Analysis of Resource Use Among Cassava Farmers in Cross River State, Nigeria
The study examined the analysis of resource use among cassava farmers in Cross River State, Nigeria. The specific objectives were: describe their socio-economic characteristics, determine their technical efficiency, determine the factors affecting technical efficiency, assess their profit efficiency, examine determinants of profit efficiency, determine resource use efficiency, estimate cost and returns and identify constraints associated with cassava production in the study area. Multistage random sampling technique was adopted to select a total of 324 farmers. Data for the study were obtained from primary sources with the aid of a well-structured and pretested questionnaire.The statistical tools used for analysis were descriptive statistics such as frequency, percentages, mean and four point likert scale rating technique. Inferential statistical tools used were stochastic frontier model, marginal analysis and gross margin analysis. Analysis showed that the majority (64.5%) were between the ages of 31-45 years, 77% of the respondents were male while 52.2% solely depended on farming as their major occupation. The majority (59.3%) had household size 6-10 members, 44.8% spent 7 to 12 years of formal education, 31.5% had farming experience of 21 to 30 years and 37.3% were small scale farmers. Furthermore, 35.8% made annual farm income of N 201000- N300000 while 44.8% made annual off farm income of N100000- N500000. 41.8% practiced mixed-cropping, 66% used both simple farm tools and mechanized system for the farm operations and finally, 36.7% used only family labour as their source of labour. The mean technical efficiency of cassava farmers in the study area was 0.722. The inefficiency model revealed that age of farmers, household size, educational qualification, farming experience, farm size, non-farm income were significant at various levels of probability. For the MLE, Cuttings, labour, fertilizer were positive and significant at 5%, while agrochemical was significant at 1%. The mean profit efficiency was 0.65. Factors affecting profit efficiency were age and education which were positive and significant at 1%. Farming experience and membership of association were negative and significant at 5% and 1% respectively. Household size was positive and significant at 5%.Farm size, cuttings, fertilizers, agrochemicals were underutilized while labour and capital inputs were over utilized. The study also revealed an increasing return to scale. Gross margin recorded N 137869.81 per hectare for each production cycle. The study recommended that farmers be encouraged to invest into cassava production for its profitability and economic value. Inputs should be made available and at affordable prices especially improved varieties of cassava cuttings, cassava farmers should be encouraged to receive training on proper agronomic practices and usage of inputs to enhance technical efficiency of input use.
1.1 Background Information
Agriculture is the major and most certain path to economic growth and sustainability in Nigeria (Chigbu, 2008). According to Ikpi, Olayemi and Kadu (2002) agriculture encompasses all aspects of human activities – being the art, act, a cultural necessity and science of production of food (goods). All these simultaneously create another activity chain that satisfies social and economic needs (Chigbu, 2008).
According to Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO, 2009) Nigeria is endowed with an expansive landmass covering 923,768km2, an estimated arable land of about 68 million hectares, abundance of natural forest and rangeland covering 37 million hectares, various varieties of livestock and wildlife. The organization also noted that the country has an agricultural friendly climate, coastal and marine resources of about 960km shoreline. Nigeria’s agricultural resources, according to the organization, also include expansive rivers and lakes covering 120,000 Sq.km. The resources also include a large consumer market as shown by population figures of 140 million (NPC, 2006), that exist to reap the potentials that would outpace oil in the long run.
In spite of all these, United Nations Development Program (UNDP, 2016) reveals that Nigeria is ranked 153rdout of 186 countries in human development index and the 26th poorest country in the World. The Program further said that two out of every three Nigerians live below the poverty line as measured by the International Standard of one dollar twenty five cent a day as of 2016.
Agricultural resource use and management problems in Nigeria have caused the contributions of agriculture to the gross domestic product (GDP) to dwindle. The contribution of agriculture to GDP shows an annual growth rate of only about two percent, a development not good enough for a sector employing about 75 percent of Nigerians (Ruma, 2009).
