2Department of Educational Foundation, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Bauchi
3Gombe State Ministry of Education, Gombe
4Department of Agricultural Technology, Federal Polytechnic Bauchi
Rural youths who acquired skills through agro-entrepreneurship education could get gainful employment and thus help to reduce social vices such as robbery, cattle rustling, drug abuse among others. In addition to that, the acquisition of entrepreneurship skills does not only provide youths with financial benefits, but also provided them with psycho-emotional security. Generally, the acquisition of appropriate entrepreneurial skills in agriculture enables individuals to develop their intellectual, physical, social, emotional, spiritual, political and economic capabilities. Despite these profound benefits, the agro-entrepreneurship education is still not fully propelling in Nigeria. The major bottlenecks to rural agro-entrepreneurship education include the following; i) political instability, bureaucracy and corruption in conjunction with the absence of social consensus on importance of micro/macroeconomic policy issues; ii) poor vocational/skills training toolkits; iii) data for agro-entrepreneurship education has been lacking; iv) there is little or limited programme design for agro-entrepreneurship education in the rural communities; v) the presence of administrative and trade barriers that curtail capacity building and inhibit access to technical support; vi) significant infrastructural deficits (especially with regards to roads and electricity) and systematic irregularities inimical to small businesses; vii) absence of proactive regulatory environment that encourages innovative enterprise development in the rural communities; viii) poor access to capital; ix) higher infrastructural decay; x) high rate of poverty; xi) inflation; xii) technological infraction and xiii) insecurity.
Gombe State is one of the six states of the North-east geo-political zone of Nigeria. It covers an area of 20,265 km2 with human population of 2,587,159 million, of which 1,296,166 (50.1%) are males and 1,290,993 (49.9%) are females; with population growth rate of 3.2% per annum [Gombe State Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy; GOSEEDS] (GOSEEDS, 2007). It shares common boundaries with Borno State to the east, Yobe State to the north-east, Bauchi State to west, Taraba State to the south, and Adamawa State to the South-east [Gombe State Government; GSG] (GSG, 2015). The climatic condition of the State is typical of the Sudan savannah zone characterised by long dry season lasting between October and April and short rainy season that lasts from May to September; with an average (850 mm) amount of rainfall received per annum. The climate is characterised with a warm condition, having a mean diurnal temperatures of 35°C – 40°C during the hottest months of (March – May) and to about less than 30°C during harmattan (GSG, 2015). Gombe State is a multi-ethnic state comprising majorly of Fulanis, Tangale, Waja, Tera, Bolewa, Tula, Cham, Dadiya and Hausa (GSG, 2015). The location of Gombe State in the centre of major trade routes has made it important commercial hub in the north-east region that linked to other parts of the country by road, air, and rail networks. The people of the State are mostly farmers, cattle-herdsmen and traders and other non-agricultural services (GOSEEDS, 2007). Crops produced and marketed in the study area includes; maize, millet, sorghum, cowpea, groundnuts, Bambara nuts, rice, vegetables and fruits; as well as livestock and fisheries are also raised. Industrial and other agro-business activities in the study area are in the form of large, medium, small and cottage scales; such as ginnery, oil seeds milling, rice milling, table water production, leather works, fish and meat processing etc. (GSG, 2015).
A multi-stage sampling technique was used to select respondents for the research population. Gombe State was purposively selected in the first stage, because it is known for agribusiness opportunities and as well as there were notable records of rural entrepreneurship education initiatives. In stage II, three Local Government Areas (Akko, Balanga and Funakaye) were purposively selected for their notable extension service delivery and community counselling in the State. In stage III, a disproportional and simple random techniques were used to select a total of 186 respondents to ensure every member of the target population (extension staff, guidance-counsellors, farmers and rural entrepreneurs) had equal and independent chance of being selected (Mubirigi, 2016).
Data for this study were collected from the primary sources using structured questionnaires and supported with schedule interview that allowed for generation of qualitative information which were not captured in the questionnaire. The questionnaire consisted of coded questions that guided the respondents to freely express their perceptions on the variables given.
