THE EXTENT OF ADOPTION OF AGRICULTURAL INNOVATION IN CASSAVA PRODUCTION BY RURAL FARMERS IN OHAUKWU LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF EBONYI STATE.
BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Agriculture is one of the major occupations of the rural dwellers and still remains one of the most important means, through which rural areas can be developed. For this to be actualized, there is need for fundamental change in the methods of agricultural production, since it can be seen that development depends to a great extent on innovation been adopted by the rural farmers. Extent according to hornby (2000) is the size, range or scale of something that is easily available in a system. Extent can be seen as the amount, scope, limit or degree at which something is used or adopted (leisa,2002). He further explained adoption as the decision to start using something such as an idea, plain or knowledge in agricultural system. Akubilo,(2007) emphasized that adoption is a decision made by an individual or group to use an innovation in a continuous manner. Adoption is regarded by Rogers (1995) as a decision to make full use of an innovation or technology as the best course of action available. Van den Ban and Hawkins (1996), stress that adoption of innovation is the decision of an individual or group to use or apply an innovation. Innovation according to hornby (2000), is the act of introducing new things, ideas or ways of dong something. Anyanwu (2001), described innovations as new idea, method, practice or techniques which gives the means of achieving sustained increase in farm productivity and income. It is also a system of network focused on bringing new products into use. Innovation in this study involves knowledge, inventions and development in cassava production. It account for the changes affecting rural society and the new expectations of people living in the area. It is the development of new customs, value, through solutions that meet new needs or adding value to old customs by providing new ways of maximizing their current level of productivity. Myers and marquis (1979) opinined that innovation is not a single action but a total process of interrelated sub process. They stress that it is not a new idea only, nor the innovation of a new device, nor the development of a new market, rather it is the process of all these things acting in an integrated fashion. Innovations is the process of perception or generation of relevant science and its transformation into new and improve products and services for which people are wiling to pay (brunori, rand and proost,2007). they maintain that innovation consist of the generation of a new idea and its implementation into a new product, process or service leading to the dynamic growth of the nation economy and the increase of employment as well as creation of pure profit for the innovative business enterprise.
Agricultural innovations in this study, is that aspect of agriculture which is centered on developing knowledge (idea and working attitude) and technologies, by bringing new products, process and packages in enhancing agricultural production. It is that aspect of agriculture which brings new packages and methods such as use of improved varieties of crops, fertilizer, herbicides, machines etc into agricultural production. Similarly, Blait (1996) pointed out that the lest expensive input is adequate access to knowledge and information in areas of new agricultural technologies, such as improved seedlings, fertilizer, market price and modern storage system for food security. Food security can only be assured through improvement in production of certain food crop, such as cassava.
As a food crop, cassava has some inherent characteristics which makes it attractive to the rural farmers in Ebonyi state and Ohaukwu local government area in particular. It is rich in carbohydrate especially starch and consequently has a multiplicity of end users (11TA, 2006). It is also available all year round, making it preferable to other more seasonal crop such as grains, peas and beans and other crop of food products (Akorodu and Teri, 2004). As a food crop also, cassava generates income to the largest number of rural farmers in comparison with other staples. Cassava (manihot esculentium) is very significant food crops in Ebonyi state and Nigeria at large. It provides about 40% in sub-Saharan Africa, and 70% of the day calorie intake of 50 million Nigerians. It is propagated by stems, tolerates moisture stress, makes limited soil fertility demand, and has a specific planting and harvesting periods. It can be processed into a variety of food items or forms and does not require elaborate storage facilities because harvested cassava in raw form deteriorated in quality after two days. Therefore, farmers leave their cassava in the field until the need arises for harvest. It nutritive value is about 60% of water and are rich in carbohydrate. The roots are low in protein and lipids but reasonably rich in calcium and vitamin C. Products from cassava when consumed with some energy dense protein and nutrient, rich in supplementary foods such as beans and oil seeds, pulses and fishes provide energy in adequate diet (FAO,2000). Cassava plays a very active role in household food security in Nigeria and Ohaukwu in particular, as it can be stored for long periods when processed and also available through out the year. The improved cassava varieties yielded very well in the farm, and have been slow to adopt by farmers based on factors such as unfamiliarties, to most farmers, have never had opportunity to try them and therefore do not know whether they will like them or not.(Word Bank,2000). The adoption rate of farmers in using farm machineries and tools in cultivation of ridges for cassava production and use of agrochemical like fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides in weeding in Ohaukwu local government area of Ebonyi state is still un-popular. Therefore, for the adoption of improved varieties of cassava to be increased, there is need for qualitative extension service among farmers (Oladosu, 2003). However, the extent of adoption of improved technologies need to be determined among farmers in Ohaukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi state.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Hunger, poverty, malnutrition and starvation with a geometric increase in growth of Nigeria population have been the challenges of rural farmers in meeting their food demand in this 21st century. However, cassava (manihot esculentium) is one of the food crop produced, which is the major occupation of the rural farmers in Ebonyi state particularly in Ohukwu local government area. Hence, farmers in ohaukwu local government area have not been producing the food crops in the ways it can be exported to other countries of the world and the demand by the entire people of Ebonyi state.
Therefore the worries of the researcher is to determine the extent of adoption of innovations in order to produce cassava in lager quantity in Ohaukwu local government area of Ebonyi state.
PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The purpose of the study is to ascertain the extent of adoption of agricultural innovation in cassava production by the rural farmers in Ohaukwu local government area of Ebonyi state. Specifically the study tend to
- Determine the extent to which the cassava farmers use improved cassava stem for cassava production.
- Determine the extent to which cassava farmers use Agro chemicals in their cassava production.
- Determine the extent to which cassava farmers get current information on cassava production.
- Determine the extent to which cassava farmers use farm machineries and tools for cassava production.
SIGNIFICANT OF THEV STUDY
The study will be benefit to the following people, the farmers, the students, the extension agents and the researcher institute. The study will help farmers to know the best way of adopting agricultural innovations to boost their productivity, by changing from traditional or primitive method of farming to modern ways of farming. The work will be of great important to agricultural student carrying out seminars and projects. They will use the information for references and further studies. The work will also be of great important to the extension agents. The extension agents will use the finding in this study to modify their techniques and understand the best way in which agricultural innovations can be disseminated to farmers. The work will also be of great important to the research institute in identifying those problems faced by the rural cassava farmers in adopting to agricultural innovations and the best way of providing solution.
SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study is delimited to cassava farmers in Ohaukwu local government area of Ebonyi state.
- What are the extent to which cassava farmers use improved cassava stem for cassava production.
- What are the extent to which cassava farmers use Agro chemical in cassava production.?
- What are the extent to which cassava farmers use current information for cassava production?
- What are the extent to which cassava farmers use farm machineries and tools for cassava production.