DEVELOPMENT OF SKILL MODULES FOR TRAINING FARMERS IN ORGANIC FERTILIZER PRODUCTION FROM SOLID WASTE IN ABIA STATE
This study was designed to develop skill modules (a training manual) for training arable crop farmers (trainees) in organic fertilizer production from solid waste and its utilization in Abia State. The skill modules are meant to guide extension agents (EAs) to effectively impart the skills required by the farmers for producing and utilizing organic fertilizer. Six (6) research questions were asked and three null hypotheses postulated to guide the study. Research and development (R & D) design was adopted. This design entails survey and field-testing (experimentation). Multi-stage simple random sampling technique was adopted to select the blocks, circles, EAs and trainees from each of the three agricultural zones in the State. A total of 189 EAs (96.92%) and 27 trainees who were purposively selected were used. A questionnaire was used to gather information from the EAs while a rating scale was used to assess the performance of the trainees first during their training in the Agricultural Development Programme’s (ADP’s) On-Farm Adaptive Research (OFAR) and later in their own fields under the Train and Visit (T & V)-type of extension. The reliability coefficient of the tasks in the questionnaire using Cronbach’s alpha method were 0.87 for task1, 0.91 for task2, and 0.79 for task3 while the scorer-reliability of the rating scale using Kendall’s coefficient of concordance (W) was 0.67. Data collected were anarlyzed using means and standard deviation to answer the research questions while a two-tailed t-test statistic was used to test the null hypotheses at 0.05 level of significance. The findings of the study revealed that respondents agreed to ten (10) skills as required ( x = 3.63; SD = 0.20) for developing the planning skill module 1 (task1), fifteen (15) skills as required ( x = 3.43; SD = 0.22) for production process skill module 2 (task2), and nine (9) skills as required ( x = 3.64; SD = 0.33) for health and safety skill module 3 (task3). A training guide in three modules was developed and field-tests of the developed modules showed that there was no significant (P < 0.05) difference between the mean performance scores of the farmers in the ADP’s OFAR and those of the farmers’ fields as indicated by module1 (t-cal = 2.04; t-crit = 2.12); module 2 (t-cal = 0.20; t-crit = 2.12) and module 3 (t-cal = 0.15; t-crit = 2.12). The study recommended, among other things, that the developed skill modules be adopted by ADP for training its clientele, and capacity-building workshops for extension agents by Agricultural Research Institutes and other agencies involved in organic fertilizer production from solid waste.