In this study, the descriptive statistics such as the means, standard error and the mean decision on a 5-point Likert scale ratings were used to answer the research questions of the study. The rationale for using these tools is relevance since they provide more complete and accurate information (Kessy, 2001). They were used to present and show the distribution of the respondents’ perceptions on agro-entrepreneurship education in the study area. However, the standard error of the mean (SEM), was used to measure the dispersion of sample means around the population mean. It measures the accuracy and precision with which the sample represents the entire population. The smaller the value of the standard error, the more representative the sample will be of the overall population. However, to achieve the objectives of the study; the perceived variables were measured on a 5-point Likert scales as follows; - strongly agree (SA) = 5; agreed (A) = 4; undecided (UD) = 3; disagreed (DA) = 2; and strongly disagree (SD) = 1 point. The five responses were added to obtain 15, which was then divided by five to get 3; and regarded as the decision mean. Variables with mean score < 3 were perceived as rejected response, while variables with scores ≥ 3 were perceived as accepted response.
Table 1 below shows means rating of the perceived roles of community counsellors in rural agro-entrepreneurship education in the study area. However, the results revealed that, items 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9 and 10 have mean score range of 3.38 – 3.85; meaning the variables were agreed and accepted that, creativity and motivation; the provision of meaningful guidance and as well as the provision of vocational, psychological potentials to the rural communities etc. were perceived as key roles of community counsellors in the study area. The results also revealed that items 1, 4 and 8 were rejected; meaning that, the variables were not key roles of rural community counsellors in the study area. The result implies that; rural community counseling is a helping relationship where rural communities are in contact with counselors who have been trained to help them get out of their socio-economic problems. This is in line with the findings of Anamaeze (2002) who admitted that counseling is a relationship between counselor and counselee in which the former helps the latter learns more for satisfying attitude and behaviour necessary for solving the socio-economic problems. However, to achieve positive impact on the roles of rural community counselling for agro-entrepreneurship development; the counselors should utilize best administration, training programmes, action research skill, orientation, planning, time management skill, use of practical skills among others (Ifelunni, 2003; and Onyilofor, 2010).
|S_No.||Perceived roles of community counsellors in rural agro- entrepreneurship education in Gombe State||x-score||S.E||Decision|
|1.||Transfer of technology and innovation packages is the key role of community counsellors in rural agro-entrepreneurship education in Gombe State Nigeria||2.90||1.58||Rejected|
|2.||Creativity and motivation is another role of community counsellors in rural agro-entrepreneurial education and economic development in Gombe State Nigeria||3.67||1.73||Accepted|
|3.||Training of rural youths and school leavers in agro-entrepreneurship education is also the role of community counsellors in Gombe State Nigeria||3.39||1.68||Accepted|
|4.||Industrial and small-scale rural economic development is influenced by the roles of community counsellors in Gombe State Nigeria||2.82||2.46||Rejected|
|5.||Provision of meaningful guidance for rural youths which could make them self-reliance and to make them drive profit is also the role of community counsellors||3.85||0.77||Accepted|
|6.||Solving of rural community problems is also important role of counsellors in agro-entrepreneurship education and sustainable economic development in Gombe State||3.19||1.64||Accepted|
|7.||Community counsellors provide rural youths with enough training that will make them creative and innovative in identifying new business opportunities in agriculture||3.48||0.70||Accepted|
|8.||Ability to procure formal loans for agro-entrepreneurship by rural youths is influenced by the roles of community counsellors in Gombe State Nigeria||2.79||1.36||Rejected|
|9.||Supportive counselling in career choice is one of the important roles of community counsellors in agro-entrepreneurship education in Gombe State Nigeria||3.38||1.67||Accepted|
|10.||Community counsellors provide vocational/psychological potentials to rural communities for agro-entrepreneurship and economic development in Gombe State||3.71||1.74||Accepted|
Table 1: Roles of community counselors in agro-entrepreneurship education in Gombe State.