Over the last four decades, the dominant role of agriculture has been on the decreasing trend, especially in terms of ensuring food security, given way to massive importation of food items (Awoyinka, 2009). This is a clear indication of the failure of agriculture to keep pace with the demand created by food shortage problems. The greatest problem today is how to eliminate hunger and overcome poverty. This challenge is greatest in developing countries like Nigeria where people starve for lack of adequate food and nourishment and where starvation and poverty go hand in hand (Ruma, 2009). The common strategy adopted has been increasing output of food tonnage per year through land clearing, improved machinery, better cultivation methods, improved seeds and improved animal nutrition, breeding and health. This is done without the needed consideration of the resource used in their production (Nwaru & Iheke, 2012). Consequent upon this, the world still faces serious food crises for millions of people. Although there is variation in the estimate of food insecure people all over the world, available statistics shows that a large portion of the world population have problems of food security. It was observed that more than eight hundred million people in the world still remain food insecure (F.A.O. 2005).
The country’s rural economy still remains basically agricultural. Agriculture has important linkages and interrelationships with the rest of the economy; as such its performance remains critical to the overall development and growth of the economy (Nwagbo, 2002). The use of resource in crop production generally is a key factor in determining it production output. Several researchers (Olagoke, 1991, Okorji & Obieachina, 1985, Nkang, 2012) highlighted that the resource inputs mainly used in crop production are land, labour, capital – seeds, machinery, herbicides, chemicals, fertilizer, pesticides, etc. and management. Land is the single most important resource extensively used in farming (Phillips, 1997). Thus agriculture is seriously constrained by land in relation to other sectors of the economy. On the other hand, population puts increasing pressure on the already strained land resources. Land as a scarce resource needs to be improved to enhance the productivity in resource poor economies. The study conducted by Nkang (2012) ranked labour as the second most important and expensive resource in crop production. Chidebelu (1990) argued that family labour is the main source of labour in rural farming household and is decreasing because of decline in average family size and increased number of family members seeking for education and careers off the farm and as well as rural- urban drift. Consequently, rural farmers continue to hire few labours available at exorbitant wage rates. Family labour is also used to supplement labour during the peak periods of farming activities, such as land preparation, planting, weeding, harvesting and processing (Ehui & Spencer, 1990). The ability of a farmer to hire labour depends on his financial status. The use of capital which includes all man-made productive assets used in production such as money, tools, seeds, chemicals, fertilizer, machinery, etc. determine the volume and scope of operation. Fertilizer use in some crops like cassava is reduced because of the fact that the crop is tolerant to less fertile soils and harsh climatic conditions. Management is another resource used in crop production. It entails decision-making on the use of resources or the combination of other resource in agricultural production (Olukosi & Erhabor, 1988). For increased production and productivity in agriculture, resources must be available and must be efficiently utilized (Alimi, 2002 and Nweze, 2002). Therefore the mission of developing agriculture and indeed increasing crop production to meet consumption and export requirement could be facilitated through efficient resource use.
Short fall in cassava production and productivity in recent times is attributable to resource use and management problems. Studies by Nweze & Panwall (2006) showed that most resources used in cassava production are not used at optimal levels and are constantly degraded. This is exacerbated by the fact that cassava production is largely land and labour intensive. With Nigeria’s estimated population of 140 million people and an annual growth rate of 2.8% (NPC, 2001), it is evidently clear that resources used in cassava production would be stretched to a point of unwise utilization (Olagoke, 1991). Cassava farmers tend to do their business without any regard to optimum resource management practices (Okorji, 1992). This makes the gap between food production rate and food demand to widen.
