1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
At present, every aspect of human endeavor is undergoing tremendous transformation as a result of the advert of science and technology. Therefore, the role of information and information science cannot be over emphasis.
However, it is heart - breaking to recall that petty traders in our various markets have not lived to their expectation. A good number of them have little or no opportunity to information exposure that will bring a turn around their trade or profession that will not only make them successful business icon but also brings about efficiency, effectiveness and reliable services delivery.
Petty traders are men and women who are engage in small scale business with small capital base. Petty traders are usually people who are engage in various act of buying and selling of goods in their smaller quantities for the purpose of making profit or gain. Petty traders are of different types or varieties ranging from Hawkers, litenent traders, vendors, shop owners and other small scale business, clustered around rural and urban areas.
In Nigeria for instance over thirty percent of working population are engage in petty trading cannot be over emphasis.
First petty traders played a dominant role in the production of goods and services by providing the producer with capital either in the form of loan or in the act of buying of goods and services in bulk quantities.
Information gathered also shows that petty traders help in production process by provision of warehouse where goods are temporally stored until the needs for them.
More so, petty traders help in the distribution of goods and services to the consumer. For without petty traders, it could have been very difficult if not impossible for a single consumer to break the bulk direct from the producer.
Another useful contribution of petty traders is that they sold goods in their varieties for instance; a single petty trader can sell bag, shoes, clothes, food stock etc. at the same time.
Despite all the numerous advantages of petty traders, there are also a number of challenges.
It has been observed that lack of proper orientation and information contributed largely to the failure of petty trader. Many people in our various societies simply entered or engage themselves in the profession as an alternative to make ends a living without adequately equipping him/herself for the challenges.
The dearth of materials such as trade journals, magazines, business newspaper etc. in our library, homes, bookshops, stores, schools and other places would also be a major challenges to petty traders. However, when such materials are scarcely available, they may not properly address the ever increasing and varieties needs of our traders.
Financial constraint and other logistics could also be the factor responsible for the failure of petty traders. Most traders do not have proper access to loan that will help to facilitate and promote trading activities.
This work is therefore to carry out an extensive and effective research through information exposure and information service delivery using available resources in providing lasting solution to the impending problem of petty traders in Owerri in particular and in Nigeria in general.
According to E. Oduagwu (library and information management) effective information system is crucial for organization efficiency. Proper utilization of the emerging information management tool will enhance efficiency and productivity in any organization and could contribute largely to the economic growth of any nation.
In view of the above listed impediment to petty trading as a carrier or profession, I had personally decided to take the bull by the horn. I had narrowed my research and findings to Owerri central market where I carried out my research and finding and proffer possible solutions admits tremendous challenges I encountered which I shall enumerate as I proceed in the course of this work.
Above all, the application of information on modern trend in business will be of great boost to petty traders.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
A good number of petty traders in both rural and urban areas are face with problem of identifying with business opportunity and reliable information. Little wonder they are not making progress in business.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF STUDY
The main objective of study is to find out information needs of petty traders using Owerri main market in Imo State as a case study.
- To find out information needs of traders
- To determine whether information is useful to traders
- To find out the extent of utilization of information by petty traders.
- To find out the factors affecting the access of information needs to petty traders.
1.4 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The scope of study is to cover the information needs of petty traders in Owerri central market.
1.5 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The researches effort to carry out the information needs of petty traders is hindered by the following factors;
- Attitude of respondent
- Distant barrier
- Adverse whether condition
a) Attitude of respondents: Majority of traders is illiterate and is not willing to furnish the researcher with the useful information that will facilitate efficiency in carrying out the work.
b) Distant problem: The distant from Nekede to Owerri central market is very far thereby causing an impediment to the study.
c) Adverse whether condition: The research was carried out during raining season which prevents the researcher from going from shop to shop in carrying out his research.
d) Time: The researcher has a limited time scheduled to carry out his research.
e) Finance: Research work involves waste of human and material resources.
1.6 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The various research questions are;
- What are the information needs of petty traders?
- Why is it that many people refuse to engage in petty trading?
- What are the factors affecting utilization of trading information?
- Do petty traders actually need information?
- What are the benefits of acquiring trading information?
1.7 SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
As a result of information exposure petty traders will wake up from slumber and live up to their expectation. This study will also provide the various petty traders of identifying with various business opportunities which are available. It will also serve as a reference point to other researches.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
- Information: Information are processed data or something told, heard or received.
- Petty traders: These are people engaged in buying and selling of goods and services in smaller quantities and with small capital requirement.
- Communication: This is the act of sending, understanding and receiving of ideas, thought, feelings from one person to the other or from one medium to another.