Table 2 below shows the respondents’ perceptions of the determinants for effective implementation of rural agro-entrepreneurship education programmes in Gombe State Nigeria. However, the results revealed that, items 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8 and 10; have mean scores range of 3.02 – 3.94; meaning that, the variables were strongly agreed and accepted, meaning that these variables were very important factors for effective implementation of rural agro-entrepreneurship education programmes in the study area. The results also revealed that items 7 and 9 had mean scores range of 2.01 – 2.94; implies that, the variables were not important factors for effective implementation of agro-entrepreneurship programmes in the study area. The result is in line with Ojeifo (2013), who opined that, poor infrastructural network has been proved as a major setback to rural agro-entrepreneurial development. Basic infrastructural network such as good electricity supply, good road networks, standard health care facilities, accessible portable water and quality education among others are in gross shortage of supply in most of rural communities in Nigeria thereby affect agro-entrepreneurship development. These to a large extent have resulted to continuous out-migration from rural to urban regions (Oni & Daniya, 2012). The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP, 2013) also, viewed rural infrastructures have long been neglected in Nigeria, and this justifies shortage of manpower in the rural communities. Governments’ investments in amenities such as; electricity, health care facilities, road networks, education and water supply have focused largely in the cities; as a result, affect the implementation of agro-entrepreneurship programmes in the rural communities.
|S_No.||Perceived factors for effective implementation of agro-entrepreneurship programmes in Gombe State||x-score||S.E||Decision|
|1||The available alternative resources and the behaviour of entrepreneurs in choice and decision making is a factor for implementing agro-entrepreneurship programmes||3.02||1.06||Accepted|
|2||The attitude of the society (interest in sharing and releasing their assets for productive and profitable activities),||3.85||0.77||Accepted|
|3||The motivational tools and techniques available to the rural entrepreneur, that is, technology in use,||3.51||2.70||Accepted|
|4||Political reformation, religious tolerance, security, adequate and appropriate social amenities, etc.||3.13||0.63||Accepted|
|5||The rewards system in the rural society (the higher the reward system, the greater the achievement of the rural entrepreneurs),||3.94||1.79||Accepted|
|6||The economic growth rate (the greater the growth rate, the higher the agro-entrepreneurship development),||3.18||1.64||Accepted|
|7||A free and democratic society, free enterprise economic system and the opportunity costs of developing private initiatives||2.94||2.59||Rejected|
|8||The infrastructural networks to a large extent contributed to the rural agro-entrepreneurial development||3.20||0.64||Accepted|
|9||Process of creating self-awareness and the development of individual capacity for creative and innovative thinking, decision making and action implementation||2.01||1.04||Rejected|
|10||The remoteness of a rural location has its effect on different aspects of business innovation and consequently on rural agribusiness growth and the creation of employment||3.62||1.39||Accepted|
Table 2: Determinants of rural agro-entrepreneurship implementation programmes.
Table 3 below shows the respondents’ perceptions of counselling skills and strategies in agro-entrepreneurship education for sustainable development in Gombe State Nigeria. However, the results revealed that, all items (1 – 10) have mean score range of 3.03 – 3.90; meaning that, the variables were strongly agreed and accepted as the best counselling skills adopted by the rural community counsellors in agro-entrepreneurship education in the study area. However, the finding is in line with the counselling skills identified by Laura (2005) and Marsan (2009). By examining their own personal strengths and weaknesses and comparing these with those of the typical counsellor; the community counsellors are expected to work closely with the people; this is where it is critical to be able to build great relationships with their clients. They need to develop ability for optimistic thinking that will help a person get through tough times and create a compelling vision of the future, and then inspire other people to engage with that vision. They also need to acquire the instinct to start problem-solving or business improvement projects and develop ability to lead others and make decisions even when facts are uncertain. Creativity is perceived a skill that a community counsellor can develop if he/she invests the time and effort. This is in tandem with the findings of Howkins (2001), that agro-entrepreneurship education is the creative industry which need to possess the ability to prioritize ideas over data. Rural community counsellors need to come up with fresh ideas, and make good decisions about opportunities and potentials of agribusinesses in the rural communities.
