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PROJECT TOPIC- DETERMINANTS OF THE ADOPTION OF IMPROVED AGRICULTURAL PRACTICES IN YAM (DISCOREA SPP) PRODUCTION BY SMALL HOLDER FARMERS IN EZINIHITTE LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF IMO STATE

PROJECT TOPIC- DETERMINANTS OF THE ADOPTION OF IMPROVED AGRICULTURAL PRACTICES IN YAM (DISCOREA SPP) PRODUCTION BY SMALL HOLDER   FARMERS IN EZINIHITTE LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF IMO STATE

ABSTRACT

This study investigated the determinants of the adoption of improved agricultural practices in yam production by small holder farmers in Ezinihitte Local Government Area of Imo State. Multistage sampling technique was employed to select a total of 120 respondents. The primary data used for the study were collected through structured questionnaire and interview schedule organized for illiterate farmers in the study area. The result of socio-economic characteristics of the farmers indicated that most (76.7%) of the farmers were male while 23.3% of them were females and had average age of 36 years. Majority (56.7%) of the respondent were married while 21.7% were single and had completed secondary school. The result on primary occupation shows that 41.7% of the respondents were engaged in farming activities while 30% were civil servants and had mean farm size of 3heactres.The farmers in the area had an average household size of 10 persons. Furthermore, result also showed that farmers in the study area had 12 years of experience in farming and earned mean income of N452.50k per annum. The result of the analysis also identified mixed cropping (8.6%), crop rotation (8.5%), improved land preparation and planting yam seeds (7.9%) and others as improved agricultural practices adopted by the respondents. The research work also revealed that the factors influencing the adoption of improved agricultural practices include access to improved farm inputs, access to farm land, availability of extension service, level of education, access to credit facilities, farming experience, low interest rate and access to information and training. The result of multiple regression analysis had the coefficient of multiple determination (R2) value of 65.3% which implied that 65% of variation in the rate of adoption of improved agricultural practices in yam production were accounted for by the included variables .Farming experience(0.209),farmers annual income(0.219) and age of the farmer(0.190) were positively related to adoption of improved agricultural practices in yam production .The result also indicated that government policies and economic factor, personal factor, and institutional factor were the major constraints militating against the farmers to adopt the improved agricultural practices. Therefore the study concluded that socio-economic variables were the determinants of the adoption of improved agricultural practices in yam production in the area. Based on the findings of the research work, the following recommendation were made; timely provision of necessary improved farm inputs to enhance agricultural production, government should work with the farmers and involve them in distribution of necessary improved farm inputs for agricultural production and government should consider granting incentives and assistance to the agricultural sub-sector and to farmer in form of credit as these would enable them to resort the use of improved agricultural practices in yam production.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1       BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

Yam production is one of the main agricultural activities in West Africa, and the region contributes between 90% and 95% of world production (FAO 2005). In Nigeria, yam is the most important food crop in terms of output value. It plays a key role in guaranteeing household food security (Fassasi, 2006). The yam sector in Nigeria is definitely important for household and national income as well as food security.

Yam (Discorea spp) is an important tuber crop in Nigeria where it is produced as food and cash crop (Asumugha and Eluagu, 1991). Nigeria is the largest world producers of yam with annual production estimated at 26.587 million metric tonnes (FAO, 2006). Yam is regarded as a socio-cultural crop and is becoming expensive in urban areas as production has not kept pace with population growth leading to demand exceeding supply (Kushwala and Poly Carp, 2001).

A recent study on yam has shown that absolute level of production in West Africa and the world have remained static for three decades (scott, Rosegrant, and Pookanga, 2000). The static or declining trend may be connected with production resources which are not being efficiently utilized leading to low productivity (Fassasi, 2006). Agricultural technology plays a vital role in enabling agriculture to become more productive and sustainable.

Sustainable agriculture is an agricultural system adapted to a particular area so that crop and animals production do not decline over time and are reasonably stable over normal fluctuations of weather (Donahune and Troch, 2003). According to Francis and Youngberg (1990) sustainable agriculture satisfies human needs for fibre and food, protect natural resources and environmental quality.

