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This study examined the economic analysis of watermelon production in Sabon- Gari
and Kudan Local Government Areas of Kaduna State. The data were collected through the administration of structured questionnaire to 162 randomly selected watermelon farmers. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, net farm income and stochastic frontier production function. The result of analysis showed that mean age of the farmers was 34 years. 46% of the farmers had adult education. The farmers cropped an average of 0.1 hectare and 52% of the farmers had between 1-5 years of farming experience in watermelon production. The result further revealed that labour accounted for about 62% of the total variable cost of production. The total variable cost amounted to N26, 126.78, while the total fixed cost amounted to N27, 095.28. The average gross income per hectare was N169, 769.46, while the net farm income was N93, 574.42 per hectare. The results revealed a mean technical efficiencies level of 86%. Implying that there was scope for increasing efficiencies by 14%.The factor that significantly influenced watermelon production in the study areas were farm size and fertilizer. Age, household size, education, experience, cooperative, credit and extension were inefficiently utilized and statistically significant at 1% with experience at 10%. The constraints associated with watermelon production were inadequate storage facilities, pest and diseases, high cost of labour, inadequate credit, inadequate extension services, lack of improved seeds, poor market price and flooding. It was recommended that farmers should be assisted to obtain credit facilities by reducing the bottlenecks associated with bank loans, farmers should form themselves into commodity associations so as to benefit from improved packages being offered by the government under the presidential initiative.
1.1 Background to the study
At independence in 1960, agriculture stood out as the most important sector of Nigeria‟s
economy in several aspects. It employed over eighty (80%) of the nation‟s work force,
served as the most important foreign exchange earner and constituted a major source of
government revenue (CBN, 2000). The role of agriculture remains significant in the
Nigerian economy despite the strategic importance of the oil sector. It accounts for
more than one- third of the total domestic product (GDP) and labour force (FAO, 2003;
World Bank, 2003). In an annual report, (CBN, 2004) reported that the real sector of the
economy recorded a relatively impressive performance in year 2004 as the Gross
Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 6.1 percent compared with 5.2 percent in the year
2003 and that agriculture is one of the major sources of the growth. Agriculture
witnessed an increase of 6.2 percent growth in year 2004 compared to the 5.6 percent
recorded in the year 2003 and the average of 4.6 percent for the period of 2001 to 2004
as the output of staples increased from 99,902 metric tonnes in year 2001 to 121,936.2
metric tonnes in year 2004. Although (Eme, 2004) described Nigeria as a food insecure
country, the food problem which started in the mid-1960 has continued to deepen
several decades after independence (Ime, 2002).
The nation‟s agricultural production is still largely in the hands of the small-scale
farmers with small holdings ranging from 0.05 to 3.0 hectares of land area, low
capitalization and low yield per hectare (Ogundari and Ojo, 2007).
Food growth rate has been put at 2.65 percent and population growth rate at 3.2 percent,
leaving a food deficit of 0.55 percent (CBN, 2007). The apparent disparity between the
rate of food production and demand for food in Nigeria has led to:
i. A food demand and supply gap
ii. An increasing resort to food importation
iii. High rate of increases in food prices
As a result of these, widespread hunger and malnutrition are evident in the country
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