- Provision of information that is accurately up-to-date and useable on the different aspects of agriculture; also, knowledge and skills of entrepreneurship education should be made available to deserving citizens, especially the youths through the counselling process, and use of other effective guidance services such as orientation and appraisal, taking cognizance of individual personality dispositions;
- Individual and group counselling strategies could be used to cater for personal or common need of individuals. The counsellor could reach out to them through variety of ways for self-disclosure and experience sharing;
- Cluster formation particularly in rural settlements for easy access and continuity. Conducive environment could be created for beneficial dialogue and counselling encounter. Appropriate time may also be scheduled;
- The counsellor needs to be pragmatic in his/her approach, providing practical examples, and may use films, posters, radio, and television. Resource persons may also be engaged and opportunity for visits to sites for experience in entrepreneurship activities and skills demonstration; there is the need for synergy between the counsellor, who may have rudiments of the knowledge of agriculture, sociology of rural dwellers and other experts in agricultural specialties. Evaluation of the activities and indeed the counselling process would be useful. The counsellor is required to demonstrate patience, understanding, tact, perseverance, tolerance and versatility in the light of individual differences and challenging contexts that may present themselves.
|S_No.||Perceived counselling skills and strategies used in agro-entrepreneurship education in Gombe State||x-score||S.E||Decision|
|1||Motivation is a good counseling skill utilised by rural community counsellors in agro-entrepreneurship education in Gombe State Nigeria||3.57||0.71||Accepted|
|2||Interactive skill; is another best agro-entrepreneurship education strategy utilised by rural community counsellors in Gombe State Nigeria||3.90||1.79||Accepted|
|3||Problem solving and confidentiality strategy are best counselling skills utilised by community counsellors in agro-entrepreneurship education in Gombe State Nigeria||3.08||2.62||Accepted|
|4||Technological advancement strategy; is an agro-entrepreneurial education skill utilised by community counsellors in Gombe State Nigeria||3.17||1.63||Accepted|
|5||Creativity and economic survival skill; is one of the key agro-entrepreneurial education strategy utilised by community counsellors in Gombe State Nigeria||3.22||0.64||Accepted|
|6||Awareness and freedom strategy; is a very important agro-entrepreneurial education skill utilised by community counsellors in Gombe State Nigeria||3.81||1.76||Accepted|
|7||Self-efficacy strategy; is one of the best counseling skill utilised by the rural community counselors in transformation and agro-entrepreneurship education||3.03||1.61||Accepted|
|8||Communicative skill; is another best agro-entrepreneurship education strategy for sustainable economic development in Gombe State Nigeria||3.64||1.73||Accepted|
|9||Divergent thinking skill; is another best counseling strategy a community counselor utilises in transformation and agro-entrepreneurship education in Gombe State||3.47||2.69||Accepted|
|10||Self-expression skill; is also a good counseling strategy a community counselor utilises in agro-entrepreneurship education and sustainable development in Gombe State||3.39||0.68||Accepted|
Table 3: Counselling skills and strategies in rural agro-entrepreneurship education.
Based on the findings of the study the following recommendations were made;
- Governments through schools, extension service units and community leaders should emphasize the introduction of mandatory agro-entrepreneurship education and training. Also, to re-integrate vocational training skills; build more incubator centres and arrange special training programmes for rural agro-entrepreneurs so as to encourage their motive to embark on rural agribusinesses;
- There should be more emphases by the governments at all levels on integrated rural agro-entrepreneurship development programmes through collaboration with international development organisations such as; the United Nations, World Bank, African Development Bank, the British Council etc. Also, adequate funding of agro-entrepreneurship education programmes must be ensured to achieve the set objectives;
- Ministries of Labour and Youth Development should partner with the National Orientation Agency to be more involved in initiating programmes that enhances rural SMEs development and general economic welfare in the rural communities through proper orientation and motivation of the youths and adults to take up agro-entrepreneurship as a career;
- Effective counselling hinges on some settings, hence the need for government to provide conducive and supportive environment with good motorable roads, electricity, portable drinking water and good shelter in rural communities to address drift to urban centres. These will help rural dwellers to see opportunities at their levels, and be interested in undertaking entrepreneurship activities using available local resources.
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