This study ascertained the socio-economic determinants of extension workers’ job performance in Abia State, Nigeria. Primary and secondary data were collected with a structured questionnaire; from 86 respondents, which included 56 Extension Agents, 14 Block Extension Agents, 14 Block Extension Supervisors and 2 Zonal Extension Officers; and analyzed using both descriptive and inferential statistics. These include frequency counts, percentages, means, and regression analysis. A null hypothesis was tested at 5% level of significance. The result of the socio-economic characteristics of the respondents shows that majority 50%, 35.7% and 44.6% of BESs, BEAs and EAs fall within active economic and productive age bracket of 35- 44 years; while the ZEOs were between 45-54 years. Most of the ZEOs (100%), BESs (85.7%) and EAs (48.2%) were males; except BEAs who was mainly females (80%). Greater proportion such as 78.57%, 54.29% and 53.6% of BESs, BEAs and EAs were polytechnics and university graduates; who had worked between 5-9 years with percentage values of 57.14%, 64.3% and 83.93% respectively; except ZEOs who had higher years of working experience of 15-19 and 20-24 years respectively. From all criteria considered, a linear functional form was chosen as the lead equation; from where a high coefficient of multiple determinations (R2 ) of 63.7% which showed the magnitude of variation in the job performance of the extension workers due to their socio-economic characteristics. All the independent variables were positively signed; while marital status, education and working experience were statistically significant at various levels of 1%, 5% and 10% respectively. The null hypothesis tested was rejected. This means that the socio-economic characteristics of the field extension workers greatly influenced their job performance in the study area. It was recommended that more female extension workers should be employed to increase extension farmers’ ratio among the women farmers. Extension workers with a higher level of education and job experience should be employed and motivated through a better welfare package to enable them to remain in the job.
Agricultural development is hinged on extension services by helping farmers to identify and link with research on their production problems . They provide awareness on opportunities for improvement of farm yields leading to increased income and a better standard of living [2,3]. Long and Sworzel (2007) noted that the mission of extension services is to provide research-based information, educational programmes and technologies on farmers’ needs and enabling them to make informed decisions about their economic, social and cultural well-being. Agricultural Development Programmes (ADPs) are currently responsible for carrying out the bulk of agricultural extension delivery in Nigeria. They are designed to improve the agricultural productivity, income, and general well being of small-scale farmer, who is the centrepiece of all agricultural development efforts in Nigeria [4,5,6].Agricultural Development Programmes have adopted the training and visit (T&V) system of an extension though with modification over time. The T&V is also used and combined with unified agricultural extension system (UAES) where extension worker not withstanding their area of specialization are trained for necessary skills in all the enterprises, such as Agronomy, Livestock, Fisheries and Agro-forestry . The staff of the ADPs were essentially drawn from the ministry of agriculture and are used to apply the principle of concentration of efforts. They were improved upon as focal points for the improvement of the entire ministry staff, which took place under a unified extension programme