EFFECTIVENESS OF RADIO IN DISSEMINATING COVID-19 INFORMATION TO CROP FARMERS IN IKWERRE LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA, RIVERS STATE
Keywords:Effectiveness, Disseminating, Covid – 19 and Information
The study focused on the effectiveness of radio in disseminating covid-19 information to crop farmers in Ikwerre Local Government Area, Rives State. The objectives of the study were to; describe the socio-economic characteristics of rural farmers, determine the level of awareness of the farmers about covid-19, identify the sources of covid-19 information available to farmers, examine the prevention strategies communicated by the media and its effectiveness and identify the constraints of the radio in disseminating COVID-19 information to farmers in the study area. The population of the study were crop farmers in Ikwerre. Random sampling procedure was used to select 6 communities in Ikwerre Local Government Area, bringing to a total of 100 respondents. Data were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics. A well-structured questionnaire was used to elicit data from the respondents. The result revealed that 68.0% of the respondents were female, 32.0% were male, 10% were single, 38% were married, and 52% were widowed. The mean size of the household was 7 persons, 6% had no formal education, 49% had primary education, 31% had secondary education, and 14% had tertiary education. The mean farming experience was 16 years, the mean age of the farmer is 44 years and the mean income level (₦) was 27,660. The awareness level of the farmers about covid-19 was high as a great number of the respondents were aware through its signs and symptoms. Majority (77%) of the respondents used Radio as a source of information on Covid-19, 62% of them obtained their information from Newspapers, 23% got theirs through the Television, 9% from Magazines and 8% got their information from the social media. To show the radio’s effectiveness (100%) of the respondents agree that washing of hands is a prevention practice from Covid-19 infection, 99% of them identified Putting on of face marks as a prevention practice, 96% used Regular hand sanitizing, 89% of them observed Avoid crowded areas, and Stay Ten meters apart respectively.85% observed No handshakes and 84% agreed that No hugs were prevention practices communicated by the media. The major constraints faced by the respondents in accessing covid-19 information on radio were; high cost of getting a radio (x̅ =3.54), lack of breakdown information (x̅ =3.34), erratic power supply (x̅ =3.22), and lack of visual content (x̅ =2.70). The study recommends that farmers should be encouraged to own radio sets and continue to rely on farm radio programmes for agricultural information.