Social media is a new trend in communication and a new platform for sharing, engagement and networking in all spheres of life including agriculture. This study analysed social media mainstreaming in e-extension services delivery by the Agricultural Development Programmes (ADPs) in North Central Zone of Nigeria. Four ADPs of Kogi, Federal Capital Territory, Nasarawa and Niger states that participated in the Research Extension Farmer Input Linkage (REFIL) activities in November 2017 were purposively selected and used for the study. Secondary data were generated from the REFIL reports and descriptively analysed. Result established insufficient field extension agents to effectively reach out to1.412 million farm families in the zone. Also, the result reveals zero exclusion of social media such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Chats, YouTube and Mobile phone tools in the ADPs communication strategies. ADPs communication targets dwelled more on old media such as radio (21%) and television (50%) were costly and achieved low projected targets. Mainstreaming social media in e-extension will be more effective to reach out to farm families and overcome observed field manpower shortage problems. Modern networking tools and proactive creative measures such as Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube, Chat, mobile phone tools of short message sending and voice call are recommended for inclusion in their communication strategies. In this regard, REFIL organisers and Federal Department of Extension should facilitate ADPs innovativeness and staff training on social media to improve competence and skills of actors in the agricultural value chain providers in extension delivery to the agribusiness community.
Key words: Social media, communication, extension, agriculture, Nigeria.
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