KNOWLEDGE AND SKILL OF AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION AGENTS IN RESEARCH AND DATA MANAGEMENT IN SOUTHWEST, NIGERIA
Keywords:Research, Data management, Agricultural extension agents, Training needs, Competencies
Research and data management are important to knowledge generation and development initiatives. Therefore, the research and data management needs of Agricultural Extension Agents (AEAs) in Southwest, Nigeria was studied. A cross-sectional survey was conducted in 3 states with 382 AEAs. Data were collected using self-administered structured questionnaire and analysed using means, standard deviation and Mean Weighted Discrepancy Score (MWDS). Findings of the study showed that the ratio of AEA to farm family was 1:485 and the average length of years of service of the extension agents was 10.34 years. The average monthly income of the AEAs was ₦60, 274. Furthermore, the study revealed that AEAs required 8 major competencies in research and data management which are use of participatory rural appraisal tools, participatory needs analysis, triangulation using qualitative data collection methods, identifying priorities in extension problems, participatory monitoring and evaluation, designing and conducting research survey, data collection techniques and using statistical methods in data analysis. The MWDS of the identified competencies ranged from 1.53 to 0.60. It was concluded that for AEAs to become co-creator of scientific knowledge and innovations needed for agricultural development, these identified core competencies must be given priority during pre-service and in-service training depending on state context.