ANALYSIS OF RURAL FARMERS’ USE OF IMPROVED COCOYAM PRODUCTION PRACTICES IN SOUTH-SOUTH, NIGERIA.

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ABSTRACT

The unavailability of adequate empirical data necessitated this study of analysis of rural farmers‟ use of improved cocoyam production practices in South-South, Nigeria with coverage States such as Cross River, Delta and Edo. The study described the socioeconomic characteristics of rural farmers, identified the improved cocoyam production practices and determined the extent of rural farmers‟ use of improved cocoyam production practices among others. A total of 411 contact cocoyam farmers sampled through multi-stage technique provided data for the study using structured questionnaire. Data were analyzed using statistical tools as frequency table, percentage, mean, ordinary least square multiple regression model, Chi Square and Z-test. The results of the analyses showed that majority (40.88%) of the farmers were within the age range of 41-50years with mean age of about 45years, literate (45.50%), average household size of 8, mean farming experience of 12years and visited 1time per month by extension workers (47.45%). Farmers were members of social organizations (48.18%), had mean farm size of 1hectare, did not obtain credit (65.45%) and dominated by women (54.01%). Majority of the farmers were aware and used most of the improved cocoyam production practices like harvesting method (99.70%),  time of planting (99.08%), planting depth (97.56%), recommended plant spacing (97.28%), cocoyam minisetts technique (96.51%), cocoyam intercropping technique (94.81%) and method of fertilizer application (92.46%). The farmers‟ major source of information on improved cocoyam production practices was through cooperative societies. The extent of use of the practices was high with an average mean score of 2.4 and an agreed mean perception of about 3.4. The result of hypothesis I showed that the independent variables such as educational level (1.925), household size (3.636), farming experience (2.881) and membership of social organization (3.883) were significant with the farmers‟ use of improved cocoyam production practices with an R2 value of 0.658 and 2 .633 F-ratio while hypothesis II showed that, the farmers‟ perception of improved cocoyam production practices was significant at 1% level of probability and hypothesis III result of Z-test showed that, the improved cocoyam production practices by farmers increased significantly their output (1832.78kg) and income (N177326.75). Farmers‟ use of improved cocoyam production practices were constrained by inadequate credit facilities (86.1%), pests and diseases (83.5%), declinig soil fertility (5 2.8%) and weeds menance (43.8%). It was recommended that extension education campaign prgrammes should be carried out by agricultural extension department to sustain the farmers‟ use of improved cocoyam production practices.

KEYWORDS: Analysis, rural farmers‟ use, improved, cocoyam, practices

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

CONTENT                                                                                                               PAGE

Certification                                                                                                    ii

Dedication                                                                                                       iii

Acknowledgements                                                                                         v

Table of Contents                                                                                            vii

List of Tables                                                                                                  xii

List of Figures                                                                                                 xiv

Abstract                                                                                                           xv

CHAPTER I: INTRODUCTION                                                                                1

1.1 Background Information                                                                            1

1.2. Problem Statement                                                                                   4

1.3. Objectives of the Study                                                                            6

1.4. Hypotheses of the Study                                                                           7

1.5 Justification of Study                                                                                 7

1.6 SCOPE OF STUDY                                                                                           8                        CHAPTER II: LITERATURE REVIEW                                                                           10

2.1 Origin and Spread of Cocoyam                                                                      11

2.2 Ecology/cultivars of Cocoyam                                                                       12

2.3 Economic Importance of Cocoyam                                                                13

2.3.1 Nutritional Values of Cocoyam                                                                      15

2.4 Empirical Findings on the Socio-economic Characteristics of Farmers           20

2.5 Socio-economic Characteristics of Cocoyam Farmers in South-South            22

2.5.1 Sex                                                                                                              24

2.5.2 Age                                                                                                              24

2.5.3 Household Size                                                                                            26

2.5.4 Education                                                                                                 27

2.5.5 Membership of Social Organizations                                                         27

2.6 Awareness of Technological Innovation                                                       28

2.7 Concept of Technology                                                                                     30

2.8 Concept of Perception                                                                                  31

2.8.1 Farmers‟ Perception of Technologies                                                        35

 

2.9   Factors Influencing Farmers‟ Decision to Use Improved Technologies       36

2.10 Meaning of Innovation                                                                                 39

2.10.1 The Innovation Decision Process                                                               40

2.11 Improved Cocoyam Production Practices                                                       42

2.12 Reasons for Farmers‟ Acceptance and Non-acceptance of Farm

Technologies                                                                                                 45

2.13 Constraints to Farmers‟ Use of Improved Cocoyam Production Practices     49

2.14 Theoretical Framework                                                                                 51

2.14.1 Social Change Theory                                                                               51

2.14.2 Adoption and Diffusion Perspectives                                                        52

2.15  Conceptual Framework              53 Chapter III: Methodology              56

3.1 Study Area                                                                                                     56

3.2 Sample and Sampling Techniques                                                                   59

3.3 Method of Data Collection                                                                             63

3.4 Standardization of Instruments                                                                       63

3.5 Measurement of Variables                                                                              65

3.6 Methods of Data Analysis                                                                              67

CHAPTER IV: RESULTS AND DISCUSSION                                                                 72

4.1. Socio-economic Characteristics of Cocoyam Farmers                                                      

4.1.1Age                                                                                                                 73

