This research work is aimed at analyzing the impact of village square meeting on agricultural development in Gakem, Bekwarra Local Government Area of Cross River State. The research method used was survey, and questionnaire the instrument. The researcher adopted the systematic random sampling technique to select a sample size of 200 which was used in the study. The findings gotten from the questionnaire shows that the people of Gakem, Bekwarra Local Government are exposed to agricultural messages passed through the village square meeting and that it was as a result of adherence to such messages that they advanced in agricultural practice. It is therefore recommended that the village square medium should advance in the dissemination of agricultural messages in Gakem.
1.1 Background of the Study
The village square meeting is one o f the mediums of traditional media of communication in the rural communities. It channels a lot of information on day to day activities which takes place in the rural communities. Village square meeting takes place in the village square, where a lot of issues that affects the community are being discussed. Such information includes; Agricultural innovation programmes, burial ceremony or burial arrangement, coronation, naming ceremony, market days and product available for sales, visit of a prominent member of the community such as; a member representing the community in the state and Federal housing, local government chairman, party aspirant and party manifestos to mention a few. For the purpose of this study, Agricultural innovation or development programmes as affected by the village square meeting as a medium of traditional media will be the focus.
The village square meeting is one of the mediums of traditional communication that helps to service the society or the rural communities through proper information that help the community in their daily interactions.
Ever before the emergence of modern mass media, viz, print and broadcast and their introduction to Africa, people in African societies or communities did not live in isolation from one another, there exist many other mediums and channels viz the family, market place, town crier, visits, religious association, gun shot, bush burning, dance display etc. which makes it easier for people to interact and exchange opinions, ideas thoughts and feelings in their local communities. Acknowledging this facts, Ebeze 2002, write that before the introduction of modern mass media in Africa, there exist other channels of communication that enable people in ancient African communities to interact and maintain a stable system of living. These channels as mentioned earlier has helped in shaping African communities, the channels are used as a medium for inculcating the norms and values of the community social mobilization, political mobilization, economic mobilization, cultural mobilization, and the transfer of cultural heritage from generation to generation or from old members of the community to new comers. All these information carried by the mediums which the village square is one, has helped in rapid development of rural communities in Africa.
1.2 Statement of the Research Problem
Agriculture has from time immemorial remained the major sources of income and revenue generation in the rural area. The production of crops such as yam, cassava, beans, rice vegetable, tree crops like cocoa, banana, plantain palm produce, rubber etc. and animal such as; cattles, goats domestic fowls, Snails, fish, Agric fowls, duck, turkey, guinea fowl, pigs to mention a few, has remain the base for economic advancement in the rural communities in Nigeria. In spits the enormous contributions of various media both traditional old media and the mass media new media of communication, viz the village square as a medium of traditional media, some rural communities are still lagging behind in agricultural advancement. Though, a lot of agricultural innovation programmes have been initiated by the federal, state, and local government, poor planting methods, poor method of pesticide, herbicide application etc. have been constraint to agricultural development in the rural area.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The objectives of this study are;
1 To determine the role of village square meetings in promoting effective agricultural development in the rural area.
2 To find out how people react to agricultural messages received in the village square meetings.
3 To determine the influence of agricultural messages passed in the village square meetings on the attitude of farmers in Gakem, Bekwarra L.G.A.