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The research considered the resource use efficiency and profitability of maize production in Kaduna state. Data collection was collected with a well-structured questionnaire administered on 163 maize farmers selected through purposive and random sampling techniques. The methods of analyses used were descriptive statistics, multiple regression model, marginal productivity, resource use efficiency and gross margin analysis. Results showed that majority 63% fall between age group 27-53 years. This indicated that the farmers were physically strong and mentally alert to face challenges which may face them. On the average the farmers have 25years experience in maize farming. The literacy level of the farmers was on the average (7years). 28% of total maize farmers had no formal education while, 42%, 20% and 10% had primary, secondary and tertiary education respectively. Farming was majorly on subsistence level, as the mean farm size was 1.14 hectares. Maize farming was profitable in the study area with gross margin of N121, 784.75. Results showed that farm operation was in stage II of the production function with rate of return to scale estimated as 0.912 and factors of production were efficiently allocated with elasticities that were positive but less than one. All the factors of production are significant and the results further showed that farm size, seed and fertilizer (underutilized) were positively related to output while labour and agrochemicals (overutilized) had negative signs. This study concluded that maize production is a profitable venture in the study area. Higher output can be realized by increasing land, seed and fertilizer and decreasing labour and agrochemicals. Also, increase in the output of maize production could be improved if solutions are found to the identified problems associated with maize production. The study recommends that farmers should increase the use of seed, farm size and fertilizer. Also, government should look into the possibilities of facilitating access to farm lands; review the land use Act Decree and pay attention on land consolidation program in view of the scarcity and fragmentized farm holdings. They could still boost their gross margin by locating better market and/or providing good storage facilities so as to sell in the off season for better profit margin.
1.1 Background of the Study
In Nigeria, like in most developing countries, the agricultural sector is of primary
importance to the economy. At the time of independence in 1960, all the country‟s dreams
hinged solidly on the productivity of agriculture. This is because the sector has some links
with some other sectors of the economy. The agricultural sector used to employ 80 percent
of the total population but this has declined to 65 percent (Alabi and Esobhawan, 2006).
Despite the importance of the oil sector, agriculture still contributes about 41 percent to the
gross domestic product (GDP) and provides about 90 percent of the nation‟s total food
requirements (CBN, 2002).
Maize is the second largest cereal crop grown after rice in Nigeria (Akande, 1994). In
Nigeria, it is the third most important cereal crop after sorghum and millet (Ojo, 2000). It is
a staple food of great socio-economic importance in the Sub-Saharan Africa of which
Nigeria is inclusive with per capital kg/year of 40 (FAOSTAT, 2003). It accounts for about
11.2% of grain produced in Nigeria (Lajide et al., 1998; Emeasor et al., 2002). The total
land area planted to maize in Nigeria is above 2.5 million hectares, with an estimated yield
of about 1.4 metric tonnes per hectare (Agboola and Tijani-Eniola, 1991). In Nigeria, maize
is becoming increasingly important as food crop, feed for animals and for various industrial
uses. Maize remains an important crop because it has several advantages over other cereals
like rice, wheat, millet and sorghum (Yayock et. al., 1988). Maize produces a higher output
per unit of labour input and is easiest to cultivate, harvest, store, transport and process
(Yayock et al., 1988).
The demand for maize in Nigeria has been on the increase due to the increasing growth in
population, income levels, urbanization and associated changes in the family occupational
structure (Akanji, 1995). On the contrary, the rate of supply of maize has lagged behind
that of demand, leaving a wide gap between demand and supply. The reason according to
Roy and Dutt (2000) include agro-ecological, technical and socio-economic constraints.
Omojola et al. (2006) and Oluwatayo et al. (2008) noted that domestic production of food
crop has not been able to meet the domestic demand for food. The reason for this is that
there are some problems at the micro level, one of which is the relationship between inputs
used in production such as seeds, land, labour and capital. The demand for maize as a result
of the various domestic uses shows that a domestic demand of 3.5 million metric tonnes
outstrips supply production of 2.0 million metric tonnes, hence the increase in its price
(Akande, 1994). During the past two decades, the continent has witnessed some relative
success stories for maize as the use of new seed and associated technologies have increased
smallholder maize production in the continent (Abalu, 2001). Although the increasing trend
in total maize production is encouraging, the average yield of 1.2 tonnes/hectare is of great
concern to scientists. Theoretical simulation studies show that, under optimum conditions,
maize grain yield can be up to 20 tonnes/hectare (Lovenstein et al., 1995). In Nigeria, land
area under maize cultivation peaked at 5.4mha in 1994; it has decreased lately to 4.5mha in
2004 Federal Ministry of Agriculture (FMA, 2005). Likely factors responsible for the
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