4.1.2. Educational Level                                                                                          74

4.1.3 Household Size                                                                                               75

4.1.4 Farmer Size                                                                                                     76

4.1.5 Farming Experience                                                                                        77

4.1.6 Marital Status                                                                                                  78

4.1.7 Sex                                                                                                                  79

4.1.8 Extension Visits                                                                                              80

4.1.9 Credit Obtained and Sources                                                                          81

4.1.10 Membership of social Organizations                                                            82

4.2 Awareness of Improved Cocoyam Production Practices                                  83

4.3 Rural Farmers‟ use of Improved Cocoyam Production Practices                     85     4.4 Sources of Information Dissemination on Improved Production Practices to

Cocoyam farmers                                                                                            87

4.5 Farmers‟ extent of Use of Improved Cocoyam Production Practices              88

4.6 Farmers‟ Perception of Improved Cocoyam Production Practices                   90

4.7 Constraints Faced by Cocoyam Framers in the Study Area                             93

4.8 Test of Hypotheses                                                                                           95

CHAPTER V: SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS                           103

 

5.1 Summary                                                                                                         103

5.2 Conclusion                                                                                                      105

5.3 Recommendations                                                                                          105

5.4 Contributions to Knowledge                                                                           106

References                                                                                                        108

Appendices                                                                                                      129

 

CHAPTER I: INTRODUCTION

1.1. BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Agriculture has been an important sector in the Nigerian economy for the past decades and still a major sector despite the oil boom (Central Bank of Nigeria, 2014). The sector remains a family enterprise in Nigeria, as farmers are involved in one way or the other in the agricultural production process. Basically, it provides employment opportunities for the teeming population, reduces poverty and contributes to the growth of the economy. Also, agricultural production is largely in the hands of resources-poor farmers and the characteristics of these farmers predispose them to low productivity (Adeniji, 2002).

The problem of inadequate production, low food and raw materials supply led to innovation of improved technologies in order to improve production and living standard of farmers. Implications raised by this is that, concerted efforts by everybody that has potential contribution towards agricultural development process is required if Nigeria is to make a realistic and positive step. This is because, majority of the farmers‟ population in Nigeria depend entirely on farming activities for survival and generation of income or depend on these activities to supplement their main sources of income. Therefore, productive gains in farming activities should be utilized for economic development. The non-availability or inadequate use of modern agricultural technologies followed by low resource endowment of the poor farmers has made Nigerian agriculture to remain rudimentary and traditional (Adeniji, 2002). Hence, any crucial development policy aimed at poverty alleviation should concentrate on farming activities which is the main occupation of the poor because, the nation‟s agricultural potentials are far from being fully realized and this has serious implications on food security and sustainable economic development. The underdevelopment of agriculture is indeed worrisome, given the fact that Nigeria is naturally and agriculturally endowed.

In spite of the various food crop production programmes embarked upon by the Federal government of  Nigeria, there has been growing concern about the capability of Nigerian agriculture to satisfy the food requirement of a fast growing population (International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, 2013) and to provide enough raw materials for the agro-based industries. Emphasis therefore, is placed on production of root and tuber crops like cocoyam, which has the potentials of alleviating poverty by improving the income earning capacity and food security of farmers in Nigeria. Root and tuber crops are among the most important groups of staple foods in many tropical African countries which constitute the largest source of calories for the Nigeria population (Olaniyan et al., 2013). Among the root crops, cocoyam is the next in importance after cassava and yam before sweet potato (National Root Crops Research Institute, 2012). Nigeria, Ghana and Japan are the world‟s leading producers of cocoyam (Ogunniyi, 2008; Food and Agriculture Organization, 2014).

The two varieties of cocoyam that are mainly produced in Nigeria according to Obiora and Ajala (2014) and NRCRI (2012) are Colocasia esculenta otherwise known as “taro” and Xanthosoma saggittifolium also known as “tannia”. Both are members of Araceae family. Specifically, the two (Xanthosoma sagittifolium and Colocasia esculenta) varieties of cocoyam are cultivated in Southern Nigeria.

Although, many different cultivars of each of these varieties exist in the zone. Some of these cultivars are grown under different local names in different parts of the zone. These include Ogoh, Mbatu, Okang, Mbajo, Okwa-akawa, Banenong and Okuna in Cross River State (Okoye et al., 2010). The preference depends on the State. In Anambra State for instance, both varieties are preferred but, in Cross River and Delta States, Xanthosoma is preferred to Colocasia (Okoye et al., 2012).

