The Effects of Environmental Constraints on Technical Efficiency of Urban and Rural Pig Farmers in Enugu State, Nigeria




1.1       Background of the Study

The low level of food production in Nigeria has been closely linked with such factors as low soil fertility level, use of unimproved crop varieties, as well as inefficiency in the use of farming resources (Olagoke, 1990;  Ojo, 2003). This also applies to livestock production including piggery. Inefficiency in resource use comes from many sources like low level of education, inexperience, environmental constraints, etc. This affects productivity and waste generation in agriculture. Agricultural production can be increased either through an efficient use of traditional technology and practices, or through the introduction of a package of improved technologies like fertilizers, improved seeds and cultural practices provided that no production gains are possible through better use of the traditional practices (Arega, 2002).

In Nigeria, food production has not increased at the rate that can meet the increasing population. While food production increases at the rate of 2.5%, food demand increases at the rate of more than 3.5% due to high rate of population growth of 2.83% (FOS, 1996). Apart from Nigerian agriculture not meeting up in its food production, its greatest problem is that of inadequate animal protein in the diets of a large proportion of the population (FMAWRRD, 1988). Animal protein is essential in human nutrition because of its biological significance. Pork if produced economically, can be an invaluable source of protein, vitamins, minerals and energy for large segment of the human population especially in developing countries (Pond and Maner, 1974).

In realization of the importance of animal protein, the successive governments in Nigeria have been pursuing programmes at national, state and community levels to boost the mass production of livestock products to ensure the attainment of the FAO recommended 35g per caput of animal protein per day. Some of these programmes include: the Farm Settlement Schemes, Agricultural Development Project (ADPs), Better Life Programme, Micro-credit Scheme for Livestock and lately UNDP is supporting the establishment of Livestock Parent/Foundation stock at community level in Nigeria (Ojo, 2003).

The pig industry can be a very reliable one due to certain attributes of pigs and the Nigeria production systems. Pigs have a high survival rate and also have the ability to utilize a host of agro-industrial bye-products and crop residues with little or no processing and at minimal cost (Ter Meulen and El-Harith, 1985 in Adesehinwa, Makinde & Oladele,  2003). The pig population in Nigeria has shown in recent years a noticeable increase, from nearly 2 million pigs in 1984 to 7 million in 1997. Most of these pigs are owned by smallholders. Pig production contributed highly to food security of the low-income rural and peri-urban population. In fact, pork remains the cheapest source of meat in Nigeria (FAO, 1988 in Ajala, Adesehinwa & Mohammed, 2007). Due to acute shortage of animal protein in the diets of the average Nigerian, there is need to increase the production of domestic animals, which are conventional sources of animal protein (Ajala et al., 2007). Of all the farm animals, pig represents one of the fastest ways of increasing animal protein, since they grow at a faster rate, reaching a slaughter weight of 80 to 90kg in about 7 to 8 months; and very prolific, realizing 20 to 30 piglets from 2 to 2½ litters per year (Adesehinwa et al., 2003).

The importance of pigs in the livestock industry in Nigeria cannot be over-emphasized. Although pigs are few in comparism to other livestock, they display a unique ability to survive and adapt in areas where they are found. Thus, pig is not only a source of protein, it also serves as investment alternative and source of additional income especially among women. (Ajala et al, 2007). Religious consideration may make pig keeping unacceptable in certain places and the possibility of transfer of disease and parasites to the human population may make extensive pig keeping unwise. (Holness, 1991). However, despite the Islamic religious taboos against pigs, some Muslims still engage in pig farming due to their educational status. Thus, the notion that Muslims do not rear pig may no longer be true (Adesehinwa et al, 2003)

Pig production in Enugu State has been one of intensive and semi-intensive systems where pigs are either totally or partially confined. This is due to the destructive nature of pigs when allowed to scavenge in the surroundings (Anthony, 1997). Pig production is just beginning to grow in Enugu State, especially in the rural areas. In the views of Serres (1999), rural pig production is invariably ineffectual because it is not organised and does not have the means to organise itself. It is therefore the State that must influence the development of pig production; the intervention being both economic and technological.