Food And Agricultural Organisation (FAO, 2007) asserted that resource management is the use of resources in a manner that safely protect and maintain it for further efficient use. It strives to achieve acceptable profits together with high and sustained production levels. The importance of resource management is further accentuated by incessant weather problems, population pressure on agricultural resources, poor utilization, etc. Nwagbo (2000) noted that there is little effort in promoting wide spread adoption by farmers of resource management techniques, that increase yield and simultaneously maintaining long term productivity of the resources.
Cassava (manihot esculenta crantz) is the most important crop in Cross River State, Nigeria. It is a perennial woody shrub, grown principally for the tuberous root and leaves. One of the staple food crops which has the potentials of putting the country out of the present food quagmire (Yakassai, 2012). Cassava is an important source of starch in form of carbohydrate; in fact it is the third largest source of carbohydrates in the tropics, after rice and maize and has multiple uses as well as important source of food in the diet of over 140 million Nigerians (Okigbo, 2009). Cassava is a multifaceted crop that has both food and industrial applications and processed into garri, fufu, tapioca, akara, etc. for non-food application, cassava can be used in the manufacture of cassava starch, pellets and chips for animal consumption as well as used for bio fuel and making of particle boards. It contributes about 40-50 percent of the food requirements of rural households in the country (Ekubika, 2010).
Nigeria is the world’s largest producer of the commodity and produced in 24 out of the 36 states of the country, while Thailand is the largest exporter of dried cassava (Yakassai, 2010). In 2009, Nigeria produced 45 million metric tons representing 19 percent of the world’s production and as at 2014, Nigeria produced 54 million tons which was almost 21 percent of world’s production. The presidential initiative on cassava is set to mobilize Nigerians to fully and profitably tap into the potentials of cassava, which had hitherto remained unharnessed (FMAWRRD, 2000). Cassava food products are the most important staple of rural and urban households in Nigeria. Current estimates show that the dietary calorie equivalent of per capita consumption of cassava in the country amounts to about 238 k cal (Ademiliyu & Ayodele, 2014). This is derived from the consumption of garri (toasted granules), chips/flour, fermented paste and/or fresh root/leaves, the principal cassava food forms. Studies by Yakassai (2012), show that during the growing season or hungry period, as much as 50% of food intake in Nigeria is from cassava. In all areas, cassava has become a very popular crop and is fast replacing yam and other traditional staples of the area, gaining grounds increasingly as insurance crop against hunger. Planting of high yielding varieties has resulted to high cash income, generating up to 34% of total household farm income, especially in areas with access to improved technology and market (Nkang, 2012).
Comparing the output of various crops in Nigeria, cassava ranks first with 54 million metric tons, followed by yam production at 27 million metric tons, sorghum at 7 million metric tons, millet at 6 million metric tons and rice at 5 million metric tons (FAO, 2014). Expansion of cassava production has been relatively steady since 1980 with an additional push between the years 1988 to 1992 owing to release of improved varieties from International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA). By Zones, the North central produced over 13 million metric tons a year. South- South produces over 11 million metric tons per year; South East about 10 million metric tons per year, south-west 8 million metric tons per year, the North-West and North-East are small by comparison at 7.86 and 5.14 million metric tons respectively (IITA, 2011). On a per capita basis, north central is the highest producing state at 0.72 per tons per person, followed by South East 0.56 per ton per person, South South 0.47 per ton per person, South west 0.34 per ton per person North West 0.10 per ton per person and north east 0.01 per ton per person (IITA, 2011).
National per capita production shows that Benue and Kogi states in the North central zone are the largest producers of cassava (Adeniji, et. al., 2005). Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Rivers and Delta states dominate cassava production in South South zone. Ogun, Ondo and Oyo dominate in South West zone, while Enugu and Imo dominate production in South East. Kaduna alone in North West is comparable in output to many of the states in the southern region at almost 2 million metric tonnes a year, with very little currently produced in North East (IITA, 2011).