Cocoyam is most widely grown in both western and eastern regions of Nigeria in terms of area cultivated and number of producers. It is not only a major source of food but also income generating crop, especially in the rural areas (Ogunniyi, 2008). Cocoyam grows in association with other food and tree crops, a system mostly practiced by subsistence farmers in Nigeria. There was a decline in the yields of cocoyam in the past few years as reported by National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services in 2011. This was due to the unavailability of facilities of storage and transport which made it difficult to market fresh cocoyam at long distance from the place where it was grown. In practice therefore, reasonable cocoyam harvesting takes place between November and March/April. But the poor storage facilities, insufficient planting materials, weeds problem and poor soil result to low productivity in cocoyam (FAO, 2011).

Therefore, National Root Crops Research Institute, Umudike and extension agencies provided research-based information on improved cocoyam production practices. The efforts have been supported with the use of extension publications. The improved cocoyam production practices that have been developed and transferred to farmers over time which the research examined are cocoyam intercropping technique, cocoyam minisetts technique, method of fertilizer application, plant spacing, planting depth (15 – 20cm deep), weed control method, mulching, pest control, time of planting and  harvesting method (NRCRI, 2013).

1.2. PROBLEM STATEMENT

Cocoyam is not commonly found in most markets like other root and tuber crops such as cassava, yam and sweet potato. Besides, cocoyam is regarded as a crop mainly for the poor and has played a very minor role in international trade. This misconception has lingered for so long because of lack of appreciation of the number of people who depend on this crop and the number of lives that have been saved during famine or disasters by the crop. Also, very little research attention has been given to it occasioning knowledge gap for policies and programmes.

As a result, the production of cocoyam in Nigeria can gradually go into extinction if adequate measures are not urgently put in place to arrest this ugly situation.

Therefore, the study which analyzed rural farmers‟ use of improved cocoyam production practices in South-South, Nigeria was undertaken to address the

following research questions:

  1. What are the socio-economic characteristics of rural cocoyam farmers in South-

South, Nigeria?

  1. Are the rural farmers‟ aware of improved cocoyam production practices? What are the improved cocoyam production practices used by rural farmers?
  2. What are the sources of information on the improved cocoyam production practices to farmers?
  3. What is the extent of rural farmers‟ use of improved cocoyam production practices?
  4. What is the rural farmers‟ perception of improved cocoyam production

practices?

  • What are the constraints to rural farmers‟ use of improved cocoyam production practices?

  1.3. OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The broad objective of this study was to analyze the rural farmers‟ use of improved cocoyam production practices in South-South, Nigeria. The specific objectives were to:

  1. describe the socio-economic characteristics of rural cocoyam farmers in

South-South, ii. ascertain the rural farmers‟ awareness of improved cocoyam production

practices,

iii. identify the improved cocoyam production practices used by rural farmers, iv. identify sources of information on the improved cocoyam production practices among cocoyam farmers,

  1. determine the extent of rural farmers‟ use of improved cocoyam production practices, vi. determine the rural farmers‟ perception of improved cocoyam production practices

vii.   identify the constraints to rural farmers‟ use of improved cocoyam        production practices.

   1.4. HYPOTHESES OF THE STUDY (NULL)

  1. Socio-economic characteristics of cocoyam farmers do not significantly influence the use of improved cocoyam production practices.
  2. There is no significant differences between the farmers‟ perceptions of improved production practices  and heir use,
  1. There is no significant difference between the output and income of farmers before and after the use of improved cocoyam production pract

  1.5. JUSTIFICATION OF THE STUDY

Most of the scholars who wrote on cocoyam concentrated on marketing and profit efficiency of the crop in South-South, Nigeria Adepoju and Awodunmuyila, 2008). Also, in most markets in the zone, it is always noticeable that cocoyam featured least among other root and tuber crops (yam, cassava and sweet potato) and by looking through past researches on root and tuber crops, cocoyam has received the least research attention. Therefore, this study would provide an understanding of the farmers‟ attitude towards the crop in south-south zone of Nigeria, in terms of improved production practices. It would also helped to explain how the improved cocoyam production practices have been spread among the rural farmers of South-South, Nigeria.  It would help the rural farmers to know the significance of using improved cocoyam production practices and also assist them to improve their cocoyam production and income level. The study would also be useful to the government of Nigeria, as a basis for rational and empirical policy formulation for cocoyam production in the country. Similarly, research institutes would be provided with the basic information on the constraints to farmers‟ use of improved cocoyam production practices by identifying problem areas for improvements. This study would reveal numerous nutritional benefits of cocoyam to consumers and producers thereby, making the crop acceptable in local and international markets.  Finally, it is hoped that this work would be of assistance to future researchers who may identify other areas

of cocoyam farming for further studies.

1.6. SCOPE OF THE STUDY

The study covered three (3) states (Cross River, Delta and Edo) out of six (6) states in the South-South. The study analyzed the socio-economic characteristics of farmers among which are age, educational level, household size, membership of social organization, farm size and farming experience. Other variables include extension visits to farmers, credit obtained, marital status and sex. The scope of the study also covered farmers‟ awareness, perception, types of practices used and extent of use of improved cocoyam production practices by farmers and among others.

ANALYSIS OF RURAL FARMERS’ USE OF IMPROVED COCOYAM PRODUCTION PRACTICES IN SOUTH-SOUTH, NIGERIA.  

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