FARMERS ADOPTION OF INTERPERSONAL COMMUNICATION INTERVENTION STRATEGIES IN USAID’S MARKETS II PROJECT FOR IMPROVED RICE PRODUCTION IN NIGERIA
The application of proper communication aimed at development in a project will determine the life span of such a project, and the degree of effectiveness in the lives of the people it is geared towards. The farmers in the rural areas are assumed to be poor, uneducated, and very conservative in nature and so the use of sophisticated media in reaching them and remaining in touch with them may just not be what they need. There is thus a need to start with the form of communication they know to that which is unknown to them. This work therefore focuses on the effectiveness of interpersonal communication strategies in USAID MARKETS II project, and how the adoption of these interpersonal communication strategies helped in improving rice production. Using the triangulation mixed method, the researcher combined survey and focus group discussion methods to gather quantitative and qualitative data. Four focus groups discussion sessions were held and 154 copies of questionnaire were distributed to farmers selected purposively from the area of study. Information sought for included the socio demographic characteristic of the respondents and information on USAID and MARKETS II project. Majority of the respondents were familiar with the project and have been a part of it for at least 3 years. Seminars and workshop was found out to be the strategy that the farmers preferred the most and demonstrative plots was found out to be the most effective interpersonal communication strategy because it creates room for the farmers to see and believe in new farming technologies. These rural farmers however face some challenges in adopting these strategies. Language and dialect barriers, high cost of Modern communication technology, limited telecommunication network services, erratic power supply and uncomfortable teaching environment were the obvious problems. In addition to these issues, the farmers stressed the fact that lack of finance limited their production. It was therefore recommended that efforts should be made to combat these challenges and the government should be more serious with these rural farmers for more improved rice production especially if the food security of this nation is uttermost in their minds.