NEWSPAPER COVERAGE OF AGRICULTURAL NEWS FOR NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT: A CONTENT ANALYSIS OF DAILY TRUST, DAILY SUN, THE GUARDIAN AND VANGUARD NEWSPAPERS

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ABSTRACT

Agricultural input towards national development dropped to an abysmal level on account of oil boom and other problems besieging agricultural sector. Nevertheless, the importance of agriculture to national development cannot be over-emphasized especially now that there is rapid decline in oil prices, massive unemployment, hunger and starvation etc. Therefore, this study examined newspaper coverage of agricultural news for national development. The study adopted content analysis as its research design. The population of the study is all editions/issues of Daily Trust, Sun, The Guardian and Vanguard newspapers published between 1st of January to 31st December, 2014. Using composite week sampling technique, the study arrived at 384 editions of newspapers as sample size. The Holsti’s inter-coder reliability check was used. The study found out that 94.6% of stories studied covered agriculture positively. However, in a sharp contrast, the study also revealed that no agricultural news was seen in front, back or centre spread pages of the 4 newspapers indicating lack of prominence. The study concluded that newspapers’ coverage of agricultural news has not been impressive. It was however, recommended among other things, that since issues are seen as important as the media made it to be based on the emphasis, placement and frames used by media, Nigeria media should accord all this to Agricultural news coverage.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title Page
List of Tables
Abstract

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.1       Background of Study
1.2       Statement of the Problem
1.3       Objectives of the Study
1.4       Research Questions
1.5       Significance of the Study
1.6       Scope of the Study
1.7       Operational Definition of terms

CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1       Focus of the Review
2.2       Review itself
2.2.1    History of Agricultural development in Nigeria
2.2.2    The concept of National development
2.2.3    Agriculture for National Development
2.2.4    Challenges of Agricultural Development in Nigeria
2.2.5    Empirical Review of Related Study
2.3       Theoretical Framework
2.3.1 Framing Theory
2.3.2 Social Responsibility Theory

CHAPTER THREE: METHODOLOGY
3.1       Research Design
3.2       Population of the Study
3.3       Sample Size
3.4       Sampling Technique
3.5       Units of Analysis
3.6       Instruments of Data Collection
3.7       Validity/Reliability of instrument
3.8       Method of Data Analysis and Presentation

CHAPTER FOUR: DATA PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS
4.1       Description of Sample Size
4.2       Data Presentation and Analysis
4.3       Discussion of Findings

CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
5.1       Summary of Findings
5.2       Conclusion
5.3       Recommendations
BIBLIOGRAPHY
Appendix

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of Study
From the evolution of human history, it is amply testified that economic development traces its origin to agriculture. All over the world, the development of an enduring economy goes hand in hand with agricultural development. Agriculture is considered a catalyst for the overall development of any nation. According to Ogbalubi And Wokocha (2013, p.60), agriculture is:

A critical sector that drives the economic development and industrialization of a developing nation, and also holds the ace for reducing unemployment. Thus, its development is critically important for ensuring food and nutritional security, income and employment generation and for stimulating industrialization and overall economic development of the country.

The technological strides recorded by the world’s leading economies had their roots in agriculture. Despite the fact that the sector has increasingly shrunk in its contribution to the Gross Domestic product (GDP) of many nations, it still provides the chunk of the GDP of many nations especially the developing ones. (Ogbalubi And Wokocha 2013, p.60)
Development economists have always assigned the agriculture sector a central place in the development process of any nation. In this light, Reddy, Ram, Sastry & Devi (2009, p.585) maintain that “Even the developed countries were basically agriculture in origin and through this sector, they achieved industrial development”. However, the understanding of that role has evolved overtime. Early development theorists emphasized industrialization, though they counted on agriculture to provide the necessary output of food and raw materials, along with the labour force that would gradually be absorbed by industry. Much later thinking moved agriculture more to the forefront of the development process of countries. (Wilber &Jameson, 1992, p.8)

Indeed, the importance of agriculture in any nation’s economy cannot be over emphasised. In practical terms, agriculture has worked a tremendous miracle in countries like Mexico, India and China where the Green Revolution is one of the great success stories of modern times. It is the major contributor to the export –led growth pattern of a country like Taiwan which was able to attain notable increases in per capita GNP. (Ogbalubi and Wokocha 2013, p.60)

Based on these facts therefore, the importance of the agricultural sector in generating employment and stimulating overall economic development in a developing country such as Nigeria cannot be undermined. Most public policies in Nigeria, especially since independence in 1960, were tailored towards promoting food security, provision of agricultural raw materials needed by the manufacturing sector to provide adequate employment and income to alleviate poverty as well as earn substantial foreign exchange. (www.onlinenigeria.com/agriculture/%)
In the early years of Nigeria as an independent country, Agriculture occupied a prominent position in the national economy, as the sector serves as a key driver of growth, wealth creation, employment as well as poverty reduction. It was also the leading economic activity in the country which contributed immensely to her Gross Domestic Product. Kwanashie, Ajilima and Garba (1998, p.4) posit that agricultural export was Nigeria’s engine of growth prior to 1973, providing much of the revenue that the government used in developing a basic infrastructural system. This clearly indicates that holistic agricultural development is a precursor for national development. Hence, Aigbokhan, in Dim and Ezenekwe (2013, p.62) argue that, “agriculture was the leading sector in the pre-oil boom era, contributing 63 and 54 percents to GDP in the 1950s and 1960s respectively”. During this period, Ogen (2007, p.185) asserts that “Nigeria was the world’s second largest producer of cocoa, largest exporter of palm kernel and largest producer and exporter of palm oil. Nigeria was also a leading exporter of other major commodities such as cotton, groundnut, rubber and hides and skins”

Regrettably, it is an obvious fact that Nigerian agricultural sector has over the years been neglected by all stakeholders involved, government and the people inclusive. With the discovery of oil in 1957 and its consequent exploration and exploitation from the early 60s, the interest veered towards the ‘fast oil wealth’. Obasanjo (2014) maintains that “neglect became the sheer lot of agriculture and this has brought us to the sad and embarrassing situation of having Nigeria import staple food such as rice and beans”.

As a result, Oni, Nkonya, Pender, Philips & Kato (2009, p.5) lament that “the advent of oil in the early 1970s made Nigeria highly dependent on oil revenue, with the performance of the agricultural sector adversely affected over years”. This ugly trend undoubtedly, has dealt heavy blow on Nigeria’s quest for meaningful development. Ogen (2007, p.185) affirms that “the agricultural sector suffered neglect during the hey-days of the oil boom in the 1970s. Ever since then Nigeria has been witnessing extreme poverty and the insufficiency of basic food item”.

Also of urgent concern is the sheer lack of interest of young people in agriculture. Most of our farmers in Nigeria are presently an ageing population, with the youths mainly interested in ‘more glamorous’ white collar jobs. This trend has precariously placed Nigeria on the brink of a looming food security crisis, not to mention the rising cost of food prices.

Consequently, Nigeria needs to spend much more on agriculture than its current commitment of only 1.6 per cent of the national budget. While agriculture develops the economy, oil consolidates it. Olatunbosun (2014) believes that “agriculture if harnessed well will liberate many Nigerians from joblessness by providing employment opportunities. It also has the.....

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