In recent times the federal government has paid a lot of attention to the development of cassava and has been doing a lot to help scale up its propagation, supply and use. According to FMAWRRD, (2010) the cassava inclusion policy is a good example; the federal ministry of agriculture has argued that simply encouraging bakeries to include a certain percentage of cassava flour in making wheat bread, introduced few years back is not enough to change cassava usage in Nigeria. The ministry is now advocating a bill to make it mandatory to include about 40% of cassava flour in making of bread. The policy is expected to save Nigeria about 127 billion naira worth of foreign exchange annually FAO (2011). The 20% cassava inclusion in bread and other confectionary products already achieved has resulted in a 5% decline in the importation of wheat, from 4.2 million metric tonnes to 3.7 million metric tonnes (FMAWRRD 2010). Considering the fact that Nigeria spends about $10 billion annually on the importation of wheat grains and wheat flour for brewing, bread making and pastries, the composite flour initiative seems a worthwhile venture, as it would among others also create employment, in the area of farming, baking and distribution/marketing, research, etc., create wealth and ensure food security. The policy has a multiplier effect and the development of the downstream industries, within the supplier food chain.
- Problem Statement
According to Okogbenin, et. al., (2012) agricultural development in Nigeria has been constrained by resource use related problems. The sustainability of production and productivity based agricultural growth depends on proper resource use. Cassava is one major crop produced by numerous small-scale farmers in Nigeria and its production has increased tremendously over the last two decades, In terms of area cultivated and yield per hectare (Nkang, 2012), as well as making successful incursion into the diet of many Nigerians. This phenomenal change has not been marched by improvements in the resources used for it production (Adeniji, et. al., 2005). The growth in cassava production has been primarily due to rapid population growth, large internal market demand complemented by the availability of high yielding improved varieties of cassava. This growth rather put pressure on the agricultural resources used in their production.
As said earlier, Nigeria grows cassava more than any other country in the world, with an annual production as at 2014 put at 54 million metric tonnes (FAO, 2014). This means that more resources are committed to its production, which necessitates that they be used efficiently and optimally to enhance sustainability of the resources for other production cycles. Okafor (1991) stated that of the numerous factors that affect cassava production under the small holder farming system, resource use efficiency is of paramount importance. He argued that cassava production requires investment in resources and that farm resource and their productivity would highly influence the profitability of production. Increasing the efficiency in the use of resource to raise the productivity in food crops like cassava can be an important measure to solve the food shortage problem (Okori, 2005). Efforts have also been made to achieve self-sufficiency in the domestic production of this crop, yet the capacity is still below the national requirement for the staple food (Yakassai, 2012). FAO (2014) stated that Nigeria estimated demand for cassava is 60 million metric tons, while production capacity is 54 million metric tons. Nigeria still has a demand shortfall of 6 million metric tons of cassava. To bridge the gap, many options have been explored; examples are the special cassava programs, presidential initiative on cassava, government backed cassava growers association, 40% cassava wheat bread policy (replacement of up to 40% wheat flour in bread, other food and adhesive industries, dextrin, etc. with cassava flour), IFAD assisted cassava multiplication programme (CMP). Nkang (2012) reported that the nation’s inability to attain self-sufficiency in cassava production is worsened by the structural increases in demand. Such increases result from several factors including increase in population growth rate, increase in urbanization, higher wages, etc.
However, inefficiency in the use of available farm resources may be one of the causative factors for high input low output of this crop in Nigeria. On this, Oji (2002) contended that improving the efficiency of farm resources has remained a problem to small holder farmers, whose production process is characterized by low productivity, low income and low capital investment. Hence the availability of labour, which depends on hand tools is now seen by him as a major constraint to optimum use of resource and productivity.
Land an important agricultural resource has not received proper attention. Nwagbo (2000) argued that outside those practices that come as component of recommended technologies for few privileged farmers, Nigeria lacks proper land management practices. He concluded that there are little efforts at promoting widespread adoption of resources management techniques by farmers that increase yield and simultaneously long term productivity of land resource. The use of capital in terms of fertilizer, improved seed, tractors, modern processing machines, etc. as another resource for increasing cassava yield has also posed problem to farmers. It has very limited use because of the socio- economic characteristics of the farmers. There is need to document the present experiences of farmers with respect to resource use.
