Access and Use of Veterinary Services by Livestock Farmers in Western Agricultural Zone of Nasarawa State, Nigeria
This study examined the access and use of veterinary services by small scale livestock farmers in the western agricultural zone of Nasarawa state. Two Local government areas (Karu and Keffi LGAs) were purposively selected from the zone for the study based on their popularity in small scale livestock production. Ten villages were randomly selected from each of the two selected LGAs to give a total of 20 villages. Six (6) livestock farmers were randomly selected from each of the 20 selected villages giving a total of 120 respondents. Data were collected through a structured interview schedule. Data were analyzed using both descriptive statistics and a multiple regression model using SPSS software. The results show that the majority (75.2%) of the respondents were male. Their mean age was 35years which implies that the livestock farmers were mostly young people. Their average year of farming experience was 10 years. Half (50%) of them had tertiary education, indicating the enhanced capacity to access and use veterinary services. The major veterinary services adopted by the respondents were treatment of sick animals (93.3%), vaccination (87.2%), castration (65.0%) and Sanitary/Fumigation practices (41%) among others. The regression analysis showed that four variables had a significant effect (1%) on the level of use of veterinary services by the respondents. These were gender (p ≤ 0.417), level of education (p ≤ 0.603), number of extension visits (p ≤ 0.607) and membership of social organisations (p ≤ 0.670). Lack of money to acquire vaccines and drugs (X = 2.3), high cost of veterinary services (X =2.3) and far distance to veterinary centres (X =2.0) were the major constraints to use of veterinary services. It was recommended that extension agents should encourage the farmers to join cooperative groups to enhance easy access to credit to procure veterinary inputs.
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