A Reconsideration of the Small--Scale Farmers’ Concerns in Agricultural Biotechnology Communications in Nigeria
There have been several arguments that Nigeria’s agricultural sector in the last 30 years is developing at ineffective and slow progress to feed demand of the increasing population. Agricultural biotechnology is being promoted to solve this challenge. But some practical evidences of agricultural biotechnology elsewhere exist in many unresolved conflicting outcomes. It remains questionable whether Genetically Modified Crop, one of the applications of agricultural biotechnology, can really sustain small-scale farming in Nigeria amidst the public demand for health and environmental friendly agricultural practices. This paper intends to establish a technical position for a critical consideration of the small-scale farmers’ concerns in agricultural biotechnology and its subsequent communication in Nigeria. This study is girded by Ben Agger’s critical theory perspective which approaches critical theory from the postmodernist theory and cultural studies. The study used the mixed research method for data collection. Two hundred and ninety-four (294) copies of the questionnaire were administered while six (6) Key Informant Interviews (KIIs) were conducted. Data were collected from 263 purposively selected academic and technical staff members of three National Agricultural Research Institutes (NARIs). This study found out that agricultural research and communication experts are aware of the critical position of the small-scale farmers in the food production system in Nigeria. Furthermore, agricultural research experts in Nigeria believed that small scale farmers’ concerns should be critically factored into agricultural biotechnology communication. Thus, it is recommended that the NARIs should develop a strategic communication framework to integrate small-scale farmers’ concerns into agricultural biotechnology communication in Nigeria.