Over the last 15 years, the Nigeria government has actively interfered in cassava production (presidential initiative on cassava, cassava flour inclusion policy, IFAD assisted cassava multiplication programme (CMP), etc.), but these policies have not been consistent (FMAWRRD, 2000). For instance, on the presidential initiative on cassava; of the 50 billion approved for promotion of the production of the crop, by the Obasanjo administration in 2002, only about 10 billion naira was finally released, most part of that fund ending in “political” cassava farmers (Yakassai, 2012).
According to Fotzo (1997) resources used in cassava are limited in supply relative to demand for them. The limited resources available to cassava farmers are in constant degradation and depletion (Oji, 2002). It therefore makes economic sense if these resources are efficiently used; this has emerged as an effective strategy to achieving goals of sustainable cassava production. In Nigeria, cassava production is at subsistence level, in spite of the fact that the country is endowed with abundant natural and human resources, earlier mentioned, which enjoys favourable climatic conditions capable of supporting cash crop production throughout the year (Okigbo, 2009). According to Olayide (1998) in the last four decades, agricultural resources have been subjected to degradation, resulting to low productivity. Before the 1970’s agriculture contributed about 90% to the nation’s GDP. This declined with the introduction of the oil boom, with the oil sector contributing 90% to GDP (Olayide, 1998).
The discovery of oil in Cross River State, Nigeria heightened oil prospecting, exploration and exploitation activities in the state (CRADP, 2001). The intervention strategy of the federal government by establishing Oil Mineral Producing Areas Development Commission (OMPADEC) by decree 23 of 1992 did not yield good result as agricultural production and productivity are still low in these areas. The commission which was replaced by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) was further strengthened to facilitate agricultural resource, human and physical development of member states, of which Cross River State as oil producing state is a member, but did not bring the expected result (Cross River State News bulletin, 2012).
Over the years, various governments in Nigeria had adopted series of efficient resource use and conservation practices, aimed at more food production and ameliorating food security and poverty but the results have been poor. The establishment of National Agricultural Land Development Agency (NALDA) is a good example (Gerald, 1996). According to FAO (2011) there exist a wide gap between food demand and production, which is attributable to agricultural resource use and conservation related problems. Nigeria agricultural scientists and policy makers have not given the needed attention to resource use and conservation practices, as a veritable tool in turning around the problems of cassava production. Emphasis is placed more on crop and animal multiplication, without recourse to the bedrock (resources) upon which these would be sustained (Abang and Agom, 2002).
Concerns have developed over the long term sustainability and environmental consequences of the intensification of cassava production. There is threat to irreversible degradation and misuse of resources used in cassava production, especially in the face of zero management practices. Braide (1992) reported that this phenomenon is worrisome because of the concern of feeding a rapidly growing human population and reducing hunger. Hence reconciliation of these needs – increased food production with greater protection of the environment for the future, presents a major challenge for researchers and government. Increase in production, productivity and better living condition of farmers are not guaranteed, because of continuous resource degradation without efficient management practices (Amalu, 1998). This is because there may be productive resource reallocation among different economic activities to the detriment of agricultural production sector. The people of Cross River State are predominantly farmers, concentrating more on cassava production, which also forms the staple food of the people (CRSMANR, 2011). The need to scale up production in the state has led to the establishment of the Aggressive Agricultural Transformation Commission (AATC) and the federal government financial intervention (CRSMA&TS, 2011).
