BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Nigeria is an agrarian nation as over 70% of its population engaged in one form of agriculturalactivities or the other. Agriculture provides the bulk of employment, incorporate and food for the populace. It also provided raw materials for the agro allied industries as well as the market for industrial goods. Before independence, Nigeria’s economy was largely sustained through export trade in agricultural commodities such as cocoa, groundnut, rubber, cotton, palm-oil and palm kernel which accounted for over 60% of Nigeria’s export earnings. Apart from this, the sector also accounted for the largest proportion of the gross domestic product (GDP).
The situation suddenly changed in the early 1970’s when there was extensive exploitation, production and exportation of petroleum products in Nigeria, the relegation of agricultural sector had manifested itself in rising food prices, high food import bills, huge malnutrition and diseases occasioned by supply-demand disequilibria and a drastic decline in the share of agricultural in Nigeria’s gross domestic product (GDP). The agriculturalsectors contribution to the GDP over the years has been on the decline. It has dropped from 62.5% averagely in the 1960-1964 period, 40.79% in the 2000-2002 period (CBN,2002).
To reverse this trend of poor performance of the agricultural sector, Nigeria is currently pre-occupied with the challenges of diversing the structure of its economy and over the years, there have been different agricultural policies targeted at improving the performance of the agricultural sector and reviving export trade in semi-processed agricultural commodities chiefly among these policies is the diversification of the source of foreign exchange earnings through agricultural export arising from adoption of appropriate technological innovations in food production and distribution.
Cassava (Manihotesculentacrantz) is a major food in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country and the world’s largest producer of cassava (IITA,1998) Cock (2005) stated that Nigeria is the worlds largest producer, its cassava transformation is the most advanced in Africa. However, the scope of increasing the use of cassava in Nigeria industries is to a large extent, determined by the development of an efficient and well integrated production and marketing system to assure a steady supply of cassava products of stable, high quality standards and appropriate price and of specific properties price required by domestic industries and export markets.
In Africa, cassava is gradually being transferred from famine reserve commodity and rural food staple to a cash crop for urban consumption, (Mahmud, 2006) cassava has become very popular as a food and cash crop and is replacing yam and other traditional staples in both rural and urban centers (Cock, 2005). Cassava is important, not only as a food crop but even more as a major source of income for rural household. Ezedimma et al (2006) emphasized that with an annual production of over 34 million tones of tuberous roots Nigeria is currently the largest producer of cassava in the world and is consumed in many processed forms in the country. It is used in the industries as livestock feed, it is also gradually increasing especially as import substitution. It has thus become prominent in the industrial sector of the economy.
As a good crop, cassava has some inherent characteristics which makes it attractive especially, to smallholder farmers in Nigeria first it is rich in carbohydrates especially starch and consequently has a multiplicity of end uses. Secondly, it is available all the year round making it preferable to other more seasonal crops such as grains, peas, and beans and other crops for food security (Dalton and Guei, 2003). Compared to grains, cassava is more tolerant to low soil fertility and more resistant to drought, pest and diseases. Furthermore, it not are more storable in the ground for months after maturity. These attribute combined with other socio-economic considerations are therefore what international fund for agricultural development (IFAD) has recognized in the crop as lending itself to a commodity-based to poverty alleviation (Dixon, 2008).
Statement of the Problem
In Nigeria, agricultural production and productivity are being hindered by some problems. These problems include the following, inadequate credit, labour, output (farm output), non-adoption of improved technology as a result of low income, low purchasing power of farmers to purchase agrochemicals and other inputs that can enhance the productivity, inadequate information on modern and improved cassava varieties that can improve production output and socio-economic factors.
In the early years ofNigeria’s independence, agriculture accounted for nearly 60 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and 80 percent of export earnings, oil accounting for the rest. Although, room exists for Nigeria to prosper, the country continues to face a number of challenges. Policies to date have yet to diversify the productivebase away from the continued reliance on single industry, petroleum. There continues to be underutilization of industrial capacity, high development and political anxiety.
The desire of Nigerian government is strong diversified economy able to generate employment and sustainable incomes for its citizens, increasing the productivity of agriculture, increasing the utilization of industrial capacity, diversifying export earning and providing gainful employment for its citizenry are all desirable targets.
Purpose of the Study
The broad purpose of the study is to identify the determinants of the adoption of improved cassava planting materials by farmers in Ekitistate, Nigeria. The specific objectives are to:-
- Identify the socio-economic characteristics of cassava farmers in the study area.
- Identify the sources of information by which farmers become aware of improved technology.
- Determine the rate of adoption of improved planting materials by the respondents.
- Examine the probability of adoption of improved planting materials by cassava farmers and
- Identify the various problems faced by cassava farmers in the study area.
Significance of Study
Government at all levels have invested a huge amount of money on researchers to develop new varieties of crop such as cassava, maize and so on, fashion at location, specific technology and improved method of production, storage and marketing (Adeshina and Zinnah, 2006). Since much have being invested in research on improved technology which is capable of enhancing agricultural productivity if appropriately used, there is the need to find out if farmers adopt the improved cassava production technologies and the factors that are influencing the adoption most especially improved planting materials.
No matter how an effective improved technology is, it will not be productive if it is not put into use. The efficacy of any agricultural improvement programme depends on the factor that influence the adoption of such technology by the targeted users. (Adesina and Bondu, 1995).
Also, there is the need to bridge the gap between domestic supply and demand for cassava in Ekitistate for both domestic consumptions and industrial utilization of cassava produce. Adoption of improved planting materials with high yield quality, tolerance to major pests and diseases, early maturing characteristics, low water content with high dry matter content can achieve this desire.
This study is expected to stir up the government to invest more in cassava production as a means of solving global food crisis that is already putting millions of people into hunger and object poverty as well as providing raw materials for industrial utilization.
Hence, this study attempts to answer the following questions.
- What are the socio-economics characteristics of cassava in the study area?
- What are the information sources by which farmers become aware of innovations in the study area?
- What are the determinants of the adoption of improved technologies among farmers in the study area?
- What are the levels of adoption of improved cassava planting materials by the respondents?
- What are the problems facing the adoption of improved cassava varieties in the study area?
The following hypothesis were tested in the study:-
Ho1:- there is no significant relationship between farmers socio-economic variables and probability of adoption of improved planting materials.
Ho2:- there is significant relationship between information source used by respondents and their awareness of improved planting materials.
Limitation of the study
While carrying out the research work, various problem were encountered which are:
This farmers in case study were not ready to give the accurate information needed for the study.
Due to high level of illiteracy among the farmers they were not able to answer the questionnaire correctly.
Another limitation difficulty is the retrieval of the questionnaire from respondents as a result of distance.
Definition of Terms
Adoption:- a process of accepting an idea, skill and value of a particular innovation.
Varieties:- this is said to be the quality or state of being different it is also a number of collection different things.
Production:- the action of making or manufacturing from components or raw materials.
Extension:- a part that is added to something in order to enlarge the understanding of ideas, skills and values.
Economy:- the wealth and resources or a region in terms of the production of goods and services.