AVAILABILITY, ACCESS AND UTILIZATION OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES AMONG STAFF OF WOMEN IN AGRICULTURE SUB-PROGRAMME OF AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMMES IN NORTH CENTRAL ZONE OF NIGERIA
The study determined the availability, access and utilization of information communication technologies among staff of women in agriculture sub-programme of agricultural development programmes in north central zone of Nigeria. Four states were randomly selected which include Benue, Kogi and Nassarawa states, and the Federal Capital Territory. The multi-stage sampling procedure was used to select a sample size of eighty (80) WIA staff. Interview schedule was used to collect data from the respondents. Frequency count, percentage and mean score were used to analyze the data collected. Factor analysis with principal factor model with interaction and varimax rotation was used to determine the major constrains to the use of ICTs. The result of the study showed the mean age of the respondents to be 47.25 years with average working experience of 20.66 years and 14years as WIA staff. All (100%) the respondents were aware of radio, video machine, television and telephone and majority of them were aware of the other modern ICTs except for fax machine, GIS, Skype, face book and digital camera. Only a few (40% for telephone and 33.8% for radio) of them had ICT tools in their offices but majority (92.5% for radio and 88.8% for television) of them had personal ICTs. Majority (87.0%, 85.0% and 80.0%) of the WIA staff had access to telephone, television and radio respectively but very few (32.5% for computer 28.8% for internet and 8.8% for printer) of them had access to the modern ICT facilities. Majority (89.5%) of the few that accessed the internet did so for browsing to get information. The findings also showed that radio (M=3.70), Video machine (M=3.58), television (M=3.14) and telephone (M=3.49) were used by the respondents to a large extent. Majority (56.2% used radio for root and tuber processing and 62.5% used telephone for Fruit and vegetable processing) of them staff used a few ICTs for their WIA activities. Radio (M=3.06), television (M=2.88) and telephone (M=3.68) were perceived to be very important to the respondents in their official duties. Also, lack of training opportunities (M=2.25), insufficient availability of ICT facilities (M=2.06) and lack of technical know-how (M=2.05) were perceived by the respondents to be serious constraints to the use of ICTs. 1. Based on the major findings it was concluded that majority of the respondents were still within active years and could access and use available ICT facilities and that though majority of them were aware of the ICT facilities, majority of them could not affectively operate most of the modern ICTs except for radio, video machine, television and telephone and to some extent, computer. Majority of them did not use most of the ICTs for official functions because they were constrained by lack of training opportunity, insufficient availability of ICT facilities and lack of technical know- how among other constraints perceived by the respondents to be serious to the use of ICTs for their official functions. The study, among other things recommended setting up of projects that will enable WIA staff to have more access to ICT tools and establishment of functional ICT centres with departments for WIA in all the states which will create more awareness, better accessibility and higher usage of ICT tools by the WIA staff.