Despite these good news on pig production in Nigeria, the enterprise is faced with resource use problems. Resource or allocation efficiency in developing countries such as Nigeria maybe said to be faced with the problem of under-utilization of capacity, which leads to low returns (Okorji and Awoke, 2004). Also according to Ogunfowara and Olayide (1981), resources are not efficiently utilized or allocated under the smallholder farming which is mainly traditional in style. An important factor in pig production is efficiency, as effective competition for consumers’ food budget requires the industry to operate efficiently. As pig industry consolidates productive efficiency becomes a vital issue in the race to establish a competitive position in both domestic and international markets. Technical efficiency is a principal element in economic profitability as it measures the ability of the firm to produce maximum output from a given set of inputs ( Boubaker and Womack, 2000). In the view of Pieter (1999), the production efficiency of pig enterprise is an important issue that has to be maximized at all times as the sector, all over the world, is developing into a technology driven business that has to deal with structurally narrow financial margins. Improvement in the efficiency of pig production would follow from increasing the rate of growth, decreasing the amount of fat and increasing the number of piglets reared per female (Adebambo, 2002). He further said that efficiency of feed utilization (in piggery) might be a single must important trait to consider in Nigeria; because pigs that are able to utilize low quality rations effectively for higher growth and greater reproductive efficiency, have better chance of survival, when competition between man and pigs for limited food resources poses a problem.

Technical efficiency is the ability to produce maximum level of output from a given level of inputs (Farell cited in Olayide and Heady, 1982). That is, given a set of inputs, the farmers being able to realize maximum pig output. This will enhance profitability and also free resources for other enterprises in Enugu State and Nigeria as a whole. In the views of Ojo (2003), the food production problem in Nigeria has been heightened by the relatively low level of productivity of resources used by farmers in the country. It therefore becomes necessary that pig farmers in Enugu State are technically efficient so as to help alleviate the problem of low productivity associated with Nigeria agriculture.

Technical efficiency also implies avoidance of waste or waste reduction by producing as much output as input usage allows or by using as little input as output production allows (Lovell et al, 1990). Given the fact that pig enterprise is known to produce a lot of wastes (emissions, sludge etc.), this will mean reduced wastes production and environmental pollution. Finally, for pig farmers to remain in business, there is need for increased technical efficiency due to competition from other enterprises for consumers’ food budget.

Technical efficiency is likely to differ among rural and urban pig farmers due to differences in both socio-economic characteristics and environmental constraints. These environmental constraints include water accessibility (distance and other difficulties), disease endemicity proxied by the number of pigs killed by environmental diseases and other environmental factors etc. Generally, the environment affects production by being source of raw materials, acting as waste sink and providing aesthetic value that enhance production (Ahmed, 2000; Adegeye and Ditto, 1982). If the capacity of the environment to support production is reduced in the presence of constraints, the productive capacity of an enterprise (like pig) is consequently reduced. In the words of Chinaka, Enyinwa and Njoku (1995) in the Southeastern part of Nigeria, when the environment and management factors are perfect, an animal can attain its bred-in potentials in egg and meat production, but unfortunately, the environment is never okay and this affects the ability of an animal to produce. Finally, pigs produce a lot of wastes which if not properly handled can pose environmental pollution problem and may also reduce efficiency of farm operations.

  • Problem Statement

Nigeria like many other developing countries is facing the problem of shortage of dietary protein. The gravity of this problem is increasing with growing population and urbanization. Pork represents one of the fastest ways of increasing animal protein since pigs grow at a faster rate than cattle, sheep and goats (Ajala et al., 2007). But the production of pork to satisfy the protein needs of Nigerians is far from being achieved. This is attributed to increasing cost of production resources: Land, labour, capital, and management, since these resources are also demanded by other sectors of the economy (Ogbuanya, et al 1995). This introduces resource use problem. Ogunfowara and Olayide (1981) pointed out that resources are not efficiently utilized and allocated under smallholder farming which is traditional in nature. Ojo (2003) also said that the food production problem in Nigeria has been heightened by the low level of productivity of resources used by farmers.

As pig production moves from extensive to semi-intensive and intensive systems, the issue of having enough labour to look after the animals becomes a problem. There is also the problem of developing appropriate feeding technologies in these intensive systems of piggery (Ajala et al., 2007). Given these resource problems and the fact that feed cost represents more than 75 percent of the total cost of pig production, commercial pig husbandry is costly, involving the necessity to buy feed from the market and to pay workers salaries (Adebambo, 2002). Pig farmers also buy water and drugs to rear pigs in Enugu State. There is therefore the need for enhancement of the technical efficiency in the use of resources employed in pig production. Inefficiency in the use of these resources can lead to low productivity, low profitability and possibly waste. Inefficiency can be caused by environmental constraints. These environmental constraints include water accessibility (distance and other problems), frequency of farm cleaning (waste removal), killing of pigs by environmental factors/diseases and reduction in productive ability of pigs due to heat stress. This is because of the link between productivity and the environment (Chimaka et al., 1995). There is therefore, the problem of reduced technical efficiency due to environmental constraints, in pig enterprise, just like in similar enterprises.

