) land tenure system
(e) lack of information on agribusiness opportunities
(f) poor marketing and media relations
(g) ineffective career guidance
(h) exclusion of youth from policy-making processes
(i) disconnect between agricultural education and practice; and
(j) absence of workable schemes/programmes.
Dearth of infrastructure: Rural areas are notably more deficient in physical and social infrastructure than urban areas leading to rural-urban migration with the attendant removal of youths from the rural areas where agriculture is mostly practiced.
Young people are aware of lifestyles in other regions within their countries and globally.
As long as urban areas offer a more attractive destination for young people desired lifestyles, more youths will continue to leave the rural areas.
Availability of good roads, constant electricity, recreational facilities, internet, potable water, affordable housing and qualitative healthcare in rural areas will go a long way in retaining youths in rural areas and improve their engagement with agriculture.
Lack of research base: The first hurdle to be faced is the marked lack of evidence base on which to build policies and programmes. There is frighteningly thin research about situations in which particular groups of young people engage or do not engage in agriculture.
What are the effects of gender, educational levels, household characteristics, proximity to markets, quality of natural resources, land availability, tenure regimes, and access to finance and so on?
Generalizing the youth demographic: One of the key obstacles to sustainable youths’ engagement with agriculture is the generalization of the “youth” demographic by policymakers
. Attitudes of young people towards agriculture vary extensively and some of the distinguishing factors are largely geographic location and land ownership. Even with campaigns to stimulate interest or raise awareness to the positive prospects of agriculture, there is a crucial need to segment the “youth” so the right message can be communicated to the right audience.
The reality of the matter is youth who have been exposed to agriculture e.g. those from rural settings where subsistence farming is largely dominant will probably understand the value of agriculture and its role as a key component of food security but might feel that it is not very progressive as most people in their communities might still be subsistence farmers who are struggling to not only carry their financial needs but also progress from subsistence farming to commercial farming.
On the other hand youth in urban settings might have little or no exposure to agriculture which requires a different marketing approach.
Land tenure and access: The land tenure system in most African countries makes access to land for agricultural purposes a herculean task.
Agricultural is a land-based activity and youths are excluded from easy access to adequate and suitable land. This effectively dissuades them from engaging with the sector.
Lack of information on agribusiness opportunities: A lot of young people struggle to access information on agriculture and agribusiness. They are not even aware of the enormous range of opportunities obtainable in the sector. Most perceive agriculture from the production part only.
Massive emphasis need to be invested in making information easily accessible in schools, libraries and local municipalities. There is also equal demand for the information to be in languages and grammar the youth understands and to span the full range of areas where youths can engage with agribusiness.
Exclusion of youth from policy-making processes: The youth need to be part of dialogues focusing on agricultural policies. If we acknowledge their vast population dynamics surely we need to include them in the formulation and implementation of policies affecting their future.
In addition whilst there is also a need to look into new policies that best reflect the current economic, social and political climate equal focus needs to be invested in the implement of these policies as in some instances a lot of policies have not seen the light of the day.
Capital, finance and collateral: Most young people do not have access to funding for agricultural purposes. They usually are not able to access finance from financial institutions because they do not possess collateral acceptable to banks and other financial institutions.
Poor marketing and media relations: Another challenge is the poor promotion of agriculture. There is a need for more coverage in print and electronic media, radio and television, local and national stations.
Programming needs to be shown during prime time, if expensive at least when young people are watching. There is a need to make programming that makes agriculture look “COOL”, the lifestyle that is. We also need testimonials of successful young farmers.
The internet particularly social media can also be good tools to promote agriculture if used effectively. With the surge of internet access among the youths, institutions promoting agriculture need to acknowledge the youth’s shift from traditional mediums especially newspapers.
Nowadays most young people get their information from the internet so the internet would be one of the best platforms to market and promote agriculture to reach the youth demographic.
This project topic is available now.