1.1 Background to the Study
Transportation is a non-separable part of any society. It exhibits a very close relation to the style of life, the range and location of activities and the goods and services which will be available for consumption. It is therefore a major factor in all economic activities (Ajiboye & Afolayan, 2009). As an economic factor of production of goods and services; transportation provides market accessibility by linking producers and consumers. An efficient transport system offering cost, time and reliability advantage permits goods to be transported quickly (Rodriguez, 2006; Tunde & Adeniyi, 2012).
Advances in transportation, has made possible changes in the way of living and the way in which societies are organized and therefore have a great influence in the development of the economic sector. In rural setting, transport is important in the transfer of goods from the farm to the markets and such organization is ideal for local productivity improving the livelihood opportunities of the local farmers. As such, transport is one of the various elemental factors in rural development and it is necessary to understand its role in rural development and particularly, how it interacts alongside other factors of development, to product the resulting structure of the rural economy and society. The availability of transport facilities in rural communities therefore affects the basic functions of production, marketing and consumption.
A nation-wide survey conducted in 2002 revealed that the road network as at December 2002, estimated at 194,000 kilometers mostly were in bad condition (CBN, 2002). According to Olamola (2003), inadequate provision of transport infrastructure and services provide a basis for explaining the incidence of poverty across various Nigerian communities in both urban and rural areas. Transport sector in Nigeria is characterized with bad roads, fuel problem, traffic congestion, inadequate high passenger capacity / mass transit vehicles and overloading, high cost and shortage of spare parts, poor vehicle maintenance, and old vehicles. Road transport in Nigeria today accounts for more than 90% of the country’s goods and passenger movement (Filani, 2002; Oni, 2004). This shows the importance of road transportation to the economy of the country.
Ogbulafor (2003) pointed out that agricultural sector accounts for a large share of gross domestic product (GDP) in Nigeria. It is not disputable the fact that poverty level is higher in rural areas than in urban areas, and yet, the rural settlers supply all the food and raw materials needed by the wheels of the local industries to rotate (Nwuba, 1979). Ruseva (1983) noted that poor road transport system results in high cost of transportation of goods and services and will eventually translate to high cost of goods and services. Clark and Haswell (1964) posited that human porterage is some nine to ten times as expensive as transport by water, motor vehicle, or rail; forms of transport at present available to the bulk of developing countries like Nigeria, are so costly that produce are often only has to be carried a limited distance before most of its value, from the point of view of net returns from sales, has gone. The distances covered by human porterage in each operation are necessarily limited. Gourou (1966) stated that the average figure is 50 km a day at an average load of 40 kg. The implication of this point for economic development are obvious, but include the important one that the choice of crop is often determined at least partly by references to costs of available transport facilities. Thus, high cost of agricultural inputs will definitely result to high cost of outputs which will limit agricultural productivity.
Experience has shown that often the poor resource farmer abandons his farm produce, especially perishable goods like vegetables and tomatoes, along side of the road or at the farms for lack of transport (Anya, 1982). He posited that there is no point in a farmer having a new crop variety or fertilizers, which enable him to increase his food production very substantially and immediately, if at the same time his form of transport is so costly or the demand for extra produce is so uncertain as to make such an increase worthless. This will discourage farmers to increase their production during the next cropping season.
Transport facilities also encourage and facilitate the geographical specialization of agricultural production. Improved transport facilities may make possible the intensification of agricultural production with all the improvements in techniques this implies; it is useless, for instance to try to encourage the use manures or cultivated fodder on fields far distant from the farmstead where the farmer has no means of transporting in other than by head porterage (Hodder,1973).
This study is undertaken to investigate the role of road transportation in the marketing of agricultural products of the study area.
It is on this note that government and transport policy makers should make intensify effort to improve the transportation system especially in road network which is the main and the most popular means of transportation in this country. Their collective and/or individual efforts should be directed towards fighting against hunger as well as providing necessary transportation facilities that can help to assume the supply of additional food and its distribution to customers.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Nigeria is ranked second in Africa as a country with most road accidents FRSC (2006). This spares the rate of road accident caused by bad roads. In some areas, most roads which are essentially for the evacuation of produce from the farm to the market place are often inaccessible all year round. More so, most bad portions on the high way constitute operation spots for armed robbers. Furthermore, most of these feeder roads are in surfaced, narrow, poorly drained during raining season and these constitute potholes which cause delay in the movement of goods to the market. All this factors attribute to low agricultural produce in Akwa Ibom state. Even when such roads are in a fair condition there is a problem of poor maintenance, lack of adequate execution capacity, lack of suitable materials and management problems. If agriculture will respond to the growing demand of the rural populace then it will be necessary to include a good rural cost of flow of agricultural commodities, information and all sorts of rural services to enable it contribute meaningfully to general economic growth.
Agriculture and transportation are two words that go together. This is because the source of food and other economic products must be reasonably accessible in distributing agricultural product to the markets and factories. Therefore, adequate transportation network and efficient carrier services operations are the necessary conditions for affecting and efficient physical distribution of agricultural products. In Akwa Ibom State, therefore, most roads to the communities which agricultural amenities take place are in very poor condition. This hinders the transportation of agricultural products in the town and other areas. If agriculture is to respond to the growing demands of consumers, then it will be necessary to evolve good progressive rural roads to expedite and reduce cost of the flow of agricultural commodities,
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The major objective of this study is to determine the effect of road transportation on the marketing of agricultural products. Specifically, the study is designed:
To determine the extent to which bad road transportation affects movement of agricultural products to Ikpe market.
To examine the extent to which increase in road transportation fare affects movement of agricultural products to Ikpe market.
To determine the extent to which bad road transportation affects the accessibility of agricultural products to Ikpe market.
1.4 Research Questions
In this study, the following research questions were raised.
To what extent does bad road transportation affects movement of agricultural products to Ikpe market?
To what extent does increase in road transportation fare affects movement of agricultural products to Ikpe market?
To what extent does bad road affects the accessibility of agricultural products to Ikpe market?