Given all these, to ensure that pig farmers in Enugu State remain in business, it is necessary to study and ascertain the influence to environmental constraints on technical efficiency among rural and urban pig farmers.

Several authors have worked on piggery and resource use efficiency, but not in Enugu State and not in relation to the environmental constraints. Ogbuanya et al. (1995) studied profitability of piggery, describing pig production systems and management practices in Enugu State. Anthony (1997) also studied similar aspects of piggery, looking at level of pig production, marketing and consumption of pork in Enugu State. They all found the enterprise profitable but did not measure technical efficiency differences based on environmental constraints. Ojo (2003) studied productivity and technical efficiency of poultry egg production in Osun State.  He found the mean technical efficiency of 0.763 and that only location (nearness to urban centre) positively affected technical efficiency, while increase in age, experience and education decreased it.

Khem, Leung and Zaleski (1997) conducted economic analysis of size and feed type of swine production in Hawaii. They found that small and medium pig farms can increase profitability by using labour more efficiently and that efficient use of feed and labour inputs is more important to profitability than maximizing pigs weaned per sow per year. Coelli, Ludwig and Guido (2005) studied technical, economic and environmental efficiencies of pig production in Belgium with respect to phosphorus nutrient pollution using data envelopment analysis. They found from their studies that the average pig farm could produce their current output with an input bundle containing 15.7 percent less phosphorus and thus causing less environmental pollution. All these works did not touch on technical efficiency of pig farmers in Enugu State and how environmental constraints could affect it.

  • Objectives of the Study

The broad objective of this research is to examine and analyze the effects of environmental constraints on technical efficiency of urban and rural pig farmers in Enugu State.

The specific objectives are to:

  • describe the socio-economic characteristics of the two groups of pig farmers and how they affect pig production
  • measure the technical efficiency of urban and rural pig farmers and examine the effects of the environmental constraints on them.
  • identify and describe the types and levels of environmental constraints faced by the pig farme
  • identify the methods and frequency of waste disposal by the pig farmers and how they affect efficiency.
  • make recommendations based on findings that could be useful in formulating better strategies of pig production in Enugu State.
    • Hypotheses of the Study

The following null hypotheses will be tested in this work.

Ho1:     There is no significant difference in technical efficiency of urban and rural pig farmers

Ho2:     Environmental constraints do not influence technical efficiency of pig farmers.

  • Significance of the Study

There is the need to increase the production of domestic animals which are conventional sources of animal protein given the fact that there is acute shortage of animal protein in the diets of the average Nigerian (Ajala et al.,  2007). Among all farm animals, pig represents one of the fastest ways of increasing animal protein since they convert food better and are more prolific than cattle, sheep and goats (Osaro, 1993 in Adesehinwa et al., 2003). It therefore becomes pertinent that the level of technical efficiency in resources used in pig enterprise be known. This will help throw light on how to minimize inefficiency in pig production and thus increase the amount of dietary protein and the health of the masses.

Policy makers and would-be investors need information on the level of technical efficiency especially now that pig farming is growing in Enugu State and Nigeria as a whole. The level of technical efficiency indicates the level of expertise and productivity of resources, and thus the level of output a firm is producing. It also shows sources of inefficiency and their effects on output. This information will help policy makers to know the situation/problems existing in a particular firm/industry (pig in this regard) and the assistance needed to remedy such situation/problems. Absence of this information can undermine efforts aimed at improving livestock production with respect to piggery in Enugu State and Nigeria as a whole. This will also enable intending pig farmers to know the current profit levels and thus decide how to channel and run their investment into pig farming.

There is also the need to understand the interaction of the environment and pig production and the effects of the inefficiency associated with the environment; so that given a level of inputs and technology, reducing this inefficiency can increase productivity. This will also enlighten pig farmers on better ways of relating with the environment, so that environmental resources needed to increase pork output are not jeopardised.

The state of the rural areas definitely imparts on agricultural production. This study will try to reveal how this affects technical efficiency and the needed policy response. That is, the different environmental constraints faced by rural farmers and urban farmers and how this leads to different technical efficiencies and outputs between the two groups of farmers. This will help focus rural development efforts in the right direction so that the actual factors or more serious issues of rural development impinging on agricultural productivity are dealt with.

The information generated from this study will be of immense help to different categories of individuals: students, researchers, developers, farmers, environmentalists, government and everybody interested in increasing agricultural output in Nigeria. It will also add to the growing literature on pig farming, resource use, technical efficiency, rural development and the environment.

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