Several studies have been done on agricultural resource, production and management. Nwosu and Chidebelu (2006) worked on comparative economic of resource use by farmers, Ibekwe, Orabiyi and Henri-Ukoha (2006) studied resource use in cassava production in South East, Nigeria, Olagoke (1990) researched on comparative resource use in rice and yam crop production, other related studies are on production resource use, resource productivity and resource efficiency on Nigeria farmers (Onyenweaku & Ohajianya, 2005, Osuji, 1988, Mijindadi, 1980), economic contribution of cassava production was done by (Yakassai, 2012), etc. However, some of these studies agreed that small holder farmers are not allocatively efficient in resource use given their level of technology.
But in all these studies, research gaps existed in the areas of technical and profit efficiencies, determinants of efficiencies in cassava production of resources and constraints to cassava production. The earlier noted research gaps could present serious limitations on policy formulation and decision-making concerning improvement in cassava resource use and management practices. Secondly factors which influence cassava resource use are subject to wide variations over time. Hence investment decisions based on result of past studies might be misleading now; a current research on the subject was therefore being necessary.
- Objectives of the Study
The broad objective of this study was to analyse resource use among cassava farmers in Cross River State, Nigeria. The specific objectives were to:
- describe the socio-economic characteristics of cassava farmers;
- determine the technical efficiency of cassava farmers ;
- determine the factors affecting technical efficiency;
- estimate cost and returns of cassava farmers
- assess the profit efficiency of cassava farmers;
- examine the determinants of profit efficiency of cassava farmers;
- determine the resource use efficiency of cassava farmers and
- identify constraints associated with cassava production in the study area.
- Hypotheses of the Study
Based on the above objectives, the following null hypotheses were tested:
- Socio-economic characteristics of farmers do not significantly affect the technical efficiency of cassava farmers
- Cassava farmers are not fully technically efficient;
1.5 Justification of Study
The economic reasons for resource use cassava production are well accepted by literatures and environmental management practitioners as well as agriculturist. Both the empirical and analytical inclinations to resource use in cassava production accepted that farmers are insufficient and inefficient in the use of the resources resulting to low cassava production, hence the justification for cassava resource use study. Resource use centres on the need to study and know what is used in longer period, constantly and which is not renewable in most cases. In this way, cassava production and productivity would be sustained to levels that would be marched with the fast growing population. Innovation in cassava production should be focused on the way resources are used to ensure improvement. Cassava production is of interest as an enterprise that will increase income, employment and standard of living in rural and urban areas (Adinye, et.al, 2008). The increasing importance of cassava as a food crop in Nigeria calls for efforts to increase its production and productivity.
The study is further justified by the fact that cassava resource use has emerged as an effective strategy to achieve goals of sustainable cassava production, transformation and development, because of its ability to provide solutions to non-sustainability of production. It will also identify and provide better information about the variables that may be responsible for the difference in levels of efficiency of resource utilization of cassava farmers. A study of this nature is likely to give direction to adjustment in resource use and to offer alternative methods of cassava production in order to increase farmer’s production and productivity in the study area. It is hoped that this study determined whether the cassava resource use practices are achieving the aims for which they are adopted. This is so because efficient cassava resources use practices to a level has been in practice in the study area.
Therefore, this study provided the missing links in knowledge that helped in adequate management and use of cassava resource for sustainable cassava production and development. Finally, the findings from this study are expected to act as a source of information and a study guide to the following stakeholders: farmers, students, research institutions, NGO’s, government, etc.
1.6 Limitations of the Study
Time and financial constraints were the major limitations of this study. The execution of this work required time and finance because of the difficult geographical terrain of the area, which were very limited. As a result, a random sample of 324 cassava farmers and limited to only one state (Cross River State) in Nigeria was made. Again, in order to reduce errors in data collection and inconsistency in filling research instrument; because of low level of education, the respondents were interviewed (instead of self-administration) all through because of the importance of every information stated in the questionnaire. This made the collection of data to take more time and funds. Language barrier was another challenge; this was addressed by recruiting and training research assistants that were indigenes of the various areas of the sample.
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