COMPETENCE NEEDS OF EXTENSION AGENTS FOR AGRICULTURAL ADAPTATION TO CLIMATE CHANGE IN ANAMBRA STATE, NIGERIA
The overall purpose of the study was to determine the competence needs of extension agents for agricultural adaptation to climate change. Specifically, the study sought to ascertain the knowledge level of extension personnel on climate change; ascertain perceived roles of extension in agricultural adaptation; identify perceived competence needs of extension agents for agricultural adaptation; determine factors militating against competence building of extension agents for agricultural adaptation and identify the possible strategies to building competence of extension agents. The study tested the hypothesis that there is no significant relationship between personal/institutional characteristics and knowledge level of extension personnel on climate change and there is no significant relationship between personal factors and attitude of extension personnel to climate change. Data were collected using questionnaire administered to 93 extension personnel in the state Agricultural Development Programme. Data were presented with percentage and bar chart and analysed using mean score, standard deviation, factor analysis. The hypotheses were tested using logit model. Result of the study showed that 57.3% of extension personnel were females, while 43.0% were males. The mean age of the respondents was 45.2years and 93.5% of the respondents were married. Majority (53.3%) of the personnel had B.Sc/HND, 33.7% had OND/NCE, while 13.0% had M.Sc. Majority (63.4%) of the respondents had high knowledge of climate change and favourable attitude ((93.5%)) towards climate change. The respondents perceived roles of extension in climate adaptation were conducting workshops, seminars for creating awareness/knowledge of climate change and adaptation (M=3.74), facilitating access to relevant information (M=3.54), carrying out demonstration for teaching farmers measures used to mitigate or adapt to the effect of climate change (M=3.45) and others. The respondents perceived communication (M=2.93), technical knowledge/skill/information on climate change (M=2.89), participatory extension strategies (rM=2.81), use of information communication technology (M=2.72), facilitation (M=2.72) as major areas of competence needs of extension agents. The major constrains militating against competence building of extension agents for climate change adaptation include inadequate fund (M=3.80), inadequate knowledge and technology on climate change (M=3.70), lack of incentives/motivation of extension agents (M=3.64) and others. The position of the extension personnel in extension organization and year spent in the organization were significantly (B=-5.844, p<0.05)(B=0.487,p<0.05) related to knowledge level of extension personnel, respectively. The study recommends that extension workers should possess mix of competence in the areas of subject matter, communication, ICTs and others for agricultural adaptation. The government should provide the needed infrastructure and funds to extension organization for training of extension personnel. Also there should be regular update of extension agents on climate change through in-house training underpinned by strong linkage and networking with research and other institutions.