In many parts of Africa, smallholder farmers remain at the centre of agriculture and rural development. However, one of the main causes for the low agricultural productivity in most developing countries in the region is the lacks of appropriate utilization of improved technologies that caters and suits the requirements of small-holder farmers. Due to this reasons, many small farms are deemed as unproductive and inefficient (Faleye, Adebija and Farounbi, 2012).

In West Africa, one of the serious constraint to agricultural development is the limited access to agricultural information and other improved agricultural practices (Anthot, 1993). The improved agricultural practices are innovations, genetic improvement, mechanized farming equipment, improved and high yield varieties, integrated pest management control, soil mapping, precision dosing of fertilizer, agricultural advisory systems, post harvest technologies, efficiency in land use among other and including ICT facilities, can play an important role in agricultural development (Fassasi, 2006).

The efficiency in the use of technology generated and disseminated depends on effective communication which is the key process in formation dissemination (Fassasi, 2006). Hence, the communication of technology and economic information in the face of global food crisis is a veritable food for agriculture and rural development. He stated that Nigerian’s agricultural policy is aimed at ensuring food security. It also seeks to promote the use of modern technologies.

Agwu (2008) reported that improved agricultural technologies disseminated to farmers in Enugu State, Nigeria include harvesting of yam, storage in barn, pest control in food crop farm, site selection/bush clearing/packing, weeding of early season crops, disinfections and restocking of day-old chicks, early maize cultivation, and improved soil conservation in food and cash crops.

Low improved agricultural practices by most small-holder farmers, described level of increase in agricultural productivity has been difficult to achieve. The use of agricultural technologies affects the rates of increase in agricultural output. It also determines how the increase in agricultural output impacts on poverty levels and environmental degradation (Fassasi, 2006). Therefore, the focus of recent research has been to find better agricultural practices. Increased agricultural productivity, agricultural technology adoption rates, household food security and nutrition can be achieved through improved agricultural practices, expansion of rural financial markets, increased by rural households, and development of research and extension linkage (Von-Brann, 1999).

Increased technology development and adoption can raise agricultural output; hence improved household food intake improved. Food intake can also improve the functioning of the human body and the performance of a healthy, normal life which will increase work output. Agricultural technology development is an essential strategy for increasing agricultural productivity, achieving food self-sufficiency and alleviating poverty and food insecurity among small holder farmers in Nigeria.

Promotion of various small holders income sources such as off-farm employment, remittance and livestock production can lead to higher total household income to finance the purchase of inputs such as fertilizers, seeds, and hired labour. Introducing technologies that requires less labour is also likely to lead to their adoption because the small holders farming sector in the sub-region is be set with chronic shortages of labour during the agricultural season(Agwu, 2008).

PROJECT TOPIC- DETERMINANTS OF THE ADOPTION OF IMPROVED AGRICULTURAL PRACTICES IN YAM (DISCOREA SPP) PRODUCTION BY SMALL HOLDER   FARMERS IN EZINIHITTE LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF IMO STATE

1.2       PROBLEM STATEMENT

The potential contributions of yam to national development is challenged by the use of traditional technologies. Among the numerous consequences are seasonal shortages and the high cost of seed yam. Efforts to ensure the sustainable availability of adequate seed yam is the introduction of the yam minisett technology by the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture(IITA )FAO (2005)

Despite the major agricultural research breakthroughs, adoption of the improved agricultural technologies by farmers is a major challenge for both researchers and technology transfer agencies. The low utilization of improved technologies by smallholder yam farmers may be a factor responsible for their sub-optimal production levels. According to FAO (2005), the declining yam yield among the small-holder yam farmers is probably because the improved production technologies and innovations are not reaching the farmers or that they are not being adopted.

This is linked to limited adequate of information related to such agricultural technologies. It has been established that adequate information influences the adoption of technologies .Fassasi, (2006) stated that agricultural innovation diffusion is largely affected by information available on the innovation, relative to its adoption. The major challenge in the agricultural sector may be how to utilized the improved agricultural technologies so as to close the gap between research and actual farm yields.

