This research work was carried out to assess the effects of the Benue ADP’s cassava production technologies on the production and incomes of women farmers in Benue State, Nigeria. The specific objectives were to identify and describe the cassava production technologies available in the study area; to describe the socio-economic characteristics o f cassava women farmers in the study area and determine their effect correspondents productivity and incomes; to determine and compare the productivities and incomes of ADP and non-ADP cassava women farmers in Benue State; Nigeria, and to identify the constraints (and prospects) that affect the productivity and income from cassava production among women farmers in the study area. Three hypotheses guided the study namely (i) Socio-economic characteristics of ADP and non-ADP cassava women farmers in the study area have no significant effect on their output; (ii) there is no significant difference between the productivity of ADP and non-ADP women farmers in the study area, and (iii) gross margin from cassava enterprises among ADP and non-ADP women farmers in the study area does not differ significantly. A multi stage sampling technique was used to randomly select a total of 120 ADP and 120 non-ADP respondents from six Local Government Areas of Benue State namely Vandeikya and Ushongo in zone A, Gboko and Buruku in zone B, Okpoku and Ohimini in zone C. Data was collected through well structured pretested questionnaires in addition to focus group discussions and personal observations. Secondary data sources relevant to the study were also used. Information on respondents’ socioeconomic characteristics such as age, level of education, marital status, household size, costs and returns in cassava production and marketing among others were collected. The data was analyzed using descriptive statistics as well as chi-square, multiple regression, total factor productivity and gross margin analyses. Chi-square results showed that except for age and membership of
farmers associations, socio-economic characteristics of study farmers such as level of education, marital status, farming experience, family size (household size) had no significant effect on their output. There was a significant difference between the output of ADP and non-ADP respondents. Data analysis showed that 90.8% of the ADP and 70.1% of the non-ADP respondents were below 50 years of age. Thus about 70-90% of all women farmers studied were below the age of
50. Among the ADP group, 78.2% of the respondents were married while 70.1 of the non-ADP group respondents were married. Overall, 96.4% of all the respondents were married; divorced or widowed. Among the ADP respondents, 81.6% had some form of education while less than 20% (or 18.49%) did not have any formal education. In the non –ADP group 63.2% had some form of education while less than 40% (or 36.8%) did not have any formal education. Thus, 60-80% of all cassava women farmers sampled were educated to a level while 20-40% did not have formal education. Cassava women farmers in the study area had moderate family sizes. Seventy-seven percent (77%) of the ADP and about 75% of the non-ADP had family sizes below 10 while about20% of ADP and 23% of non-ADP respondents had family sizes between 10-20 persons. Among the ADP farmers 37.9% have never belonged to any farmers’ association, 17.2% were once members while 44.4% were still members of farmers associations. About 82.8% of the non-ADP respondents have never belonged to any farmers association, 5.7% were once members, and 11.5% were currently members. Results of data analysis also showed that 71.3% and 58.6% of the ADP and non-ADP cassava women farmers respectively had been farming for close to 10 years and must have acquired the necessary experience successful cassava production. Chow’s F-test showed that there was a significant difference between the productivity of ADP (2.96) and non-ADP women farmers (1.68). This was attributed to the effect of improved cassava production technologies and extension contact. The major variables that explained variations in ADP cassava women farmers’ productivity were use of improved cassava stem cuttings, farm
size and access to credit which together explained 40.2% of variation in ADP productivity. The major factors that explained variation in non-ADP cassava women farmers’ productivity were years of education, family size and access to credit, which explained 93.0% of variation in non-ADP productivity. Comparison of the mean gross margins of ADP (₦16,523.87) and non-ADP respondents (₦3,777.56) using t-test showed that there was a significant difference between ADP and non-ADP gross margins. This significant difference was attributed to the use of improved cassava production technologies and extension contact (provided by the Benue ADP) by the ADP cassava women farmers. Provision of credit, production resources such as fertilizers, improved ‘seeds’, tractor services, rural infrastructure and others were recommended for increased cassava productivity in the study area.
1.1 Background Information
Nigeria is a country with great natural and human resource endowments. According to Ayoola (2009), Nigeria is a country that covers 98.3 million hectares with a largely rural population of about 150million comprising 350 ethnic nationalities. The country measures 1200 kilometres (km) from East to West, and about 1500km from North to South. Nigeria is blessed with other natural resources such as petroleum and solid mineral deposits. The water resources consist of large water bodies of surface water (268 billion cubic metres), underground water (58 billion cubic metres) and an extensive coastline coupled with an annual rainfall in the range of 300- 4000milimetres per annum. These features imply that the country is endowed with vast physical and human resources required for accelerated development of its agricultural economy.
However, despite Nigeria’s great resource endowments, Nigerians are among the poorest people in the world (UNDP, 2005; Nsikakabasi and Ukoha, 2010). In spite of oil wealth and revenues amounting to over 300 billion US Dollars since 1970s, Nigeria is still a poor country where per capita income averaged only $1075 in 2009 (Central Bank of Nigeria, 2009). Since non-oil export receipts are small, export revenues are greatly influenced by oil and gas prices. Government’s fiscal policy that depends on oil and gas prices fluctuates in line with these prices. The major challenges facing the country are stabilizing expenditures and ensuring the government’s ability to meet social and human development goals (UNDP,2008). The human development report by the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP (2005) revealed that Nigeria is one of the poorest among poor nations of the world. With a human poverty index HPI-
1 value of 38.8%, Nigeria is ranked 75th among 103 developing countries. According to the National Bureau of Statistics (2005), about 52% of Nigerians are living in poverty and about 70million people live on less than 1US dollar a day.
Dauda (2002) reported that poverty in Nigeria, like in other developing countries has a predominantly female face and that women in the rural areas of the country suffer the harshest deprivation and are extremely vulnerable to poverty. According to the author, of the one million adults who have no access to basic education, 60% are women. Furthermore, women are particularly disadvantaged since over 68% of female headed households are living in poverty. The International Monetary Fund (2004) observed that Nigeria has significant gender inequalities in women’s labour market participation, remuneration, health and human capital, with indicators for women being recorded as substantially lower than those for men are. Women in Nigeria are likely to be poorer than men and have fewer options for escaping poverty. Widows are more vulnerable to poverty than widowers as a result of patriarchal property rights and inheritance practices. Furthermore, since women have less formal education than men, they tend to be disproportionately confined to lower return, low productivity, and employment in the informal economy with limited ability to escape poverty through employment. According to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (2001), more than 50% of the population is affected by HIV/AIDS, and 50million Nigerians majority of them women and children suffer from a combination of protein energy malnutrition, vitamin A deficiency, iron deficiency anaemia, and iodine deficiency diseases. The apparent improvement in growth indices since 2004 is yet to be translated into welfare improvement for Nigerians, a situation that Eboh (2011) termed ‘jobless growth’.