Economics of Organic Solid Waste Utilization by Urban Small-scale Tomatoes Farmers in F.c.t. Abuja, Nigeria



Economics of organic solid waste (O.S.W.) utilization by urban small-scale tomatoes farmers in F.C.T. Abuja, was aimed at solving the problems of waste disposal through it reuse in tomatoes farming. The major objectives were to describe the socio-economic characteristics of the small-scale tomatoes farmers in the study area, to examine the factors that affect urban tomatoes output and to identify the determinants of “willingness to pay” for organic solid waste in tomatoes farming. Other objectives were to estimate the gross margin resulting from the use of organic solid waste in tomatoes farming and to identify the constraints to organic solid waste use in tomatoes farming. Purposive sampling was used in selection of three urban areas (Gwagwalada, Karu and Kubwa) were tomatoes farming was predominantly practiced in F.C.T. Then, twenty tomatoes farmers were randomly selected from each of the three areas making a total sample size of 60. Data were collected by the use of structured questionnaire and interview schedule by a trained enumerator. Data were analyzed by descriptive statistics, multiple regressions and contingency valuation via binary probit regression, gross margin and likert rating scale. The study revealed that majority of the respondents were between the age range of 21and 40 years (72%), they were mostly male (87%), married (80%) with primary occupation as farming (83%), most had 11 – 20 years of farming experience (47%). This implied that the respondents were in their active working age, experienced and literate farmers. The result of the linear regression had R2 of 0.7345, which implied that about 73.45% of the total variation in the output of tomatoes was caused by the specified variables. Farmers’ age, levels of education, labour input, land size and quantity of O.S.W. used, positively affect tomatoes output. It was found that the determinants of W.T.P. for O.S.W. were farm income, farming experience, yield, cost and available of O.S.W. Tomato farming with O.S.W was viable, with the gross margin per hectare of eighty one thousand, three hundred and fifty one naira. All the constraints analyzed were found to be ‘important’ constraints against the use of O.S.W. The study recommends increase use of organic waste in tomatoes farming as means of increasing yield, food quality and recycling of city organic wast




1.1:     Background Information                                                                                                 

In realization of the critical role food plays in the sustenance of human life and the liberation of energies for creative and active healthy growth (Njoku, 2000), food must be made available and affordable. A nation that cannot provide adequate food for its citizens is food in-secured. Ngoddy (2000) defined food security as the ability of a country or region to assure, on a long-term basis, that its food system provides the total population access to timely, reliable and nutritionally adequate supply of food. Unfortunately, the rate of growth of Nigeria food production has been very low. Food production has grown at the rate of 2.5% per annum while food demand has been growing at the rate of more than 3.5% per annum due to high rate of population growth of 2.83% (F.O.S., 1996). Consequently, food importation has been on the increase in Nigeria and this could be attributed to dismal performance of rural agriculture. According to Ijere (1990), the rural farmers lacked training, skill and infrastructures and were characterized by low agricultural production.

Urban agriculture is currently emphasized for its potential in ameliorating food insecurity. Engel (1995; cited in Madukwe and Anyanwu, 2000) opined that current thinking tends to emphasize the identification of new methods rather than merely examining and refining existing dominant paradigms. It was found that rural agricultural production alone could not solve the problem of food scarcity. Madukwe and Anyanwu (2000) observed that the demographic changes show an increase of farm activities in urban and peri-urban areas of the country. Again, an increasing number of those that farm in rural locations are urban dwellers.

According to Enete and Achike (2008), urban agriculture is the intensive farming of small plots of land available in the urban and peri-urban areas. Ganapathy (1983) described urban agriculture as the cultivation of crops, fruits and vegetables, forestry, parks, gardens, orchards, animal husbandry, fuel wood plantation, aquaculture and related activities in the urban area.

Vegetable gardening is the most common form of urban agriculture. It is usually a small-scale form of vegetable growing, usually located at the back of the house hence the term ‘backyard garden’. Bryld (2003) defined it as the growing of vegetables in backyards, around buildings and on public lands as a strategy for securing family well being. Jaeger and Huckabay (1986) noticed that ‘Household Gardens’, ‘Kitchen Gardens’ or ‘Backyard Gardens’ occupy the central zone, while the semi-commercial and commercial type of agriculture are situated at the urban periphery. The most important crops in urban farming are perishable fruits and vegetables grown in or near the city by small or large farmers for home consumption or sale at the urban market (Nugent, 2000 and Smit, 1996). According to Usman (2006), tomato is the most popular home garden crop in the world.                                         Tomatoes popularity can be attributed to its nutritive value and most farmers usually are addicted to tomato growing because it requires small plot of land (pot / trough) and can easily be managed and processed. However, Yaffa, Sainju and Singh (2000) opined that optimum production of tomato requires intensive management practices that conserve and manage soil nutrients. Aside the problem of food scarcity, the increasing ecological problems in African cities relates to the problem of collection and disposal of solid waste (Arene and Mbata, 2008). As cities grow, land use becomes increasingly complex and the wastes generated increase in volume and variety (Omuta, 1987). It is apparent that city sanitation services cannot keep pace with the high urbanization rates (Keraita, Drechsel and Amoah, 2003). Furthermore, the attitude of poorer city residents toward environmental cleanliness is also a contributing factor for waste accumulation (Kibwage, 1996 and Peters, 1998). For instance, Agunwamba (2003) asserted that in general, people in Abuja have a poor attitude towards waste management. It was observed that people’s attitudes influence the characteristics of waste generation and effective demand for waste collection services (Nabegu, 2010). This also influences their ‘willingness to pay’ for waste.

