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This research work was carried out to assess the effects of the Benue ADP’s cassava production technologies on the production and incomes of women farmers in Benue State, Nigeria. The specific objectives were to identify and describe the cassava production technologies available in the study area; to describe the socio-economic characteristics o f cassava women farmers in the study area and determine their effect correspondents productivity and incomes; to determine and compare the productivities and incomes of ADP and non-ADP cassava women farmers in Benue State; Nigeria, and to identify the constraints (and prospects) that affect the productivity and income from cassava production among women farmers in the study area. Three hypotheses guided the study namely (i) Socio-economic characteristics of ADP and non-ADP cassava women farmers in the study area have no significant effect on their output; (ii) there is no significant difference between the productivity of ADP and non-ADP women farmers in the study area, and (iii) gross margin from cassava enterprises among ADP and non-ADP women farmers in the study area does not differ significantly. A multi stage sampling technique was used to randomly select a total of 120 ADP and 120 non-ADP respondents from six Local Government Areas of Benue State namely Vandeikya and Ushongo in zone A, Gboko and Buruku in zone B, Okpoku and Ohimini in zone C. Data was collected through well structured pretested questionnaires in addition to focus group discussions and personal observations. Secondary data sources relevant to the study were also used. Information on respondents’ socioeconomic characteristics such as age, level of education, marital status, household size, costs and returns in cassava production and marketing among others were collected. The data was analyzed using descriptive statistics as well as chi-square, multiple regression, total factor productivity and gross margin analyses. Chi-square results showed that except for age and membership of


farmers associations, socio-economic characteristics of study farmers such as level of education, marital status, farming experience, family size (household size) had no significant effect on their output. There was a significant difference between the output of ADP and non-ADP respondents. Data analysis showed that 90.8% of the ADP and 70.1% of the non-ADP respondents were below 50 years of age. Thus about 70-90% of all women farmers studied were below the age of

50.     Among the ADP group, 78.2% of the respondents were married while 70.1 of the non-ADP group respondents were married. Overall, 96.4% of all the respondents were married; divorced or widowed. Among the ADP respondents, 81.6% had some form of education while less than 20% (or 18.49%) did not have any formal education. In the non –ADP group 63.2% had some form of education while less than 40% (or 36.8%) did not have any formal education. Thus, 60-80% of all cassava women farmers sampled were educated to a level while 20-40% did not have formal education. Cassava women farmers in the study area had moderate family sizes. Seventy-seven percent (77%) of the ADP and about 75% of the non-ADP had family sizes below 10 while about20% of ADP and 23% of non-ADP respondents had family sizes between 10-20 persons. Among the ADP farmers 37.9% have never belonged to any farmers’ association, 17.2% were once members while 44.4% were still members of farmers associations. About 82.8% of the non-ADP respondents have never belonged to any farmers association, 5.7% were once members, and 11.5% were currently members. Results of data analysis also showed that 71.3% and 58.6% of the ADP and non-ADP cassava women farmers respectively had been farming for close to 10 years and must have acquired the necessary experience successful cassava production. Chow’s F-test showed that there was a significant difference between the productivity of ADP (2.96) and non-ADP women farmers (1.68). This was attributed to the effect of improved cassava production technologies and extension contact. The major variables that explained variations in ADP cassava women farmers’ productivity were use of improved cassava stem cuttings, farm


size and access to credit which together explained 40.2% of variation in ADP productivity. The major factors that explained variation in non-ADP cassava women farmers’ productivity were years of education, family size and access to credit, which explained 93.0% of variation in non-ADP productivity. Comparison of the mean gross margins of ADP (₦16,523.87) and non-ADP respondents (₦3,777.56) using t-test showed that there was a significant difference between ADP and non-ADP gross margins. This significant difference was attributed to the use of improved cassava production technologies and extension contact (provided by the Benue ADP) by the ADP cassava women farmers. Provision of credit, production resources such as fertilizers, improved ‘seeds’, tractor services, rural infrastructure and others were recommended for increased cassava productivity in the study area.



1.1 Background Information

Nigeria is a country with great natural and human resource endowments. According to Ayoola (2009), Nigeria is a country that covers 98.3 million hectares with a largely rural population of about 150million comprising 350 ethnic nationalities. The country measures 1200 kilometres (km) from East to West, and about 1500km from North to South. Nigeria is blessed with other natural resources such as petroleum and solid mineral deposits. The water resources consist of large water bodies of surface water (268 billion cubic metres), underground water (58 billion cubic metres) and an extensive coastline coupled with an annual rainfall in the range of 300- 4000milimetres per annum. These features imply that the country is endowed with vast physical and human resources required for accelerated development of its agricultural economy.