The development of agricultural technology in Nigeria led to the creation of agricultural technology centre or agricultural research institutes, and the major role is to breed improved seeds of crops that are early maturing, high yielding, resistant to pest, disease and adoptable to local environment. But are these technologies compatible to the farmers environment in relation to its adoption?

Also in Nigeria, yam is becoming more expensive and relatively unaffordable in urban areas, as production may have not kept pace with population growth leading to demand exceeding supply. The question here is that do farmers really adopt the technologies or are the technologies not of high potentials/yields. The increase in the production of yam is believed to be constrained mostly by high cost of new technologies FAO,(2006).

Although yam production in Nigerian has more than tripled over the past 40 years from 6.7 million tonnes per annum in 1961 to 27 million tonnes per annum in 2001. The cost of planting materials constitute about 33-45% of capital outlay in yam productions (Anyanwu, 1992). This is a major constraint to yam production; sometimes planting materials are difficult to obtain, expensive and often of low quality.

The National Root crop Research Institute (NRCRI) in association with the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) developed the yam minisett technology in 1982 as a means of rapid multiplication of seed yam to reduce inadequate supply of high quality and disease free seeds yam. This technology solves the problems of scarcity of planting material and allows farmers opportunity to produce yam of uniform sizes. In addition, it helps lower the cost of production and also reduces the cost of controlling pest and disease since it makes use of healthy mother yam from sanitized source. From the forgoing the study however seeks answers to some of the pertinent questions such as:

  1. What are the socio-economic characteristics of smallholder yam farmers?
  2. What are the existing improved agricultural practices adopted by the small scale yam farmers?

iii. What are the factors influencing the adoption of improved   agricultural technologies among yam small scale farmer?

  1. Does the socio-economic characteristics of farmers have effect on improved agricultural technology determinants?
  2. What are the constraints associated with adoption of improved agricultural technology among the smallholder yam farmers.

1.3 OBJECTIVE OF STUDY

The broad objective of the study is to identify the determinants of the adoption of improved agricultural technology practices in yam production by small scale farmers in Ezinihitte Local Government Area of Imo state. The specific objectives are :

  1. describe the socio-economic characteristics of small scale yam farmers;
  2. identify the existing improved agricultural practices among the yam small scale farmers;
  • examine the determinants of the adoption of improved agricultural practices by smallholder yam farmers;
  1. analyze the effects of socio-economic characteristics of yam farmers on the level of adoption of improved agricultural technology practices in the area;
  2. identify the constraints associated with yam farmer’s adoption of improved agricultural technology practices.

1.4      HYPOTHESIS TESTING

The null hypotheses tested by the study was;       

Ho1      socio-economic characteristics of small holder yam farmers do not have significant effects on their improved agricultural practices adoption.

1.5  JUSTIFICATION OF THE STUDY.

The utilization of improved agricultural technologies by yam small scale farmers is paramount to increased agricultural yield and production in Ezinihitte Local Government Area of Imo state. The study therefore is imperative as it would suggest ways of further improving the income earning capacity of these small scale farmers, through the adoption of innovations in yam production.

The result of this study would serve as learning to small scale farmers who might not have known the significance and appropriate use of improved farm practices. Furthermore, it would help extension workers to develop extension strategies targeted at yam small scale farmers adoption of innovations in yam production as well as reveal the extent of technology diffusion through extension agents. The study would assist programme planners to know the areas of modifications for mass adoption and utilization of improved agricultural technologies. Policy makers would also find the result of this study useful in their effort to revamp the agricultural sector by providing necessary agricultural policies that would ensure the sustainability of improved agricultural technologies in Nigeria.

Finally, the study also serves as source of information and creates a vacuum for other researchers who may be interested in the subject matter of this study which from there, they can identify order constraints that affects their level of livelihood opportunities in the study area.

PROJECT TOPIC- DETERMINANTS OF THE ADOPTION OF IMPROVED AGRICULTURAL PRACTICES IN YAM (DISCOREA SPP) PRODUCTION BY SMALL HOLDER   FARMERS IN EZINIHITTE LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF IMO STATE

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