The solution to organic solid waste problem requires sustainable resource management. This implies a more efficient use of organic wastes including a reduction and reuse of waste wherever possible. Organic solid waste can be used to close the nutrient gap in urban farming by reusing the so-called waste as fertilizers in urban agriculture (Nelson, 1996 and Smit, 1996). Therefore, organic waste use in vegetable farming will serve as cheap means of increasing soil fertility and increasing food production, reducing poverty and productive reuse of organic waste. This will enhance environmental cleanliness as well as greening and beautification of our cities.

1.2:     Problem Statements                                                                                                          

While the Nigerian population is increasing by about 2.8% per annum, the rate of urban growth is as high as 5.5% per annum (U.D.B.N., 1998). Okon and Enete (2009) observed that urbanization has not yet been matched with infrastructural and economic development. Urban growth has caused deterioration of solid waste management services in the city, resulting in environmental pollution (Kibwage, 2002). The implication is serious when wastes are not efficiently managed (Babayemi and Dauda, 2009). Harris et al (1999) found that in urban areas of developing countries, significant quantities of organic waste were generated by food processing enterprises. Report shows that the average waste generation rate in Abuja is 0.55–0.58 kg per person per day (Solid Waste Audit Report, 2004). Wastes usually constitute serious health hazard, it causes offensive odour and it pollutes underground water sources and decreases environmental aesthetics and quality (F.M.E., 2005).

Municipal authorities have insufficient financial, technical and institutional capacities to collect, transport, safely treat, and dispose wastes. As a result, waste management remains one of the major urban problems (Drechsel and Kunze, 2001). It has been estimated that waste transportation, including labour and machinery accounts for between 70% and 80% of the total cost of solid waste management in Nigeria (Oluwande, 1984). Another problem is lack of policy on solid wastes management and a general sense of irresponsibility on the part of residents (Lardinois and van de Klundert, 1993 and Mougeot, 1996). There is also absence of a systematic and integrated approach to tackling the waste management problems. Enete and Achike (2008) noted that one of the factors that derived urbanization is rural-urban migration, which depletes rural agricultural labour. The consequence of this imbalance in population distribution is food scarcity in the over populated urban areas. It was reported that poor urban households spent around 60% (and in some cases as much as 89%) of their income on food (Mougeot, 1993). FAO confirmed that urban households spent 60% to 80% of their budget on food, 30% more than rural households (Argenti, 2000).                                     There was also the risk of low investment and hence low productivity of urban agriculture (Okon and Enete, 2009). For instance, the amount of manure applied is translated into cost of production and if the cost of sustenance of yield – benefiting resource is exorbitant to the small-scale farmers, the ‘willingness to pay’ diminished (Essien, 2011). Despite the importance of tomato in the nutrition of people, its production is very low as most farmers depend mainly on natural fertility of the soil (Olaniyan, Akintoye and Agbeyi, 2007). One means of boosting tomatoes production is by the use organic waste to increase soil fertility. Research had been carried out on the use of municipal waste to increase output in urban agriculture (Mbata, 2005 and Arene and Mbata 2008). Adediran, Taiwo and Sobulo (2003) also worked on the effect of compost as means of improving soil fertility for vegetable production. However, the gap that existed in previous researches is that the economics of organic waste usage in tomatoes farming specifically was not done. Moreover, there is also dearth of information on such practice in the study area (F.C.T. Abuja) and its usefulness in creating wealth out of waste.            This work is targeted at bridging this knowledge gap and to answer the following question: What is the relationship between the farmers’ socio-economic attributes and farm output? What are the determinants of ‘willingness to pay’ for organic waste by tomatoes farmers? How viable is tomatoes farming especially when organic waste is used to improve the soil fertility?


1.3:     Study Objectives                                                                                                                                              The broad objective of this study is to analyze the economics of organic solid waste utilization by urban small-scale tomatoes farmers in F.C.T. Abuja. The specific objectives are to:

(i) describe the socio-economic characteristics of the small-scale tomatoes farmers in F.C.T Abuja;

(ii) examine the factors that affect tomatoes output in the study area;

(iii) identify the determinants of “willingness to pay” for organic solid waste in tomatoes farming;                                  (iv) estimate the gross margin from the use of organic solid waste in tomatoes farming;

(v) identify the constraints of organic solid waste use in tomatoes farming;

(vi) make recommendations for organic solid waste management through its utilization in vegetable farming based on the findings.                                                                       

1.4:     Study Hypotheses                                                                                                              

Based on the objectives of the study, the following null hypotheses will be tested:

H01: the socio-economic attributes of the farmers have no significant effect on tomatoes output.

HO2: the social-economic attributes of the farmers do not significantly determine ‘willingness to pay’ for organic solid waste in tomatoes farming.


1.5:     Significance of the Study  

Vegetable farming had been an integral source of food and, it has potential for mopping organic solid waste. According to Mbata (2005), organic waste use in urban farming can convert urban waste into resources, put vacant and under-utilized areas into productive use and improve the environment for urban living.                                      This study, which sheds light through empirical analysis into the viability of organic solid waste use in tomatoes farming, will serve to boost its production. Since organic solid waste is relatively cheaper compared to chemical fertilizer, its use will lead to reduction of cost of production. Environmental protection agencies will find in the result of this work an option for recycling of organic solid waste to ensure urban cleanliness. Urban planners will also learn of the necessity of incorporating space for small-scale vegetable farming in city plots. Research students will find in this study reference material for further study on vegetable (tomatoes) farming and organic waste management and reuse.

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