However, despite Nigeria’s great resource endowments, Nigerians are among the poorest people in the world (UNDP, 2005; Nsikakabasi and Ukoha, 2010). In spite of oil wealth and revenues amounting to over 300 billion US Dollars since 1970s, Nigeria is still a poor country where per capita income averaged only $1075 in 2009 (Central Bank of Nigeria, 2009). Since non-oil export receipts are small, export revenues are greatly influenced by oil and gas prices. Government’s fiscal policy that depends on oil and gas prices fluctuates in line with these prices. The major challenges facing the country are stabilizing expenditures and ensuring the government’s ability to meet social and human development goals (UNDP,2008). The human development report by the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP (2005) revealed that Nigeria is one of the poorest among poor nations of the world. With a human poverty index HPI-


1 value of 38.8%, Nigeria is ranked 75th among 103 developing countries. According to the National Bureau of Statistics (2005), about 52% of Nigerians are living in poverty and about 70million people live on less than 1US dollar a day.

Dauda (2002) reported that poverty in Nigeria, like in other developing countries has a predominantly female face and that women in the rural areas of the country suffer the harshest deprivation and are extremely vulnerable to poverty. According to the author, of the one million adults who have no access to basic education, 60% are women. Furthermore, women are particularly disadvantaged since over 68% of female headed households are living in poverty. The International Monetary Fund (2004) observed that Nigeria has significant gender inequalities in women’s labour market participation, remuneration, health and human capital, with indicators for women being recorded as substantially lower than those for men are. Women in Nigeria are likely to be poorer than men and have fewer options for escaping poverty. Widows are more vulnerable to poverty than widowers as a result of patriarchal property rights and inheritance practices. Furthermore, since women have less formal education than men, they tend to be disproportionately confined to lower return, low productivity, and employment in the informal economy with limited ability to escape poverty through employment. According to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (2001), more than 50% of the population is affected by HIV/AIDS, and 50million Nigerians majority of them women and children suffer from a combination of protein energy malnutrition, vitamin A deficiency, iron deficiency anaemia, and iodine deficiency diseases. The apparent improvement in growth indices since 2004 is yet to be translated into welfare improvement for Nigerians, a situation that Eboh (2011) termed ‘jobless growth’.


One of the major causes of poverty in Nigeria is the decline in agricultural productivity consequent to over dependence on oil. Prior to the discovery of oil in the 1970s, agriculture was the mainstay of the Nigerian economy, accounting for about two-thirds of the gross domestic product (GDP) and 75% of export earnings (Ayoola, 2009). From the standpoint of occupational distribution and contribution to GDP, agriculture was the leading sector. During this time, Nigeria was the world’s second largest producer of cocoa, largest exporter of palm kernel and palm oil, Nigeria was also a leading exporter of other commodities such as cotton, groundnut, rubber, and hides and skin (Ogen, 2007). With the oil boom, agriculture’s contribution to GDP declined to about 25% by 1980, later moved up to 41% by 2001-2004. Consequently, Nigeria moved from being a large exporter to a major importer of agricultural products (CBN, 2005; Yusuf and Adenegan, 2008). The low agricultural output has led to the poor performance of the food subsector as food demand became higher than food supply. This has induced high increases in the country’s food imports from about N8billion in 1996 to over N183billion in 2005, and increased the prices of major staple crops in the country (CBN, 2005). Other causes of poverty include the insufficient and poorly distributed GDP growth in combination with high population growth and inadequate job creation to absorb the growing labour force, volatile oil revenues, weak governance and corruption which have continually hindered public sector initiatives to reduce poverty(IMF, 2004; United States Agency for International Development, 2007).

In recognition of the critical role of agriculture to the country’s economic development, many Nigerian governments introduced various measures to boost agricultural production and alleviate poverty in the country including the Agricultural Development Projects (ADPs). Most of these programmes have failed to produce the desired results ( Idachaba, 1991; Nnadozie and Nwanu, 2002, Ogwumike, 2009). According to Eboh (2011), in spite of successive


progammes, the economy remains undiversified and highly skewed, as crude oil still accounts for more than 95% of total export revenues and up to 80-85% of government revenues, but contributes less than 4% of total employment. Agriculture’s contribution to GDP is presently about 41%. Ogwumike (2009) explained that the major reasons for failure of poverty alleviation efforts in Nigeria include programme inconsistency, poor implementation, corruption of government officials and public servants, poor targeting mechanisms, and the inability to focus directly on the poor ( in terms of identifying the poor and the nature of their poverty). He further explained that sustainable poverty reduction in Nigeria would require the proper identification of the poor (their characteristics and survival strategies) as well as a multi pronged approach in tackling the poverty problem given its multidimensional nature.

Presently, agricultural development forms an important component of Nigeria’s overall national prosperity ambition to become one of the top 20 economies in the world by the year 2020 (vision 20-20-20). To achieve this, the Human Development Report of the UNDP (2008) estimated that Nigeria would require overall growth of above 10% on a consistent basis to attain this vision. As a result, Nigeria has set targets for year 2020 namely a GDP of US$900 billion, out of which 15% (or US$135billion) is to come from agriculture, and a per capita income of US$4000. These impressive targets are set based on the expectation to make optimal use of non-oil sources of economic growth such as agriculture and others. Nigeria wants to achieve in the medium term an average annual GDP growth rate of 11% from the 7% growth during 2004-2009. It is expected that the country’s GDP would increase from US$212billion in 2008 to US$333 billion in 2013 while annual per capita GDP is expected to increase from US$1075 in 2009 to US$2008 in 2013. Similarly, non-oil exports (mainly from agriculture) are targeted to

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